by Carl Wieland

A huge full-size Noah’s Ark right next to the road leading to one of the world’s busiest airports? In Hong Kong, a city ultimately controlled by the People’s Republic of China? Yeah, sure, we thought at CMI Brisbane when we first saw the photo as it neared construction in October 2008—it had to be one of those digitally manipulated images you see floating around the internet … . But yes, the missionary friends who sent it1 assured us, this was no trickery—and its size and dimensions are the same as the original Ark, as given in the book of Genesis.2

So it was a real thrill when in June 2010 I had the chance to spend the better part of a day in and around this colossus. Seeing it certainly helps one grasp the huge size of the original vessel, designed to take two of all land-dwelling vertebrate kinds.3 (When one realizes that in all there were probably only around 15,000 to 30,000 animals averaging the size of a ferret, it soon becomes clear that there was enough room for food, drinking water, and whatever else was needed.4)

Built via an unusual mix of government and private enterprise, the ‘vessel’ (OK, the building) sits on a prime 25,000 m² (270,000 sq. ft.) piece of land on Ma Wan island, overlooking the Rambler Channel and Tsing Ma Bridge, over which the highway to the nearby airport runs.

Huge numbers of vehicles pass by this Ark replica every day. Mostly designed as a tourist drawcard, it has become one of Hong Kong’s most prominent landmarks. Where the original Ark had three decks, its Hong Kong counterpart has five levels. The ground floor has an ocean-front restaurant and banquet hall, and the top floor is “Noah’s hotel” with sea views….

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