BUDAI, Taiwan - Cinderella's glass slipper came to life in a big way on Taiwan's western coast with the official opening of a glass church built in the shape of a high-heeled shoe, an epa journalist reports.
The High-Heeled Shoe Church in Budai, a fishing village in Chiayi County formally opened on Friday, but has been open to the public on a trial basis since February, attracting thousands of local tourists every day.
The church is visually stunning but has divided opinion among local people, with some regarding it as a boost to the local tourism economy and a positive remembrance of a dark past.
But others criticize it for not complementing the local landscape and tradition, and say the church will prove to be a passing fad that won't attract tourists in the long term.
It was built at a cost of about $686,000, is made with 320 pieces of blue glass and is around 17 meters tall, 11 meters wide and 25 meters long.
The idea for the glass church came from Cheng Jung-feng, a local tourism official. He said Chiayi was a backwater and needed something special to lure tourists.
Cheng suggested building four church-themed projects, and the High-Heeled Shoe Church was one of them.
He wanted the church to reflect local people's religious faith and to commemorate girls who had their feet amputated due to the Blackfoot Disease in the 1950s and could not wear high heels when they walked down the red carpet for their weddings.
To promote the glass slipper church, local tourism officials plan to encourage couples to take wedding photos in and outside the church, and also plan to hold light and water shows every evening.
The church has capacity for a maximum of about 100 people, though actual religious services won't be held inside.
Guinness World Records has recently certified it as "the largest shoe-shaped building" in the world.