A 19th-century painting of the facade of A-Ma Temple by English architect and artist Thomas Allom.
The name Macau was thought to be derived from the name of the temple. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied Maa-gok or A-maa-gok(lit. "The Pavilion of the Mother"). The Portuguese then named the peninsula "Macau". The temple was well described in ancient Chinese texts, as well as represented in paintings, related to Macao. It is also one of the first scenes photographed in Macao.
The temple consists of six main parts: Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, the Prayer Hall, the Hall of Benevolence (the oldest part of the temple), the Hall of Guanyin, Zhengjiao Chanlin - Buddhist Pavilion.