Featured Image Source: Felix Krohn, Under Creative Commons, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Notre_dame_de_la_paix_yamoussoukro_by_felix_krohn.jpg
The largest church in the world is not in Europe, or in South America but in Africa. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is the largest Church in the world. Built in the outskirts of Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast has the capacity to hold a whopping 18,000 believers. The Church is the largest in terms of footprint (30,000 m²) through the inside is small. The St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome has the capacity to hold 60,000 people. Never the less it is an amazing feat of engineering.
Built to look like the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is has many similar features and material types. The two large extruding arms and the bluish roof definitely put one in mind of the Vatican. Built by Félix Houphouët-Boigny the first president of the then newly independent country he set out to build something that would cement his legacy.
The project was led by architect Pierre Fakhoury and employed 1,500 workers for three years. The project cost millions and the Vatican wasn’t too happy either and asked that the building should not be higher than the original building in Rome to which the architect agreed.
The building like all great landmarks was decisive especially in a country with a relatively small Catholic population. Many people saw it as a white elephant that cost too much that could have been better used in improving the country with more schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. Other see it as a testimony to God so that he can bless the country.
The sad thing is that the church rarely sees more than a few hundred visitors to the church though it is slowly becoming a tourist attraction. The hope is that these tourists can help to improve the country at large with jobs and money.