Middle-earth might be coming to the UK soon. A new crowdfunding campaign seeks £1.85 billion (about $2.9 billion, AU $3.9 billion) to build a replica of the fictional city of Minas Tirith in the south of England by 2023.
The ambitious project was created by a team of architects and structural engineers who also happen to be major "Lord of the Rings" fans. If successful, they plan to build a real, fully livable city based on Peter Jackson's depictionin his film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel.
Minas Tirith will be a multi-tiered city that features both residential and commercial properties, though the real-life version will have only five tiers, as opposed to the seven in the books and movies. The creators have devised a rating system for properties to make things easier to describe. It's based on tiers, stars and bedrooms, so a 3.4.2 property, for example, would be on the third tier, have a four-star quality rating (out of five) and two bedrooms.
The campaign has multiple tiers for backers. A £3 (about US $5, AU $6) donation gets you a follow from the official Twitter account for the project, £100,000 (about US $155,000, AU $210,000) grants you an official Lordship or Ladyship of the city, and £1,720,000 (about US $2.7 million, AU $3.65 million) grants you a 100-year lease on a four-star penthouse in the city.
Of course, that's only if the project manages to raise the money needed to cover the land, building and ongoing maintenance costs in the next seven weeks. So far, it's raised only about £20,000 toward that goal, so the likelihood of this Minas Tirith coming to be is very small.
Still, Frodo taught us to believe in very small things when he finished his incredible journey by tossing the ring into Mount Doom. So perhaps these Hobbit-loving architects and engineers will figure out a way to bring Minas Tirith to life after all.
Those interested in helping can back the campaign on Indiegogo. The usual crowdfunding cautions apply: Support this project only if you're OK with the chance that your money could go down the drain if the project is funded and doesn't deliver on its promises.