(Photo courtesy of the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area Administration)
Taipei, Jan. 13 (CNA) A "church" shaped like a high-heeled shoe has been built in Chiayi County in southern Taiwan in a gambit by local tourism authorities to attract more female visitors.
The structure, located at Ocean View Park in Budai Township, is made from 320 panes of blue-tinted glass and stands 17 meters tall and 11 meters wide.
Though it was originally given the name "Cinderella High-Heel Church," the glass shoe is actually an installation artwork with no religious function.
The name was a play on the story of Cinderella, who is found by her Prince Charming by virtue of the glass slipper she left behind at the royal ball.
But according to Cheng Jung-feng (鄭榮峯), a spokesman of the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area Administration, the design was actually conceived to remember the scourge of blackfoot disease in coastal areas in Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan counties in the 1950s.
Because of the disease, a type of gangrene, many women had to have a foot amputated to survive, extinguishing their dreams of walking down a red carpet with pretty high-heeled shoes, he said.
"Now with the shiny structure, we hope to deliver a message of happiness to the people yearning for a bright future," he said.
During the two months it took to build the glass shoe, many visitors were drawn to the construction site by its glittering exterior.
It is scheduled to open to the public by Feb. 8, the first day of the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese lunar calendar.
Cheng said there are more than 100 women-inspired installations inside the church, of which 71 have been finished.
These features include chairs for "lovers," maple leaves, biscuits and cakes, and all of them offer good photo opportunities, he said.
The unique structure has grabbed worldwide attention, being featured, for example, in the Daily Mail in Britain.
In an article on Jan. 11, the Daily Mail led the article with the extended headline: "It's not just the devil who wears Prada! Taiwanese town builds a church shaped like a HIGH HEEL to attract female worshippers"
(By Flor Wang)