New Noah's Ark Ready to Sail
The massive central door in the side of Noah's
Ark was thrown open Saturday -- you could say it was
the first time in 4,000 years -- drawing a crowd of
curious pilgrims and townsfolk to behold the wonder.
Of course, it's only a replica of the biblical Ark,
built by Dutch creationist Johan Huibers as a
testament to his faith in the literal truth of the
Reckoning by the old biblical measurements, Johan's
fully functional ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits
high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the
length of a football field and as high as a
A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of
cedar and pine -- biblical scholars debate exactly
what the wood used by Noah would have been.
Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands,
using modern tools and occasional help from his son
Roy. Construction began in May 2005.
Visitors on the first day were stunned.
"It's past comprehension," said Mary Louise
Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her
husband while on vacation when they saw the ark
looming over the local landscape.
"I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the
boat would have been so big."
In fact, Noah's Ark as described in the Bible was
five times larger than Johan's Ark.
But that still leaves enough space near the keel for
a 50-seat film theater, where kids can watch the
segment of the Disney film "Fantasia" that tells the
story of Noah.
Genesis says Noah kept seven pairs of most
domesticated animals and one breeding pair of all
other creatures, plus his wife, three sons and three
daughters-in-law together on the boat for almost a
year while the world was deluged.
A nun walks through the ship, which is filled
models of animals and other exhibits. It will
major cities in Belgium and Germany.
Perhaps it was only logical that the replica project
would be the brainchild of a Dutchman: Fear of
flooding is ingrained in the country's collective
consciousness by its water-drenched history.
Under sunny skies Saturday, Huibers said he wasn't
worried about another biblical flood, since
according to Genesis, the rainbow is the sign of
God's promise never to flood the world again. But he
does worry that recent events such as the flooding
of New Orleans could be seen as a portent of the end
Huibers said he hopes the project will renew
interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where
churchgoing has fallen dramatically in the past 50
years. He also plans to visit major cities in
Belgium and Germany.
A poll regarding the real Ark was taken with the
following question and results:
believe there was a real Noah's Ark as described in
Yes -- 82%
No -- 18%
A total of 275,856 votes.
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