Monday, May 27, 2013
Images of Noah Ark as featured in the Bible
The modern day Noah Ark in Netherlands
Call him crazy or insane, but he did it.
A carpenter in Holland, Johan Huibers, spent three years and more than £1million building a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark.
Now the gigantic wooden Biblical legend is opened to the public.
As many as 3,000 tourists a day can step aboard Johan Huibers' gigantic wooden boat in Dordrecht, in the Netherlands, which now boasts two cinemas and a restaurant alongside its menagerie of life-sized plastic animals.
Mr Huibers was inspired to embark on the ambitious project after having a dream in which he saw part of his native Netherlands submerged in a flood like the one featured in the Book of Genesis.
He became obsessed with bringing the story of the Ark to life, and in 2004 he built a half-scale version and floated it along the country's canals.
HOW LONG WAS A CUBIT? OR WAS IT HOBBIT?
Long before the metric or imperial systems came along, craftsmen in various parts of the world dealt in less precise units known as cubits.
As this was based on the length of a forearm, the exact value varies from one ancient civilisation to the next. It is most commonly defined as the distance from the elbow to the middle fingertip.
The Biblical cubit is generally thought to be about 18in, but Ancient Egyptian cubit rods measure closer to 20in.
Tourists flocked to see the smaller prototype when Mr Huibers opened it to the public, but the proceeds from admissions went straight back into funding his ambition to build a full-size ship.
The narrative of the ark, in which God commands Noah to prepare for a great flood sent to purge the world of evil, specifies that the boat was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.
Mr Huibers converted this ancient unit of measurement, which is based on the length of the forearm, to determine that his recreation had to be about 450ft long.
This puts the boat, nicknamed 'Johan's Ark', at more than half the length of the Titanic.
And though it may not be able to shelter two of every animal, as the original story dictates, it can hold 1,500 people - not to mention a menagerie of plastic creatures including giraffes, elephants and donkeys, as well as a few live chickens.
As it weighs in at almost 3,000 tons and is made from Swedish pine reinforced with steel, it may be hard to believe that the ark is, in fact, seaworthy.
It is docked in the western city of Dordrecht, where Mr Huibers, the owner of a construction company, pieced it together with the help of some friends and two of his children.
In the 15th century, the city was the site of one of the deadliest floods in history, named St Elizabeth's flood, which is thought to have claimed as many as 10,000 lives.
All the best Mr Huibers.