© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
TECHNOTE: 90.5 FM and AM870 reception

Taiwan Now Has A Giant, Shiny, Shoe-Shaped Church

The church, of unidentified denomination, is set to open next month.
AFP/Getty Images
The church, of unidentified denomination, is set to open next month.

Imagine Cinderella's glass slipper scaled to about 100 times its original size and dropped on the coast of Taiwan.

That's the new church in Ocean View Park in Budai township.

Looking like it was plucked from a distorted fairy tale, the glittering, shoe-shaped building is made up of about 320 tinted glass panels and stands 55 feet tall by 36 feet wide. It was reportedly constructed by the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area in an effort to attract female worshippers and tourists to the site.

"In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue," Pan Tsuei-ping, the administration's recreation section manager, told the BBC.

But the inspiration behind the design — and, no, it's not gender-normative commercialism — is anything but blissful. The BBC reports:

"The shoe was inspired by a local story. According to officials in the 1960s, a 24-year-old girl surnamed Wang from the impoverished region suffered from Blackfoot disease. Both of her legs had to be amputated, leading to the cancellation of her wedding. She remained unmarried and spent the rest of her life at a church.

"The high heel is intended to honour her memory."

Just in case a giant high heel with a tragic back story isn't enough to lure women to the new church, another local government official said the interior of the church, too, will cater to women's apparently delicate inclinations.

The Daily Mail, citing local media, quotes a spokesman for the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area as saying the church will have 100 female-oriented features — maple leaves, chairs for lovers, biscuits and cakes.

The building is set to open in time for the Chinese New Year, on Feb. 8. Pan told the BBC that the church, which took two months and cost about $686,000 to build, will not be used for regular services but instead for weddings and pre-wedding photo shoots.

"Every girl imagines how they will look like when they become the bride," she said.

Not every girl, apparently, swoons over glass slippers.

People from all over the world took to social media to object to the idea that women would necessarily be drawn to a building shaped like a shoe.

But as the BBC notes, Jessie Chou, writing on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, might have said it best: "I wear flip flops anyway."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

To help strengthen our local reporting as WKAR's fiscal year ends, we need 75 new or upgraded sustainers by June 30th. Become a new monthly donor or increase your donation to support the trustworthy journalism you'll rely on before Election Day. Donate now.