Germany: Snow Church Opened

12/29/2011 08:52 am ET | Updated Feb 28, 2012

MITTERFIRMIANSREUT, Germany -- 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."