A church built entirely out of snow and ice – sounds magical, and looks pretty too. It was built this year in the Bavarian forest by the villagers of Mitterfirmiansreut, Germany. Located close to the Czech border, the church is bathed in a beautiful blue light. It was opened to public on Wednesday evening, blessed by Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser. Although the villagers had hoped to have it open before Christmas, the lack of sufficient snow caused a delay in their project.
The snow church was constructed in commemoration of a similar church built in 1911, exactly 100 years ago. The older one was actually a sign of protest. In those days, the nearest church was in Mauth, a 90-minute hike away, which wasn’t always easy to complete. The residents of the secluded Mitterfirmiansreut village then came up with the idea to build the snow church, in the hope that it would draw attention to their plight. The winter of 1910/1911 was rich in snow, and the construction of the church began in Feb, 1911. Both men and women worked hard to place blocks of solid snow bricks, building a strong and sturdy church. The final structure was 14m long , 7m wide and 4m high. The first worship was held on the 28th of March, 1911.
Of course, by spring that year the church had melted away, but it had served its purpose. After receiving substantial media coverage as far as the US, donations began to come in for the construction of a proper church in the village. Eventually, a stone School Chapel was constructed in 1923 and extended later. The modern-day representation of the snow church did run into a few troubles in the early stages. Apart from the lack of snow, Catholic leaders had expressed skepticism. The local Bishop had even refused to consecrate the church officially. However, all these hurdles were overcome and the snow church now stands in all its glory.
The snow church of Mitterfirmiansreut cost around €100,000 to build, using 1,400 cubic meters (49,000 cubic feet) of snow and slabs of ice.
Visitors stand in front of a blue-lit church built of snow during its opening in Mitterfirmiansreut, southern Germany, Wednesday evening, Dec. 28, 2011. The church was opened in the Bavarian Forest two weeks later than planned.
(AP Photo/dapd, Lukas Barth)
Photo © DPA