The local government officials in the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, Taiwan, have gone out of their way in creating a church, the shape of a glass slipper. Intended to attract tourists in this scenic location of the Ocean View Park in Budai Town, the church is also meant to draw the attention of women.
Made out of over 320 tinted glass panels, the shiny blue building measures more than 10m (36ft) wide and cost about T$23m (U.S. $686,000 £477,000), according to the BBC.
The church will not be used for regular services, but pre-wedding photo shoots and wedding ceremonies. Pan Tsuei-ping, the administration’s recreation section manager had the following to say about the intentions of the building.
“In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue… Every girl imagines how they will look like when they become the bride.”
Government spokesman Zheng Rongfeng said the following in a statement to local media.
“There will be 100 female-oriented features in the church like maple leaves, chairs for lovers, biscuits and cakes,”
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) January 9, 2016
The legend goes that in the 1960s, a 24-year-old local girl named Wang suffered from Blackfoot disease. Apparently, her wedding was cancelled after both her legs were amputated due to the disease. She never married and devoted her life in the service of the church. This church is built to honor her memory. This does appear to be the reason behind the design.
The social media reacted in more ways than one.
“I wish people would stop calling this a “church”. A church is a house of worship. This is a wedding venue.” wrote Lal a Bowman.
Few people in Taiwan follow Christianity, and there are fewer places available for a Western wedding ceremony. This church could serve as a venue, not only for the people in Taiwan but also to the tourists visiting the country.
Georgia Franco wrote, “I’ve lived in Taiwan and this church I’m sure was not built to attract new followers but as a tourist attraction. This is not the first unusual church that has been built there for the same reason. Most women around the world plan their weddings & not the men, so for the novelty seeking Taiwanese lady (& trust me there are many there – Hello Kitty is a big example) this will be one place to attract them in droves. Only a small percentage of Taiwanese are Christians so they usually marry in a church to fulfil a dream of the Western wedding or just pose in one for their wedding albums.”
The news of the church, set to open on March 8, 2016, the Chinese New Year, invited the ire of quite a few, especially the women.
“So what do they mean?? Building a glass shoe church will invite more women to worship God? Mindless designers. That is just so ridiculous.” wrote Jenshi Walls
— Matthias Lehmann (@yongsagisa) January 15, 2016
Jessica Capvrro wrote, “Regardless women religion fashion in this case architecture cannot be instrumented to attract women to church in a country that religion is not a priority.”
Some were generous enough to appreciate. One user appreciated the effort and thought given to women while building the structure.
“Most girls love fairytales, it’s great that officials want to focus on women for once.”
Some were apprehensive even in their appreciation. Jessica Capvrro
“Nice architecture and tourist attraction. But maybe the design is not the most appropriate to interpret the true story in which this glass structure is based on.”
The new structure sure has attracted a lot of attention even before its inauguration, which in itself is not a small achievement. It is all set to become a sought-after venue for weddings and a popular tourist destination. The kind of response it will receive as a place of worship is something which needs to be observed over time.
[Image via Shutterstock]