This Little-Known African Basilica Is the Largest Church in the World

Felix Krohn, Wikipedia / jbdodane, Flickr / ChurchPOP

What’s the largest church in the world?

Not in North or South America, or even Europe.

Depending on what you mean by “largest,” the answer, amazingly, is a relatively unknown church in the small African country of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

[See also: 19 Haunting Photos of Abandoned Churches Around the World]

[See also: QUIZ: Can You Match These Liturgical Latin Phrases With Their Meanings?]

Behold, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire (click to enlarge):

Felix Krohn, Wikipedia
Felix Krohn, Wikipedia

And here’s a view of its beautiful interior (more pictures at the end of the article!):

jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr

Yamoussoukro is the administrative capital of Côte d’Ivoire, a west African country with a population of just around 24 million people. Around a third of the population of the country practices traditional African religions, a third is Muslim, and the remaining third is Christian, mostly Catholic.

That means the whole country only has a few million Catholics, at most. Nonetheless, in the late 1980s, at a cost of a whopping $300 million, the massive Basilica of Our Lady of Peace was built.

And the footprint of the new church ended up coming to around 30,000 m^2. That’s substantially larger than the next largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which has a footprint of around 21,000 m^2. The Basilica is also the tallest Roman Catholic church in the world at 518 ft/158 m, and the second tallest Christian church in the world (second only by 12 ft/3.5 m!).

Of course, with rankings of this sort, it gets a bit more complicated when you get into the details. So here are a few caveats:

First of all, the building includes a rectory and a villa, which are normally separate from a church.

Second, even though the overall footprint of the church is larger, the interior is smaller than St. Peter’s Basilica: it can accommodate up to around 18,000 attendees, compared to St. Peter’s 60,000. Unfortunately, despite it’s size and cost, most services at the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace are only attended by a few hundred people.

A note about that $300 million price tag…

Côte d’Ivoire brought in huge amounts of money in the 1980s exporting cocoa and other products. The president Félix Houphouët-Boigny spent money on a wide range of projects, from hotels and convention centers to a massive new palace for himself, replete with a crocodile inhabited moat. He was also inspired to build a large church in his hometown of Yamoussoukro, a relatively small city (this explains why there’s not much around the Basilica).

The large price-tag for the Basilica was highly controversial at the time given the country’s poverty, particularly when world commodity prices plummeted in the late ’80s during the church’s construction. Financing the church ultimately doubled the country’s debt.

Controversies over the cost made Pope St. John Paul II hesitant to travel to Côte d’Ivoire to consecrate the church, but he eventually agreed to do so after the government said it would build a new hospital nearby. As of 2015, however, the hospital has not been finished.

You may be thinking: if this is the basilica, then what’s the cathedral of the diocese like?

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is just that – a basilica. Despite the size and high cost, it’s not even the cathedral of the diocese. That honor is held by the Cathedral of St. Augustine.

Here’s what the Cathedral of St. Augustine looks like:

Zenman, Wikipedia
Zenman, Wikipedia

Not quite as impressive, huh?

Here are more photos of the Basilica (click to enlarge):

jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
jbdodane, Flickr
Thibault Houspic, Flickr
Thibault Houspic, Flickr

[See also: 10 Reasons Some Women Are Wearing Veils in Church Again]

[See also: Burned by the Hands of Souls in Purgatory: A Museum’s Rare Collection]




  1. I’m so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

  2. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting an identical rss drawback? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  3. You’re totally correct, I would really enjoy to discover more information on that issue! I am as well interested by upvc back doors because I believe it is very unique right now. Thanks.

  4. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  5. My partner and I totally adore your site and find most of your posts to be just what I’m interested in. Do you offer people to create content material for you? I would not mind creating a story about Arvind Pandit Kansas or perhaps on many of the subjects you’re posting about on this page. Awesome place!

  6. Thanks for discussing this info, I saved this page. I am also seeking data around get apk download, are you aware where I might discover a thing like this? I’ll be back in a little while!

  7. Thanks a lot for sharing this, I bookmarked this webpage. I am also in search of facts around unique iPhone cases, do you know exactly where I might come across one thing such as that? I will come back very soon!

  8. Good day very nice web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am glad to seek out a lot of helpful information here within the publish, we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  9. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  10. I’m really interested to learn which site system you have been using? I am having a few slight protection difficulties with the latest site about personal injury compensation and I would love to find something much more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

  11. Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and in-depth details you provide. It really is great to discover a blogging site now and then which isn’t the similar expired re-written stuff. Excellent read! I have saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my how to buy ethereum website.

  12. Hello there! This is my very first reply on your site so I really wanted to give a fast shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you suggest any other sites which cover ride on mowers for sale? I am also pretty hooked on this! Thanks a ton!

  13. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

Leave a Reply