Eccentric Man Builds Giant “Chicken Church” in the Middle of Indonesian Jungle

Buried deep inside the Indonesian jungle is a very odd structure, shaped like a giant chicken. The long abandoned construction, locally known as Gereja Ayam (Chicken Church), is a popular tourist attraction in the hills of Magelang, Central Java.

Word on the internet is this strange construction was designed to be a church, but according to its creator, the building is neither a chicken nor a church. Daniel Alamsjah, 67, revealed that he was working in Jakarta when he suddenly received a divine message from God to build a prayer room in the form of a dove. “Perhaps because of my Christian faith, people thought I was building a church,” he said. “But it’s not a church. I was building a prayer house, a place for people who believe in God.”


Photo: Uzone

The vision came to him in 1989, when he was visiting his wife’s family in Magelang. The landscape looked incredibly familiar, and he realised that he’d seen it in his dreams. “I prayed there night there and I got a revelation that I must build the prayer house in that spot,” he said. He knew he would never have enough money for the project, so he prayed even harder.


Photo: Punthuk Setumbu

Within six months, locals offered him about 3,000 square meters of land on Rhema Hill for two million rupiah ($170). He paid off the amount over four years, and began to construct his dream project in 1994. The place is now open to visitors of all religions – Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians travel there to use it for their own style of worship.


Photo: Alek Kurniawan

According to Daniel, the building was used as a rehabilitation house for disabled children, drug addicts, and disturbed people for a while. Most of the interiors were incomplete though, and the house had to shut its doors in 2000 due to insufficient funds. But people continue to visit the site and admire its beauty. The serene location and the mystery surrounding the building also make it a great place for unique weddings.


Photo: Alek Kurniawan

Travel blogger Putri Normalita wrote: “There is very little history about the building, still a lot of tourists want to visit it and even have their weddings there. Perhaps it’s precisely because of the mystery that lots of people want to come see it first hand. There are many names for the building, for example: Church Chicken, Bird Church, Church Dove, Pigeon Hill and many others.”


Photo: Alek Kurniawan

The long-abandoned structure isn’t in the best of shape, though, and visitors need to be very cautious when stepping inside. Tourist Alek Kurniawan said that five out of the eight pillars holding the site up are crumbling, while none of the rooms have any light. “There are also bats that might be living there,” he wrote. “There are 15 rooms such as bedrooms and 1 room with 3 bathrooms. Many have graffiti on the wall, with bad words and pictures of naked women.”


The building is only 70 percent complete as of now, but Daniel still believes that he will realise his dream of finishing his masterpiece one day.


Photo: Alek Kurniawan


via Hyperallergic