Beiji Temple 北極殿
Founded in 1665, Beiji Temple is the oldest official temple to the god known as “Emperor of Mysterious Heaven” or Syuanwu in Tainan City. Beiji Temple stands on “Vulture Hill”, the highest place in old Tainan city three and a half centuries ago. At the time of the Dutch colonization (1624-1662) of the southern coastal areas, the site was home to a clinic; and Koxinga (The colonization started from 1662 to 1683) used it as a medical station during his siege on the nearby Fort Zeelandia. After the Dutch surrender, Koxinga decreed the building should be converted into a temple to the Emperor of Mysterious Heaven, and it was completed in 1665. One of the statues of Syuanwu (the principle deity to whom the Beiji Temple dedicated) enshrined in the temple was brought by Koxinga from China. In 1836, the temple was rebuilt to enshrine Guanyin, and in 1856 the temple was again rebuilt with help from the local gentry. It was then renamed “Beiji Temple” (meaning “North Pole Temple” in Mandarin) and has been listed as a historic site of the highest category in Taiwan.
Temple Layout 廟宇內部設計
The temple is flanked by an entrance gate on the right and an exit gate on the left. The central gate is reserved for deities and emperors and may not be entered by mortals. The gates open onto the yard and the prayer pavilion where devotees pray to heaven and the god of the North. Next to the prayer pavilion is the main hall, where the god of the North is enshrined. Behind the main hall, other deities are enshrined in rear palace and other rooms.
The temple houses many statues of the god, the largest being six feet tall and dating back to the Qing dynasty. In front of this is the smaller statue brought by Koxinga from China in 1661. 北極殿供奉著許多神像，而最大的神像為六呎高的玄天上帝金身，其歷史可追朔至清朝；而在此神像前，其尺寸較小的神像則為西元1661年鄭成功自中國帶來的玄天上帝金身。
Other temples tend to have red pillars decorated with dragons, but the pillars in Beiji Temple are unique for their black coloring, representing the North. The flags and central gate are also all in black.
There is a tablet hanged on the beam, with the inscription “Wei Lin He Yi”, indicated that ‘The almighty divine power of Syuanwu always awes and amazes the folks’. This inscription was made by Prince Ningjing during Ming dynasty. Besides, while you walk around in the temple, don’t miss the paintings that were designed by Tainan’s prestigious artist, Pan Li-shui.
No.89, Sec. 2, Minquan Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan City 700, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
06 226 8875