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Visitors blasted for climbing 'Stairway to Heaven' in eastern Taiwan

Visitors seen walking up staircase artwork just to take pictures

"Stairway to Heaven" (Taitung Public Art photo) 

"Stairway to Heaven" (Taitung Public Art photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A staircase installation in eastern Taiwan has been used for an unintended purpose — climbing.

Visitors have been castigated for attempting to clamber up the "Stairway to Heaven" (通往天堂的階梯), a ladder-like art installation put up on a coastal road in the rural township of Dawu in Taitung County.

Measuring 1.56-meters wide and 4.5-m high, the iron structure was created by South African land artist Strijdom van der Merwe and Taiwanese artist Chou Sheng-hsien (周聖賢) for the Nanhui Art Project. The project involves 14 pieces of art that seek to promote the beautiful scenery along the South Link Highway.

"Stairway to Heaven" symbolizes hope, eternity, and dreams, and carries the meaning of “opening up a possibility to another way of life and leading to the unknown,” according to an introduction by Taitung Public Art.

While the installation has attracted many visitors and has become an Instagrammable spot, the behavior of some who were seen to “sit on, climb, or adopt dangerous poses on the staircase” for photos has invited criticism for risking their safety and jeopardizing the integrity of the work, according to UDN.

The Taitung County Cultural Affairs Department has set up warnings against climbing but to limited effect. A netizen commented sarcastically, “They’re getting a step closer to heaven if they go further up.”

Visitors blasted for climbing 'Stairway to Heaven' in eastern Taiwan
"Stairway to Heaven" (Taitung Public Art photo)