Last summer, while I was on a business trip/holiday in Côte d'Ivoire, I went to Yamoussoukro to visit my mother with two girl-friends. It was the day before the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary so we decided to add a trip to the Basilica of our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro to our itinerary. 

Yamoussoukro 

Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Côte d’Ivoire is 2h30 minutes drive from Abidjan. Upon arrival, we went to my mother's house to great her and freshen up before we hit the town. 
First, we went to a local restaurant called Le Maquis Campement Yakro in Kami a suburb of Yamoussoukro. Le Maquis Campement belongs to a very good friend of mine, Ms. Geneviève Kanga who invited us to taste the local and traditional foods. We were there for nearly 2 hours and we had a feast. We ate braised chicken labeled "Poulet tracé", their specialty, pounded plantain with Turkey berry sauce, in French, sauce Gnangnan and rice with white catfish sauce. We left Le Maquis Campement Yakro extremely full with the promise to come back before we leave Cote d'Ivoire because the food is to die for!! 

Bascilica our Lady of Peace 

We then arrive at the Basilica our Lady of Peace, the world largest church sometimes labelled "basilica in the bush" because of its location and is the replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. 
We met our guide Mr Soumahoro who is an English teacher in one of the Lycée (secondary school) of the town. He gave us the following information: the basilica was built between July 1986 and September 1989, 1,100 workers cleared 178 acres of coconut grove, coated the space with 13 football fields worth of European marble, and erected a 520-foot-tall structure, supported by 128 towering Doric columns, that can accommodate 18,000 worshippers. Inside are 24 stained-glass windows. The organ can reach volumes that can cause permanent hearing loss. The building is estimated to weigh 98,000 metric tons. 
There is a statue of Our Lady holding baby Jesus that was carved by a prisoner. When you look at it from afar, Our Lady looks sad but when you move closer you can see her smile, it is MAGNIFIQUE!!! 
We went up to the dome where the murals are images of the Saints and the dove representing the Holy Spirit in the dome. 
At the end of the tour, we were fortunate to meet the Rector of the basilica, Fr Franck Sylvestre Allatin in the rectory. Fr Franck is the first Ivorian rector of the basilica. We spent about 45 minutes with him talking about the consecration day of the basilica. We talked about where we were and what we did on that day. 
 
My overnight stay in Yamoussoukro, where I happily grew up was a wonderful one; I can't help to add as usual not only because Yamoussoukro has a peaceful atmosphere but because of the time spent in the basilica with Our Lady of Peace. 
One cannot go to the Ivory Coast and not pay a visit to Our Lady of Peace. We cannot guarantee that you will meet Fr Franck Allatin but you will definitely meet Our Lady of Peace; in fact, she is waiting to show her smiling face!!!! 
 
If you are interested in a tour of parts of West Africa, specifically designed for you taking in the breathtaking Bascilica Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, then please contact us for more details and make the dream holiday of a livetime come true. 
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