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The Basilica of Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, or Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro, is the largest and tallest place of worship in Africa. Situated in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Cτte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the basilica was constructed between 1985 and 1989 for a cost of USD $300 million and intentionally modeled after the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. The cornerstone was laid on August 10, 1985, and was consecrated on September 10, 1990, by Pope John Paul II.
Contrary to popular belief, this particular basilica is not a cathedral church. The nearby Cathedral of Saint Augustin is the principal place of worship and seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Yamoussoukro.
The Guinness Book of Records lists it as the largest church in the world, having surpassed the previous recordholder, St. Peter's Basilica, upon completion. It has a total surface of 30,000 m².


Architecture


The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro was built as a memorial to Cτte d'Ivoire President Fιlix Houphouλt-Boigny, the principal planner of the project.
While designed after the principal church of Catholicism, architect Pierre Fakhoury constructed the dome to be slightly lower than the Basilica of Saint Peter but is ornamented with a larger cross on top. The finished height is 158 meters (518 feet). The basilica is constructed with marble imported from Italy and is furnished with 7000 square meters of contemporary stained glass from France. Columns are plentiful throughout the basilica but are not uniform in style. There is enough space to seat 7,000 people in the nave with standing room for an additional 11,000 people. Apart from the basilica are two identical buildings each serving as rectory and private papal villa, respectively. The villa is reserved for papal visits which has only occurred once.
The basilica was met with some controversy globally when construction began. The lavishly built basilica sits in the middle of the African bush in an impoverished city where only a minority of homes have running water and adequate sanitation. The cost of the basilica doubled the national debt of Cτte d'Ivoire. But many of the country's Catholics are proud of the memorial.

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Additional Photos by Mahmud Mawla Don (mmdon573) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 50 W: 53 N: 60] (512)
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