The biblical-era city of Jerusalem has been rebuilt in the middle Utah, courtesy of the Mormon Church. “Jerusalem West” (as I call it) will be used for movies, educational tours and pilgrimages, and, presumably, as a crash pad when Jesus eventually returns to Earth. The Salt Lake Tribune writes:
He’ll turn water into wine. He’ll heal a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. And he — the actor slated to play Jesus Christ — will do it all in rural Utah.
A thick, gnarled fake olive tree, for Jesus to pray beside, sits at the end of a pathway in the replicated Garden of Gethsemane. Large, faux stone walls line a maze of city streets, crafted to look rough and weather-beaten. A dozen heavy steps lead up to Solomon’s Porch outside the Temple complex, which will be filled with 30-foot-high columns mimicking the actual 100-foot ones that stood in the ancient city.
After months of construction, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin filming 55 educational vignettes about Jesus’ life next week on a new movie set modeled mainly after biblical Jerusalem. The set — roughly a football-field-by-a-football-field in size near Goshen, south of Utah Lake — has been painstakingly erected by hundreds of workers in hope of bringing the holy city to life.
Producers expect the set to last for decades and be used for future church projects as well. To achieve a lasting realism, creators consulted experts at Brigham Young University.