Snow church opens in Bavaria

Visitors stand in front of a blue-lit church built of snow during its opening in Mitterfirmiansreut, southern Germany, Dec. 28, 2011. Lukas Barth,AP Photo/dapd

MITTERFIRMIANSREUT, Germany - A church built entirely of ice and snow has opened in Bavaria — a century after villagers first built a snow church in an act of protest.

The church at Mitterfirmiansreut, near the Czech border, is more than 65 feet in length and boasts a tower. It's made up of some 49,000 cubic feet of snow.

The structure was bathed in blue light as it opened Wednesday evening with a blessing from Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser.

But when the ancestors of today's villagers built the first snow church in 1911, they weren't thinking just of architectural achievement.

Steinbeisser says: "It was meant as an act of provocation — believers from the village got together and built a snow church because they didn't have a church here."

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