Yeung Hau Temple in Tai O, one of Lantau’s oldest buildings, has been declared a monument.
The temple, originally built in 1699, is one of a number of Hau Wong temples across Hong Kong and southern China, most of which honour Yeung Leung-jit (楊亮節) a courtier celebrated for his loyalty in staying by the side of the young Song emperor as he fled the advancing Mongol forces in the 1270s.
However, the Chinese Temples Committee notes that the Tai O temple may also have been named after a local villager called Yeung who cured the emperor of an illness.
The temple, which contains a cast-iron bell struck in 1699, was extensively renovated in 1827, 1877 and 1988.
By ‘declaring’ a site, the Antiquities Office is empowered to prevent or limit alterations. The authority website explains:
The temple is one of the oldest temples in Tai O and has long been patronised not only by fishing folk and fisheries merchants in Tai O, but also by merchants from the neighbouring places and the Qing soldiers along the coast. The temple is also popular for its strong association with the Tai O dragon boat water parade, which is a traditional festive event with a history of over 100 years and was inscribed onto the third national list of intangible cultural heritage of China in 2011.
Built on the northern edge of Tai O the temple sits today just a few hundred metres away from the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge.
Hong Kong has 117 declared monuments, including six on Lantau Island (map). The other Lantau sites are: Shek Pik Rock Carving,Tung Chung Fort, Fan Lau Fort, Fan Lau Stone Circle, and Tung Chung Battery.