Author: Brandie

Macau’s most beautiful temples

Cathedrals, churches, temples, and many other buildings have always been an important part of any country in the world. China has many cultural treasures, but not all of them survived China’s Cultural Revolution. Even though it was affected by China’s Cultural Revolution, Macau didn’t suffer a lot of damage to its temples and local spiritual marks.

A-Ma Temple

The A-Ma Temple is the most famous and one of the oldest temples in Macau. It’s located in the southern part of Macau and it is a place everyone should visit. It’s so old that its Hall of Benevolence dates back to 1488. It’s a magnificent example of how motives from many religions can be part of the same building and express the same religious message of peace and love. If you are interested in visiting this temple, you should go there earlier in the morning to avoid big crowds of tourists.

Pao Kong, Temple of Divinity of Medicine, and Nanshan Temple

This sounds like a gigantic complex consisting of many temples, but, actually, it is smaller than the A-Ma Temple. This complex includes 3 temples and the best-known of them is Pao Kong, which was constructed in 1889 during the Guangxu reign. The temple was built during the time of the plague in Macau because it was suggested that the legendary figure called Lord Pao would make the plague disappear. The plague did stop and the people thought this happened thanks to Lord Pao so they built the temple in honor of him.

Lin Fung Temple 

Lin Fung Temple, or the Temple of the Lotus, is close to the border of Zhuhai and it is a massive building complex.

It is believed that it was built in 1592 and that it was firstly named after the Taoist Goddess of the Sea Tian Fei Miao, which makes it one of the oldest temples in Macau. In the 18th century, the Goddess of Mercy aka Guanyin was added to the complex and shortly after that the temple got renamed to Ci Hu Gong. In this complex, the best place to visit is the memorial hall on the right of the temple which features a big sculpture of the hero called Lin Ze Xu, who was appointed to stop Mandarins from visiting Macau and succeeded in his mission.

Tou Tei Temple 

Tou Tei Temple is dedicated to Tou Tei, the God of Earth. It was built between the years of 1736 and 1795 and its unique features are its moon-shaped doors and the stone arch. What makes this temple extraordinary is also the fact that its shrines are put on different levels of the temple and their colorful rooftops are different in design compared to the other temples of the same style. Even though this is one of the oldest temples, there are hardly any visitors so it is a perfect place if you want to relax far away from tourists.

These 4 temples are probably the most beautiful temples and the most exciting ones to visit in Macau. The last one is probably the best one if you like to explore places in peace and quiet. The best time to visit these temples is early in the morning as that is when you can feel the true atmosphere of these places.

A church upon a hill – Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Iceland. This church in Reykjavik is located on top of Skólavörðuholtið hill, which makes it easily noticeable on Reykjavik’s skyline.

Astonishing height of Hallgrímskirkja 

The most conspicuous feature of this church is its height of 74.5 meters. This makes it the tallest building in Reykjavik and the second tallest building in the country. Iceland’s tallest building is an office tower in Kópavogur, south of Reykjavík, called the Smáratorg tower, which is only 3.1 meters taller than Hallgrímskirkja.  

 Hallgrímskirkja is also very close in height to the fourth tallest structure in Iceland, which is a 78-meter tall smokestack on a smelter in Reyðarfjörður in East Iceland. The only other structures that are taller than Hallgrímskirkja are radio antennas, so the difference in height is more significant. These are the 220-meter tall radio antenna at Eiðar, East Iceland, 244-meter tall Naval Radio Transmitter facility in Grindavík, and 412-meter tall Longwave radio mast at Gufuskálar. 

The construction of Hallgrímskirkja

The church was named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, who was one of the better-known Iceland’s poets from the 17th century. 

Hallgrímskirkja was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson and it took around 41 years to be built. First, its construction was delayed for a few years due to a lot of discussions about where it should be built, and then, the construction was postponed because of the war, so it finally began in 1945. The construction work was slow since a church on top of a hill was not among the country’s priorities. 

The first part finished was the crypt beneath the church’s choir, around 1948. Hallgrímskirkja’s wings and steeple were declared sacred in 1974, and the building of the nave was completed in 1986. Unfortunately, Samúelsson, the architect of Hallgrímskirkja, did not live to see his best work completed because he died in 1950.

Negative reactions of the construction of Hallgrímskirkja

The building of Hallgrímskirkja stirred up a lot of controversy. Icelanders did not appreciate the fact that another building was being constructed. In fact, Icelanders tended to turn any big construction project into a problem to be talked about at that time. What’s more, the construction was quite expensive and there were a lot of major repairs requiring additional funds. Not only were its critics concerned with the cost, but also complained that the church was too big and not pleasing to the eye.   

Visiting Hallgrímskirkja

Although Hallgrímskirkja is often thought to be Reykjavík’s cathedral due to its size and large numbers of foreign visitors coming every year, the actual cathedral of Reykjavik is Domkirkja cathedral church (Dómkirkjan í Reykjavík in Icelandic). This fact certainly doesn’t make it any less worth visiting. In fact, this church is also used as an observation tower, so if you go to the deck, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the whole city. The visiting hours differ in summer and winter, so keep this in mind when planning your visit to this breathtaking church.