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Lunar Year 2024: Temples of Taipei

Happy New Lunar Year of Dragon!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

Happy New Lunar Year, which falls on 10 February 2024 and starts under the sign of Dragon! To celebrate that, I would like to share some of the most beautiful temples of Taipei, Taiwan, which I visited a few years ago – and guess what? There are lots of dragons there!

The main city of Taiwan has many colourful, vivid shrines dedicated to folk deities as well as Buddhist Taoist temples. You can discover ones simply when walking a busy street – a colourful tiny shrine will be standing between the houses. So keep your eyes open! 

Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple (艋舺龍山寺) is probably the temple number one you should include in your itinerary. It was founded by settlers from Fujian in 1738 as not only a place of worship but also a multifunctional venue.

It is dedicated to Guanyin, the Buddhist deity of mercy, with dozens of other deities worshipped here as well. The temple was badly damaged by earthquakes and during WWII, so the final look you see today is a bit of a modern take on the ancient architecture.

However, you’ll be impressed by bright colours, intricate roof figurines, stunning wood carvings and paintings and vibrant ornaments; nevertheless – come into the courtyard to observe them all! Also, be prepared for the crowds, as the temple is popular with worshippers and tourists alike. 

Qingshui Temple 

The Qingshui Temple (艋舺清水巖), or the temple of Divine Progenitors, who, per legends, are famous for their numerous miracles. It was first constructed in 1787 and renovated since then. Have a closer look at all the astonishing details and ornaments, and you’ll see why this landmark is considered one of the most characteristic examples of mid-Qing temple buildings.

One of the progenitors worshipped there is nicknamed the ‘Nose Dropping Divine Progenitor’ because his nose is believed to drop if a disaster is about to happen. 

Qingshan Temple 

Head to Guiyang Street to admire the Taoist Qingshan Temple (艋舺青山宮), built in 1854 and hiding between two building blocks. It’s dedicated to the King of the Green Mountain, whose image has been brought here from mainland China by a fisherman.

Once a military general who lived in China during the period of the Three Kingdoms, now he is worshipped as a deity who can spell off illnesses and even help during epidemics. Again, incredible designs, pillars, and details are here for you – and give the roof a special attention: there are three men who embody Prosperity, Status and Longevity! 

Tianhou Temple

The last temple on my list is Tianhou Temple (台北天后宮) in Ximending, another hidden gem of Taipei which is al most three century old. It worships Goddess Mazu, the deity protecting fishermen and sailors. I really loved the small basin with a dragon and carp there!

Other temples you might want to visit are BaoAn Temple and Confucius Temple, which are located very close to each other, and Xiahai City God Temple. 

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Hope you liked my blog!
Yours,
Anna xxx

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