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Historic town of Lugang boasts over 200 temples

CHANGHUA, Taiwan -- The historic town of Lugang in the central county of Changhua is probably best-known for its large number of temples.

Lin Chih-hsiung, curator of the Lugang township museum, who has conducted a field study of temples in the town, said Sunday that more-than 200 temples dedicated to a wide variety of folk deities line the little town's streets and alleys.

According to Lin, 10 of the temples are dedicated to Matsu, the Chinese goddess of the sea, and there are also 39 Wangye temples dedicated to various legendary figures.

All of the Lugang temples have their respective stories and devoted followers, Lin said, adding that the large number of temples also reflects the town's unique history.

“Many of the icons worshipped in the local temples are centuries old and were mostly brought to Taiwan by Chinese immigrants in the Qing Dynasty,” he went on.

Lugang translates as “deer harbor” and there was a time in the distant past when wild deer roamed the then-undeveloped plains around the town, giving it its name, according to Lin.

Lugang was also one of Taiwan's three most important harbors during the Qing Dynasty. In those days, it was one of the main ports through which early Chinese immigrants entered Taiwan and trade was carried out between Taiwan and China's Fujian Province.

Times have changed. Today there are no deer. But the evidence of Lugang's glory days still remains, and visitors today find ample evidence of a lively history and a thriving Taiwanese culture that is firmly rooted in the time-honored traditions of early immigrants from Fujian.

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