Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Chicken Church

According to its creator, it's neither a chicken nor a church. It's a "prayer house" built in the shape of a dove - or at least that's the theory. Unfortunately it really did turn out looking a lot more like a chicken, as you can see in the photo above. The building was abandoned in 2000, but continues to draw tourists who want to check it out. After all, what's weirder than walking through the jungle and running into a giant chicken that then turns out to be an abandoned building?

The long-abandoned structure known locally as Gereja Ayam - or Chicken Church - attracts hundreds of curious travelers and photographers to the hills of Magelang, Central Java, every year. But according to the its eccentric creator, the majestic building is neither a chicken nor a church.

Daniel Alamsjah was working in Jakarta - 342 miles away - when he suddenly got a divine message from God to build a 'prayer house' in the form of a dove. 'Perhaps because of my Christian faith, people thought I was building a church. But it’s not a church. I was building a prayer house... a place for people who believe in God,' the 67-year-old told Jakarta Globe.

In 1989, he was walking through the Magelang, where his wife's family live, when he caught sight of the exact same landscape he had seen in his dreams. 'I prayed all night there and I got a revelation that I must build the prayer house in that spot,' he said.

The idea of a place of worship for people of multiple faiths is a good one, and the dove has long been a symbol of peace. However, Alamsjah might have been able to keep up the building more easily if he had followed a more conventional design. The sweeping curves of the design require a complex internal structure that looks difficult to maintain, and according to the article it was the costs associated with keeping up the structure that eventually led to its abandonment. Still, it represents an ambitious concept that would have been all the more impressive had it worked out.

The link has more photos of the structure, showing what's left of both the interior and exterior. It's certainly unlike any building I've ever seen.

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1 comment:

I. A. E. said...

I suppose we should be thankful that it didn't end up shaped like something lewd, as seems to happen quite a bit with religious buildings. I could see this becoming a tourist attraction in itself, like the dinosaurs out in California.