Hidden deep inside the lush Indonesian jungle is a sight few tourists expect to see — unless they’re deliberately looking for it. A gigantic, abandoned “Chicken Church” rising above the green canopy.
The structure is known locally as Gereja Ayam, which translates to Chicken Church. Perhaps because it’s so enormous, or such a strange site, or maybe because it’s falling apart and nature is slowing consuming it, hundreds of curious travelers and photographers head into the hills of Magelang, Central Java, to check it out every year. However, according to reports, it wasn’t originally built to be a chicken or a church.
The building was originally built as a prayer house by 67-year-old Daniel Alamsjah after he received a divine message from God. Although he intended the building to resemble a dove, the locals care more that it looks like a chicken, nicknaming it “Chicken Church.” In addition to a prayer house, Alamsjah also used the building as a rehabilitation center, treating disabled children, drug addicts, and others. Alamsjah was forced to shut the center’s doors fifteen years ago after steep construction costs.
“Perhaps because of my Christian faith, people thought I was building a church,” Alamsjah is reported to have said. “But it’s not a church. I was building a prayer house, not a church, but a place for people who believe in God.”
In 1989, Alamsjah came upon the physical location he’d seen in his vision. A year later, local land owners offered him the 3,000 square metres of land on Rhema Hill for around £110 (though that number differs depending on which reports you read). He and about 30 locals began construction in the 1990s, but it was never finished. The building still stands, and is a hit with tourists.
The video below shows some great footage of the church, and you can read more about it here; however, after a minute, the footage switches to another location.