Founding Martial Temple (開基武廟)
Tainan’s first Guan Gong Temple, the Founding Martial Temple (開基武廟), is often called the Little War Temple (Sacrificial Martial Rites Temple being the Large War Temple) and was built in 1669. It wasn’t until 1976 that the land behind the small temple was purchased and it was expanded into the back.
Offering libations via the oil lamps of this lovely temple is thought to be especially efficacious and Xinmei Street (新美街) in front of the temple was once known as ‘Divination Stick Alley’ (抽籤巷) after all the worshipers who flooded the alley to use these temple sticks and all the shops set up to interpret their meanings.
The couplets on either side of the main altar read “入此廟當要出此廟，莫混帳磕了頭去；拜斯人便要學斯人，須 仔細捫著心來.” A woman at the temple explained them to me and told me they are the only couplets of their kind in all of Taiwan. I won’t burden with a clumsy translation but just say they are meant to provoke deep thought; Guang Gong is the god of literature after all.