Sunday, 3 August 2008

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire

Félix Houphouët-Boigny is generally regarded as one of Africa’s more enlightened leaders, but he still found the time for a big splurge in his own honour.
The first president of the country formerly known as Ivory Coast, Houphouët-Boigny was born in Yamoussoukro, a tiny Côte d'Ivoire backwater of no significance whatsoever. Against all logic and reasoning, he decided to make it the country’s new capital city.
To make sure it was suitably regal, he started on a series of ambitious building projects, of which the Basilica was the most astonishing. Despite it not even being the city’s cathedral, it is recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest Christian place of worship on earth.
Bigger even than St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Houphouët-Boigny’s pet project covers 30,000 square metres. Constructed almost entirely out of Italian marble and French stained glass, there is room for 18,000 worshippers in the nave.
A closer look inside this giant building will uncover a thirteenth apostle – the president, who died in 1993, commissioned a stained glass window depicting himself to go beside one of Jesus and his disciples.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Interesting facts and figures about the "Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire." When I was there in November 2007, as soon as I paid to enter and was met by a guide, I was informed that I was no longer in Cote d'Ivoire but was now on land that belonged to the Vatican. My comment was that I wish I had brought my passport to have it stamped.

For photos of the basilica, see my blog at I'll put a reference to this blog in mine so poeople wanting more facts and figures can come here.

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