Taiwan’s indigenous people usually have unique churches that double as community centers for tribe members. Sitting in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church — the oldest indigenous Catholic church — has become a top destination since it reopened to the public in 2018 after a four-year renovation.
The two giant statues in the shapes of human figures sitting at the front gate are the spiritual symbols of Jiaping village, a Paiwan tribe, one of the major indigenous tribes in Taiwan. Both pillars belong to the tribal chief Zingrur and are listed as national treasures. However, the set in front of the church is a reproduction. The bronze gate with the carvings of Jesus is another highlight of the church.
When it comes to interior design, Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church features stained glass windows, flower-shaped ceiling light and rows of carved wood seats. Paiwan glass beads, one of the essential cultural characteristics of the Paiwan tribe hanging from the ceiling besides the eight main lights create a dreamy atmosphere. The European style church, which incorporates elements of indigenous aesthetics, can only be found in Pingtung.
It is the 12th church in Pingtung designed by Pastor Dominic Tu (杜勇雄), 55, a member of the indigenous Rukai tribe. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the county’s Wutai Township, designed by Tu in 1984, is listed among the top 100 of the world’s churches of special interest.
地址：921屏東縣泰武鄉佳平巷1號 | Address: No. 1, Jiaping Ln., Taiwu Township, Pingtung County 921, Taiwan