Located in the heart of Yamoussoukro, Our Lady of Peace is the world biggest basilica ever existed. The basilica was the idea of the late president Félix Houphouet-Boigny, who was a devoted Catholic. The building was created in 1989.
This mega-project of president Houphouet was estimated to more than 122 million euros (approximately 6% of the country’s national budget), causing a lot of speculations and critics from the population. President Houphouet then tried to calm the public opinion by assuring that the project is fully financed through his personal wealth.
The idea of Houphouet to have a magnificent and giant religious building in the heart of his hometown Yamoussoukro was brought into reality by Pierre Fakhoury, a well-known Lebanese/Ivorian architect.
Our Lady of Peace is the name attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic Church. She is always represented in art, holding an olive branch and a dove, as a symbol of peace.
Today, the building still stands tall in the city of Yamoussoukro. It is a worship place where Sunday services, weddings, and many other events are celebrated. The basilica is also a tourist site, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
© Photos by Jean Gildas Tapsoba.