An evangelical Chinese billionaire and his two billionaire brothers are behind a massive project of building the world's first biblically proportioned Noah's ark.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Kwok brothers, heirs to Hong Kong's largest real estate developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, has built the 450-foot-long ark/luxury hotel complete with 67 pairs of fiberglass animals to draw visitors from beyond the city's limit.
Middle brother Thomas Kwok, an evangelical Christian, is the main champion of the project that has been in discussion for 17 years. The ark is inspired by his Christian faith, but will not be promoted in an overtly religious manner.
Instead, the message being promoted is that the financial storm will soon be over and new life, represented by the animals emerging from the ark, will soon be opened up.
But despite avoiding an obvious religious message, the ark - the foundation of which was laid in 2004 - was developed in partnership with five Christian organizations.
The Hong Kong ark is made of concrete and glass fiber and includes a restaurant, exhibition hall, children's museum, and the main Noah's Resort hotel. Builders had tried to construct a permanent rainbow through light refraction, but the science proved too hard. So far, no ark replicas in the world have successfully built a rainbow.
Previously built arks include one in the Netherlands that could float on water and contained real animals. But the Netherlands ark was about one-fifth the size of the biblical ark. Another ark was built by Greenpeace in 2007 on Turkey's Mount Ararat that was intended to be a warning of impending disaster from climate change.
Thomas Kwok had previously mixed his business and Christian faith when he set up a church on the 75th floor of the Sun Hung Kai's Central Plaza office in the 1990s.