A-Ma Culture Village is close to the world's tallest statue of the goddess A-Ma (also known as Tin Hau), which stands on a 170-metre high peak on a mountaintop on Macau's Coloane Island, a 7,000-square meter cultural complex celebrates the beloved deity's legend.
The development of the A-Ma Cultural Village was started during the Chung Yeung festival in 2001 shortly after the A-Ma Cultural and Tourism Festival of Macau. Today, construction of the Qing Dynasty-style complex is nearly finished. Surely the village, which comprises a bell tower, drum tower, carved marble altar in the Tin Hau Palace, a dressing hall, museum and shops will attract many A-Ma devotees and interested tourists, especially those from the Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Fujian Province, where the goddess A-Ma is believed to have been born more than 1,000 years ago. Visitors approach the village by six rows of stairs carved with auspicious Chinese patterns like of the roaring tiger, the double lion, the five cranes and double phoenix that lead to the Tin Hau Palace. Plans for the future include a vegetarian restaurant and more Macanese and Taiwanese snack stalls, folk handicrafts and souvenir shops and other tourist facilities.
But there is a lot more for tourists to see when they visit the Coloane site. The village is surrounded by a park, and is reached by the Estrada do Alto de Coloane which begins just south of Seac Pai Van Park. The road leads first to the parking area for the newly-developed Recreational Fishing Zone, the Arboretum (which features more than 100 species of local and exotic trees), and the main access to the Coloane Hiking Trail. It continues on to the top of the Peak where there is another car park, the new Alto de Coloane picnic area, and the statue of the Goddess A-Ma. Visible from far out in the South China Sea, the statue crowns Coloane Peak. A-Ma is venerated by fishermen and sailors and therefore has always had a special significance in Macau.
The goddess A-Ma has long been revered in Macau as the protector of people who make their living on the sea. A well-known local legend tells of the goddess saving the occupants of a ship during a fierce storm, and ascending afterward into heaven near the site of the historic A-Ma temple, a local landmark believed to have been built during the Ming Dynasty.
There are an estimated 200 million devotees of the goddess worldwide, concentrated in places like South East Asia, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong but found even as far away as Europe and the Americas, making them followers of one of the world's most widespread religions.