Basilica of Our Lady of Peace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Basilica in Ivory Coast. For the one in Hawaii, see Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. For other uses, see Our Lady of Peace (disambiguation).
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix
Notre dame de la paix yamoussoukro by felix krohn.jpg
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro
Basic information
Location Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire
Geographic coordinates 6°48′40″N 5°17′47″W / 6.81111°N 5.29639°W / 6.81111; -5.29639Coordinates: 6°48′40″N 5°17′47″W / 6.81111°N 5.29639°W / 6.81111; -5.29639
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Year consecrated 1990
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica
Website Official Website
Architectural description
Architect(s) Pierre Fakhoury
Architectural type Church
Direction of façade NE
Completed 1990
Construction cost US$300m
Capacity 18,000
Length 195 metres (640 ft)
Width 150 metres (490 ft)
Width (nave) 55 metres (180 ft)
Height (max) 158 metres (518 ft)
Dome dia. (outer) 90 metres (300 ft)[1]
Materials marble

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace (French: Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix) is a Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The basilica was constructed between 1985 and 1989 at a cost of US$300 million.[2] The design of the dome and encircled plaza are clearly inspired by[3] those of the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican City, although it is not an outright replica.[4] The cornerstone was laid on 10 August 1985, and it was consecrated on 10 September 1990 by Pope John Paul II.[5]

The basilica is not a cathedral. The nearby Cathedral of Saint Augustine is the principal place of worship and seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Yamoussoukro.[6]

Guinness World Records lists it as the largest "church" in the world, having surpassed the previous record holder, St. Peter's Basilica, upon completion. It has an area of 30,000 square metres (322,917 sq ft)[7] and is 158 m (518 ft) high.[8] However, it also includes a rectory and a villa (counted in the overall area), which are not strictly part of the church. It can accommodate 18,000 worshippers, compared to 60,000 for St. Peter's.[9] Less than a third of Côte d'Ivoire's population are Christian, and most services conducted at the basilica are attended by only a few hundred people.[10]

The Basilica is administered by Polish Pallottines.


The structure was criticized due to the comparison between the lavish building and the impoverished surroundings in 1995

While designing it after the Vatican Basilica, Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury constructed the dome to be slightly lower than the Basilica of Saint Peter, but ornamented with a larger cross on top. The finished height is 158 metres (518 ft).[citation needed] The basilica is constructed with marble imported from Italy and is furnished with 7,000 square metres (75,000 sq ft) of contemporary stained glass from France.

Columns are plentiful throughout the basilica but are not uniform in style; the smaller columns are there for structural reasons, while the bigger ones are decorative and contain elevators, rainwater evacuation from the roof and other building mechanical devices. There is enough space to seat 7,000 people in the nave, with standing room for an additional 11,000 people.[citation needed] Apart from the basilica are two identical villas. One of the villas accommodates the clergymen who operate the basilica. A room in the other villa is reserved for papal visits, of which only one has occurred: when the basilica was consecrated.[11]


The Basilica was built by Dumez, the French construction company.[12]

The cost of the basilica was met with some controversy globally when construction began, especially as the Côte d'Ivoire was going through an economic and fiscal crisis at the time.[13] Pope John Paul II agreed to consecrate the basilica on the condition that a hospital also be built nearby. However, the hospital was not completed.[10]

The final cost of the Basilica doubled Côte d'Ivoire's national debt.[10]


Côte d'Ivoire President Félix Houphouët-Boigny chose his birthplace of Yamoussoukro to be the future site of the new capital city of his country in 1983. As part of the plan of the city, the president wanted to memorialize himself with the construction of what he called the greatest church in the world.[citation needed] He is even pictured beside Jesus in one stained-glass panel.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ List of largest church buildings in the world, fr:Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro
  2. ^ "Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, Ivory Coast". Travel. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  3. ^ Ostling, Richard N.; James Wilde (3 July 1989). "The Basilica in the Bush". Time. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Massaquoi, Hans J. (December 1990). "An African's gift to the Vatican: the world's largest church – Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Co.). Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Pope John Paul II (10 September 1990). "Dédicace de La Basilique de "Notre-Dame de La Paix"" (in French). Holy See. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "Diocese of Odienné, Cote d'Ivoire". GCatholic. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Strochlic, Nina (2014-01-30). "The Largest Church in the World Has The Fewest Worshippers". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  8. ^ "The biggest, longest, tallest...". The Guardian. 17 July 2004. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "Our Lady of Peace Basilica, Yamoussoukro". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c Mark, Monica (15 May 2015). "Yamoussoukro's Notre-Dame de la Paix, the world's largest basilica - a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 37". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  11. ^ Rice, Xan (23 October 2008). "The president, his church and the crocodiles". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Basilique Notre Dame de la Paix à Yamoussoukro". History of the VINCI Group. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  13. ^ Brooke, James (19 December 1988). "Ivory Coast Church to Tower Over St. Peter's". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Côte d'Ivoire's capital: Better late than never: Africa’s largest and most grandiose church gets a new neighbour", The Economist, dated 16 June 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]