Located in Yamoussoukro is the capital city of Côte d’Ivoire, in West Africa, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is an architectural marvel that fuses together renaissance revival and baroque revival church architectural styles. With an area of 30,000 square metres (320,000 sq ft), and capacity to hold 18,000 people, the Guinness World Records calls Basilica of Our Lady of Peace the largest church in the world. The basilica is an iconic Yamoussoukro sightseeing and has made huge impacts with tourism in Ivory Coast, one of the most visited countries in Africa.
Constructed between 1985 and 1989 with different cost estimates given by various groups. Some stated that the construction cost ranged between US$175-600 million. The designs of the dome and encircled plaza are clearly inspired by the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City with a dome surmounting a colonnade that is in the form of a Latin cross. The basilica is fronted by a large plaza encircled by two more colonnades. The 272 Doric columns that support the colonnades are made of cement and rise as high as 101 feet (31 metres). The basilica’s gigantic dome dwarfs that of St. Peter’s and rises to a height of 489 feet (149 metres). The basilica has the capacity to hold 18,000 worshippers, while the esplanade can accommodate a crowd of 300,000.
History of The Bassilica of Our Lady Of Peace, Yamoussoukro
Côte d’Ivoire president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny chose his birthplace of Yamoussoukro as the new capital of his country in 1983. As part of the plan for the city, the president wished to memorialize himself with the construction of what would be the “greatest church in the world.” The president commissioned a stained glass window of his image to be placed beside a gallery of stained glass of Jesus and the apostles.
The basilica has aroused much international controversy, for the lavish building glittering with Italian marble sitting in the middle of an impoverished African city where only a minority of homes have running water and adequate sanitation, and the cost of the basilica doubled the national debt of Côte d’Ivoire. Despite this, many of the country’s Catholics are proud of their monument. The basilica is administered by Polish Pallottines at a cost of US$1.5 million annually.