Gereja Ayam / Chicken Church – a bizarre structure in the shape of a dove roosting on a forested hill overlooking Borobudur was used to be a creepy place. But now, it is one of popular tourist attraction near the Borobudur Temple in addition to Punthuk Setumbu / Setumbu Hill.

Gereja Ayam/Chicken Church on Rhema Hill – Magelang

The man masterminded this unique structure was 67-year-old Daniel Alamsjah, who experienced a holy vision that inspired him to build a dove-shaped prayer house in 1989. He then started the construction in the 90’s. In addition to a prayer house for all religions, Alamsjah also used the building as a rehabilitation center, treating disabilities, drug addicts, the mentally ill, disturbed youth and others. Due to financial difficulties and local resistance, the construction was never finished. The construction was halted in 2000 and shut down, the building has since largely been left to deteriorate. The abandoned condition turned the place into a creepy and mysterious place.

Interior of Gereja Ayam photo by Agus Saegaleri

This bizarre building gains popularity because of social media & internet. It successfully attracts hundreds of travelers and photographers who want to explore its interior, exterior and enjoy sightseeing from above the ‘chicken head’. Gereja Ayam was also used as movie scene in the most famous Indonesian film titled Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 (AADC2). These days it’s been cleaned up and turned into a proper tourist attraction.

 

Gereja Ayam has a lot of rooms inside, including big pillars holding up the building that some of them now are crumbling. The basement has 12 dark unfinished rooms that was used for rehabilitation. When we climbed up into the chicken’s head, you can see a bird’s-eye view of the surrounds. The interior walls of the head are painted with anti-drug messages. Some travelers who visit Setumbu Hill / Punthuk Setumbu for watching sunrise, might did not realize that there is a unique building close to Setumbu Hill. Enjoying sunrise from the head of Gereja Ayam is not less attracting than Punthuk Setumbu / Setumbu Hill.

If you interested to visit Gereja Ayam, you can join our program tour that include Gereja Ayam / Chicken Church in the selection beside Borobudur Temple and Merapi Lava Tour. Click here for the itinerary.

Sunrise from the head of Chicken Church/Gereja Ayam (photo by @echiolsen)

Gereja Ayam/Chicken Church

Basement of Gereja Ayam (photo by atlasobscura)

Gereja Ayam from above (photo by atlasobscura)