Indonesia's 'Chicken Church' Is So Much Cooler Than Florida's

Indonesia's 'Chicken Church' Is So Much Cooler Than Florida's

It's not a church, and it's not supposed to look like a chicken, but locals call it the "chicken church" anyway.

Residents of Magelang, Indonesia, know well the towering, red-beaked visage of gereja ayam (literally, chicken church), which stands on a hilltop overlooking the city.

The building looks like something out of Gary Larson's "Far Side" comic strip, but it's totally for real.

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Daniel Alamsjah, 67, is the man behind the structure. He told the Jakarta Globe that he built it after having a vision of a dove-shaped "prayer house" on a hill in 1989.

He and about 30 locals began construction in the 1990s. Although it was never finished and has been abandoned since 2000, the building remains a hit with tourists.

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Alamsjah said that although he's a Christian, the "chicken church" -- as it came to be known -- doesn't cater to a specific religion, and that both Christians and Muslims have prayed there. The crumbling building has about a dozen private prayer chambers and a large central meeting hall.

“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, not a church, but a place for people who believe in God,” Alamsjah told the Globe.

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You don't have to go all the way to Indonesia to visit a church that looks like a chicken. As with many weird things, Florida has you covered. The Church by the Sea in Madeira Beach looks more than a little chicken-like when viewed from a certain angle, although an employee there told The Huffington Post that they're "not fond" of the moniker.

"It's attracting people to us for all the wrong reasons. I don't think they're attracted to come in and worship. I think they're making fun of it," the employee, who requested not to be named, told HuffPost last year.

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The chicken church is located just west of Borobudur, a famous 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang.

Here's the chicken church as seen from Google Earth. Its beak faces east toward Borobudur.

chicken church google maps

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