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Tree cathedral grows in Italy

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BERGAMO, Italy, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The world's first tree cathedral has taken root in a forest near Bergamo in northern Italy, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The work, designed by Italian environment artist Giuliano Mauri, who died in 2009, was completed as one of the projects marking the International Year of Biodiversity, ANSA reported Wednesday.

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Situated at an altitude of 4,412 feet on the slopes of the Arera mountain, the cathedral is 93.4 feet long, nearly 79 feet wide with a height varying from 16 feet to nearly 69 feet.

The church has five aisles and 42 columns constructed of fir poles, and hazel and chestnut branches joined by wood, nails and string, the news agency said.

Nature will complete the work as 43 beech trees will grow inside the cathedral, ANSA said.

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