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Nanfangao is a beautiful natural fishing port on the east coast of Taiwan that lies adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. As a result of living by the sea, many of the local villagers make their living from the sea, often working for the fishing industry. Unfortunately, the sea is not often an accommodating environment and it can sometimes be both harsh and difficult to those that work on or near it. The weather can be temperamental and as a result of this, the lives of fishermen can sometimes be put in peril, possibly resulting in injury or even death. In order to ensure safe conditions and the possibility of a full harvest, the villagers of Nanfangao worship Matsu day and night, and pray for her blessings.

On March, 23rd, 1946, the fisherman and villagers of Nanfangao encountered a terrible storm with extremely strong winds and rough waves. Many were terrified and prayed for Matsu’s help. All of a sudden, an auspicious light had appeared and filled the sky, followed by a soothing of the mighty waves. The miraculous phenomenon surprised the villagers and they were grateful for what had happened, and acknowledged that Matsu must have heard their prayers. After the fishermen had returned to port, the news of the miracle spread throughout the village and as a result, it has been talked about ever since.

Because of what had happened, many villagers believed that Matsu was larger than an ordinary spirit. Therefore it was decided that in homage to Matsu, a temple would be built, giving local residents a place to build on their spiritual awareness, help with community and human relationships, and to cultivate the need for a integral place of worship. Such needs mean a great deal in the lives of the residents of Nanfangao.

In December of 1950, Jian Ah-Xiang began preparing for the building of the Nan Tian Gong Matsu Temple. He worked to set up a foundation committee, and an auspicious day was selected to begin its construction. The original intention was to go to the Bei Gang Zhao Tian Gong Matsu Temple and ask for a Matsu idol to be placed in the new temple. Miraculously, Matsu indicated to her believers that the temple that was to be built should have its own idol, and that a large camphor tree behind the site of the new temple would be ideal in which to have it carved from. From that point on the temple came into existence. Two years later in 1952, the main hall was constructed, and after another four more years, on November 18th, 1956 the entire temple was finally complete. The main building adopted a Southern modeling style that likened it to a palace; full of magnificence, dazzling to the eye, lots of exquisite detail, and ultimately breath taking. This has led it to become an important faith centre in the lives of the villagers of Nanfangao.

  • Planning for the Nan Tian Gong Matsu Temple begins in 1950.
  • The Main Hall is completed in 1952.
  • The entire temple is completed on November 18th, 1956.
  • The Bai Ting Pavilion and the Ancient Gatehouse is added to the temple in 1971.
  • Five Mei Zhou Mastu idols settle in the Nan Tian Gong Matsu Temple in 1987.
  • The Golden Matsu idol is settled in the Nan Tian Gong Matsu Temple in 1995.
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