Puli, Taiwan, was near the epicenter of a devastating 1999 earthquake that killed over 2,400 people and near resulted in US$10 billion in property damage.
The Puli Paper Dome represents the determination of the community to rebuild while respecting the natural diversity and treasures around them. As part of the recovery, Japan offered support and a unique donation: an entire church that had been built from inexpensive, recycled materials by architect Shigeru Ban after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. The church was given to Puli as a gesture of solidarity and to lift people's spirits.
Today, Puli's Paper Dome is a growing ecotourism destination and an ecologically sound nature refuge. The simple church features solid pillars made of industrial-grade paper tubes and waterproof paneled doors that let in fresh air and light. The surrounding preserve has lovely lily ponds, grassy knolls, easy strolling paths, and a cafe. A guide is highly recommended.
AFAR Ambassador Charissa Fay traveled to Taiwan as a guest of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.