Giant replica of Noah's Ark rises in Hong Kong

Published 18 July 2011
The first actual size replica of the ark Noah built on God’s command before the Great Flood is finally open to the public to give them the hope of a new beginning as they visit this island in Hong Kong.

Part of an evangelical Christian theme park located on Ma Wan Island and rising next to a huge suspension bridge and one of the world’s busiest waterways, the Noah’s Ark can now have visitors, The Christian Broadcasting Network reported Friday.

Christian organisations, funded by an evangelical Chinese businessman and his two brothers, known as the Kwok brothers, built the ark as per the dimensions given in the Book of Genesis, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. A partner in the project was the government of Hong Kong, a special administrative division of the People’s Republic of China.

The ark was envisioned by an 8-year-old girl. “She drew a little picture, her dad took it. The government officials loved it and from there on the architects and the engineers developed the plan,” Mathew Pine, the manager of the Noah’s Ark theme park, told CBN.

The girl, who was not identified by CBN, gave the idea when the developers, Christian organisations and the government wanted to do “something remarkable, something outstanding.”

It all started in the late 1990s when the city was not yet connected with the Hong Kong’s new airport. Construction of a bridge was the answer, but for that an island needed to be developed. That’s when a lawyer for the developers, Hugo Chan, told the government that his clients could help construct the bridge if a theme park was built for the community.

The ark, which contains exhibits with rare animals like a nautilus, a toucan and exotic fish, also features a garden with around 70 pairs of real-size replicas of animals. It also hosts animated films demonstrating how the original ark could have been constructed and how it might have been ventilated.

“The reason we chose that moment in the story is because this is the message we want to bring to Hong Kong, to China, and to the world today,” Pine said.

The Noah’s Ark is operated by several organisations, including Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, Angela Luk’s Education Foundation Ltd., St. James’ Settlement, the Boys’ Brigade, Hong Kong, and the Media Evangelism Ltd.

One of the main funders, an evangelical Christian, Thomas Kwok, says he was inspired by his Christian faith. The Kwoks are heirs to Hong Kong’s largest real estate developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A similar project to build a life-sized Noah’s Ark, as part of a biblical theme park by Ark Encounter in Kentucky, is also underway.

The Netherlands also built an ark, one-fifth the actual size, which could float on water and contained real animals. Greenpeace also built one in 2007 on Turkey’s Mount Ararat as warning of an impending disaster from climate change.

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