Thursday, October 6, 2016

The abandoned 'Chicken Church' of Indonesia



On the the hills of Magelang, in the central part of the Indonesian island of Java there's a giant abandoned structure, resembling a chicken.

Locals call it 'Gereja Ayam', Indonesian for 'Chicken Church'. It was built by Daniel Alamsjah, a man who in 1989, while working 550 kilometers (342 miles) away in Jakarta, had a vision, a divine message from God according to him, asking him to built a prayer house for all religions. During Idul Fitri that year, Alamsjah was walking around Magelang where his wife’s family lived, when he came across some land that had exactly the same view as in his vision.

According to Alamsjah, the 'Chicken Church' is neither a chicken nor a church, but a prayer house built in the shape of a dove. As he didn't have a lot of money, he had to negotiate with local farmers and in 1990 he got an offer to buy 3,000 square meters (32,300 square feet) of land on Rhema Hill for just Rp 2 million ($170), which he paid in installments over the course of four years.

He says that a a diverse set of people visited his prayer house. “Seven nationalities were represented like countries including Japan and there were many people there, not just Christians. Muslims were praying there too.” The basement of the 'church', made up by 12 dark unfinished rooms, was used for 'rehabilitation'. “The rehabilitation that happened at this prayer house was for therapy for disabled children, drug addicts, crazy people and disturbed youth who wanted to fight,” he says.

'Gereja Ayam' shut down in 2000, still unfinished, as the construction costs were too high. Today, Alamsjah, who says he has a background in therapy and has 21 patients living in his house, is trying to sell the 'Chicken Church'. Many tourists visit the abandoned prayer house today, mainly expats who have been inspired to trek up to Gereja Ayam by the social media. The building also houses young couples in search of privacy, looking to get away from prying eyes


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1 comment:

  1. A thoroughly fascinating post and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

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