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Home Travel in Fujian Tianhou Palace
Tianhou Palace

Tianhou Palace View

The Tianhou Palace (Tiānhòugōng 天后宫) is located in beautiful Quanzhou City in Fujian Province. It is the earliest Mazu (Māzǔ 妈祖) Temple. The temple complex covers a large area and is of the highest architectural standard. It is the first Mazu Temple to be listed as one of China's National Key Cultural Relics Protection Sites.

Today, the wooden construction of the main hall has been well preserved. There are fine carvings on the doors and windows. The carvings and decorations symbolize the essence of Taoism. The decoration of the hall is finest and well-designed. The decoration elements include Dragons Pearl  (Lóngzhū 龙珠) and Phoenix (Fènghuáng 凤凰) design. The elements of the phoenix and the dragon have an auspicious meaning. This kind of design reached a high point in the architectural art of Fujian Province.

Mazu Saves RelativesPrayers Activities Of Palace
In either the trance or the dream, her father and brothers were drowning, and she reached out to them, holding her brothers up with her hands and her father up with her mouth. However, her mother now discovered her and tried to wake her, but she was in such a deep trance or dream that it seemed like she was dead. Her mother, already believing the rest of their family dead, now broke down, crying, believing that Lin Moniang had also just died. Hearing her mother’s cries, in pity, she gave a small cry to let her mother know she was alive, but in opening her mouth, she was forced to drop her father. Consequently, Lin Moniang’s brothers returned alive sadly without their father and told the other villagers that a miracle had happened and that they had somehow been held up in the water as a typhoon raged.

A Corner Of Mazu PalaceThe legend also has it that Mazu was the daughter of a kind and helpful local villager living in Putian (Pútián 莆田) County of Quanzhou. Her mother had wanted to have another son to continue the family line. However, the baby was a girl, who when she became an adult was determined to remain single and to help other people throughout her life. She concentrated on studying medicine to prevent illness, cure the sick and save lives. So the villagers built this Temple in her memory and a place where a celebration in her honor could be held each year. The emperors in past dynasties worshiped her as Goddess of the Sea or Tianhou in Chinese.

Mazu StatueLegends About Mazu
Mazu the goddess was originally a woman named Lin Moniang (Línmòniáng 林默娘) who lived in Fujian, China during the early Song Dynasty (Sòngdài 宋代). One day, a terrible typhoon arose while they were out at sea, and the rest of her family feared that those at sea had perished. In the midst of this storm, depending on the version of the legend, she either fell into a trance while praying for the lives of her father and brothers or dreamed of her father and brothers while she was sleeping. 

Main Attractions Of Tianhou Palace
The Tianhou Palace covers an area of nearly 9,000 square meters. It was constructed in 1196 during Song Dynasty (Sòngdài 宋代). As the years passed, many of the buildings in the palace complex such as Mountain Gate (Shānmén 山门), Bell and Drum Towers (Zhōnggǔlóu 钟鼓楼), Western and Eastern Gallery (Dōngxījué 东西厥) fell into disrepair. However, they have been restored in recent years.

Mountain GateMountain Gate
The Mountain Gate features an ornamental archway and the pillars of the gate are decorated with stone dragons. The whole structure is magnificent and spectacular. The Opera Stage has a coping which is made of wood and the engraved ridge of the coping is small and exquisite. It has been called the unique artistic style of Quanzhou. Quanzhou was one of the biggest ports handling foreign trade during Song and Yuan Dynasty. Since Putian, the hometown of Mazu, is administered from Quanzhou, the Mazu culture has spread overseas to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao with the development of foreign transactions and very considerable immigration.

Main Functions Of Tianhou Palace
The main function of the Tianhou Palace is to pray for navigation safety. The palace was a center of marine sacrifice in the past dynasties, and also a venue for sailors to have happy get-togethers. Besides ceremonial rituals held to worship the Goddess of the Sea, various performances with Chinese characteristics are often held here to thank the goddess. It is said that the lunar March 23 is the birthday of Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, and folk flower fair is held here annually to memorize her on the day.

Travel Tips
Admission Fee: CNY5.
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:30.
Best Time to Visit: April to November.
Bus Route: 5,13,101.
Address: Tianhou Road 1 ,Fengze District of Quanzhou City,Fujian Province.

Nearby Spots Recommend
Kaiyuan Temple
Kaiyuan Temple (Kāiyuánsì 开元寺), situated in West Street of Quanzhou (Quánzhōu 泉州), Fujian Province, is the largest temple in Fujian Province. It was equally as famous as Baima Temple in Luoyang City, Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou City, and has strong influence upon Taiwan and overseas Buddhists. In 1983, it was designated as one of national key temples in the areas of the Han nationality.