Church Made of Ice and Snow Opens in Bavaria

By the Associated Press | December 29, 2011 | 7:18 AM EST

Visitors pass by a blue-lit church built of snow during its opening in Mitterfirmiansreut, southern Germany, Wednesday evening, Dec. 28, 2011. The church was opened in the Bavarian Forest two weeks later than planned. (AP Photo/dapd, Lukas Barth)

MITTERFIRMIANSREUT, Germany (AP) - 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 20 meters (65 feet) in length and boasts a tower. It's made up of some 1,400 cubic meters (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."