Lu Zhenhai, from Urumqi in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang – about 3,000 kilometres from the nearest sea coast – is so convinced by the so-called “Mayan Prophecy” of the end of the world in December 2012 that he’s designed and built a disaster-proof ark that he hopes will keep him safe from a global flood.
Mr Lu started building his ark in 2010, and has since spent his life savings of around one million Yuan (B4.8 million) to get it ready.
The squarish vessel is built from wood and steel. It doesn’t look like it would survive the end of the world, but Mr Lu is confident that it will keep him and his family safe from the coming apocalypse – that is, any sort of apocalypse that features a global flood.
Mr Lu’s ark is 21 metres long, 15 metres wide and displaces about 140 tonnes of water – so there’s not much room for passengers, let alone wildlife.
Mr Lu accepts that building the ark is a gamble – and in the event that a global flood doesn’t trouble landlocked Xinjiang, he’s ready to use it to help flood victims elsewhere. He says he will use the vessel as a tourist attraction if there’s no flood.