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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Guardian of the Seafarers

The Tian Hou Gong (天后宮) in Qi Jin (旗津) is one of the oldest temples in Kaohsiung. The original name is Qi Hou Tian Hou Gong (旗後天后宮) but it is now mostly referred to as Qi Jin Tian Hou Gong (旗津天后宮) or Qi Jin Ma Zu Miao (旗津媽祖廟). The Heavenly Goddess Ma Zu (媽祖) is the guardian of the seafarers. Therefore, most temples near the sea are dedicated to her, and this temple was the first in Taiwan dedicated to Ma Zu.




More than three hundred years ago, a fisherman from Fujian Province of China was drifted to Qi Hou (now Qi Jin) due to typhoon. He discovered that the sea here was full of sea produce and went back to Fujian Province to bring his family here. He brought along another six families with him. They started the temple with just a thatched-roof hut worshipping Ma Zu. The first wood-carved statue of Ma Zu was brought along with the seven families which migrated to Qi Hou from Fujian Province of China, and that was in 1673.




The current temple was rebuilt in 1926 and it has gone through a series of repair and rehabilitation since then. The temple contains many beautiful wall carvings and murals. It is just a stone-throw away from the street lined with seafood restaurants, so that makes a valid reason not to miss it for you to get rid of some of the cholesterol boosted after the meal.







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