Thian Hock Keng is one of the oldest and most important Hokkien temple in Singapore. It was visited by Chinese immigrants giving thanks to Ma Zu (Goddess of the Sea) for their safe voyage.
In 1839, under the leadership of Mr Tan Tock Seng and Mr Si Hoo Keh, the Hokkien clan built the temple in Telok Ayer Street. It also housed the clan's office and served as a meeting venue. The construction of Thian Hock Keng was completed in 1842. The details of the temple’s history are recorded in granite tablets on the wall inside the Entrance Hall.
There is also a plaque inscribed with the words Bo Jing Nan Ming (Gentle Waves over the South Seas) presented by Qing Dynasty Emperor Guang Xu in 1907, evidence of the temple's stature.
The temple was built in traditional southern Chinese architectural style. The entire structure was assembled without nails. It is an architectual masterpiece of stone, tiles and wood, dragons and phoenixes, amazing carvings, intricate sculptures and imposing columns.
Thian Hock Keng which is managed by Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan was gazetted as a national monument in 1973. Over the years, Thian Hock Keng has been restored several times. The most comprehensive one commenced in 1998 and was completed in December 2000. This restoration project won 4 architectural awards, including the most prestigious award from UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage 2001 Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation Building.