Thian Hock Keng Temple
Built between 1839 and 1842, Thian Hock Keng Temple is the oldest Hok-lo temple in Singapore
. Constructed on the site of an earlier primitive shrine created by Chinese sailors grateful to have survived the journey to Singapore (and needing blessing for the next voyage), it’s dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea, an important deity to honor considering how treacherous ocean travel could be in those days. (The goddess of mercy and Confucius are also worshiped there.) The gilded temple’s ceiling murals, statues, and red and black lacquer are striking—and so is the fact that not a single nail was used in its construction: The temple is supported entirely by iron and wooden pillars.