Largest Church in the World – Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro
If we are looking for the largest church in the world, most of us tend to immediately point fingers at St. Peters in Vatican. Though this is a likely guess, there are many gigantic churches in South America, Mexico, Washington DC and New York that seem to out beat Vatican in terms of size.
Interestingly, the largest church in the world is in Ivory Coast’s Yamoussoukro. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace located in the impoverished West African country was built by an eccentric president in the late 1980s.
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace – Largest Church in the World
Spread over an impressive area of 30,000 square meters, this church is 518 feet high. On its premises, you will find a villa and a rectory. This church can accommodate about 18,000 worshipers. The Polish Pallottines administer this Basilica.
Not actually a cathedral, Our Lady of Peace Basilica is also not the main place of worship in this city. The Cathedral of Saint Augustine located near this church is the Diocese of Yamoussoukro bishop’s seat and the principal place of worship.
The church has a huge courtyard and resembles St. Peter’s. The courtyard was opened by the Pope in 1990 and this amazingly large church can be seen from miles away. Till the town was declared by the then president as the new capital, Yamoussoukro was a tiny village with less than 200 populations. The capital was later shifted back to Abidjan’s largest city. Though the boulevards with the many lanes reminds you of Paris there is minimal or no traffic.
The basilica has a massive dome with massive stained glass designs. This dome is even larger than St. Peters. The only building constructed to this massive scale in the area is the Presidential Palace which is the former president’s burial site today. Though not open to the public, this palace can be viewed from outside by walking along its perimeter. Apart from the human guards, you will find a lot of crocodiles that are fed every afternoon in a flamboyant manner.
The basilica church offers an uplifting experience for those attending the service. The service is delivered in French apart from a few local dialects. It normally goes on for about two hours with amazingly colorful outfits worn by African women and the superb evangelical singing. These aspects make up for the obvious lack of numbers.
The interior is well lit by the sun that exquisitely dazzles the stained glass. This vibrantly colorful church is by far the largest in the world and a must-visit tourist destination.