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Taiwan’s Latest ‘Women-Inspired’ Tourist Trap Is a Giant Glass Shoe

Taiwanese officials in the coastal province of Chiayi have built a mammoth glass shoe church in hopes of attracting brides for wedding pictures and ceremonies.

The monstrous building is not meant for actual worship, just a backdrop for pictures to boost tourism.

Last June, officials in the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area decided to erect the building for photo shoots and weddings.

According to the BBC, Pan Tsuei-ping, the administration’s recreation section manager, explained, “In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue. … Every girl imagines how they will look like when they become the bride.”

Cheng Jung-feng, another spokesman, said workers completed 71 of the “100 women-inspired installations inside” the building. These include chairs, leaves, biscuits, and cakes.

An old story inspired the officials to build the shoe. 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.

“We have faith it will become a new sightseeing landmark,” stated spokesman Hung Chao-chang. “The design itself is unique. Most brides love to wear high-heel shoes and I believe this building will match their imagination. Actually we already got lots of phone calls asking when it will be open.”

They will open the building on February 8.

The building cost $686,500 and stands over 55 feet tall. Builders used over 320 panes of blue glass.

It is also a “testament to tragedy.” In the 1950s, citizens along the coast of Taiwan suffered from blackfoot disease caused by drinking underground water laced with arsenic. The disease “is a severe form of peripheral vascular disease (PVD), in which the blood vessels in the lower limbs are severely damaged, resulting eventually in progressive gangrene.” Many women lost their feet and legs due to the disease.

“This shoe structure is to mark the end of the tragedies,” said Hung.

Officials built a crystal church a few years ago, which has been popular for wedding photographs.

The China Post reported that the structure’s “surroundings were planned as a theme park of love, with many exotic buildings and art structures to fascinate tourists.” The location is important because “the salt pan nearby is also an attraction for tourists that represents the special cultural legacy and ecosystem in Beimen.”

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