Taipei Tianhou Temple 台北天后宮
One of Taipei's many temples dedicated to the "Heavenly Queen" (天后), this beautiful temple is located right in the core of Ximending Shopping District (西門町), hidden away behind all the glittering signs through its main entrance on Chengdu Road.
The temple has been in existence for the past 270 years as one of the 3 great temples of the Bangka (Wanhua) District, and was reconstructed after a fire, being completed in 1959 on Mazu's millennium anniversary.
This temple is dedicated to Mazu (媽祖), a deity worshipped by many of southern Chinese heritage and sea-faring people.
During the Japanese occupation, the temple grounds were designed according to Japanese shinto tradition where Japanese monks could chant and recite scriptures and prayers for their worship. The nearby Xinxing Temple was demolished, and the Mazu Tianhou deity was moved to Longshan Temple (龍山寺). After the occupation ended, the deity was moved to the Tianhou Temple (named Hongfa Temple at the time), but not without controversy. This instance of moving the deity was instructed by the ROC government in Nanjing (who had not yet fled to Taiwan), and met local resistance, reasons including local clergy opposition to the ROC orders, Japanese styling of a Chinese temple, and the temple physically facing the wrong cardinal direction. A fire at a neighbouring dancing hall in 1953 prompted a redesign of the temple.
In 1967 when Taipei City became a municipality, the temple's name was officially changed to Taipei Tianhou Temple.