Ivory Coast Cities and Culture

By | September 23, 2021

St. Peter’s Basilica in the jungle

In 1983, Yamoussoukro was declared the country’s official capital. According to extrareference, the city is the birthplace of the first President of the Ivory Coast Republic, Félix Houphouët-Boigny. He wanted to give the city additional shine in addition to its official function. As a professed Catholic, he therefore had a cathedral built on the model of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which – according to his plan – was to become the largest church in Christendom. After its completion, it should be consecrated and owned by the Pope. The Roman Curia intervened and persuaded the President to downsize the dome and the church.

Between 1986 and 1989 the new cathedral, today the largest church in Africa, was built according to the changed plans under the direction of the architect Pierre Fakhoury, an Ivorian of Lebanese origin. It rises – already visible from afar – with its dome and the cross on it, 158 m high from the surrounding jungle. Italian marble was used as the building material; the glass mosaic windows made in France have a total area of ​​7,000 m 2. In one of the windows you can see Jesus with the twelve disciples, here the President of the Republic has also been depicted as the 13th Apostle.

On September 10, 1990, the last day of his 49th pastoral trip, during which he visited several countries in Africa (Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Ivory Coast), Pope John Paul II consecrated the church to the name “Notre Dame de la Paix” (“Our Lady of Peace”). He had agreed to participate in the consecration on the condition that Houphouët-Boigny had a hospital built next to the church. John Paul II laid the foundation stone for this during his visit.

World Heritage Sites in Ivory Coast

World Heritage Sites (N) and World Heritage Sites (K)

  • Nimbaberge Nature Reserve (N; 1981)
  • Taï National Park (N; 1982)
  • Komoé National Park (N; 1983)
  • Historic town center of Grand-Bassam (K; 2012)


Yamoussoukro [ jamusu kro ], since 1984 capital of the Ivory Coast, located in the central south of the country, with (2014) 212,700 residents.

From 1987–90, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix basilica was built here based on the model of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; it is the largest church in Africa and can accommodate 18,000 people.


Korhogo [k ɔ r ɔ go], city in the north of the Republic of Ivory Coast, (2014) 243 000 residents.

Center of the Senufo savannah area; catholic archbishop’s seat; Museum (wood carvings); Rice mill, sugar factory, cotton ginning; Airport.


Daloa, city ​​in the Republic of Ivory Coast, administrative seat of the Haut-Sassandra region, (2014) 245 400 residents.

Catholic bishopric; Coffee, cocoa and timber trade, food industry.


Bouake [bwa ke, French], Bwake, second largest city of the Republic of Ivory Coast, in the savannah at the railway Abidjan-Ouagadougou and the North-South link road, (2014) 536 700 residents.

Catholic bishopric; University (founded 1996); Cotton ginning, sisal processing, textile industry, cigarette factory, food trade (rice); international Airport.


Abidjan [-d ʒ -], most important port and industrial city of the Republic of Ivory Coast, West Africa, on the Ébrié lagoon in the coastal area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean, (2014) 4.4 million residents.

Abidjan is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop and has had a university since 1964, as well as libraries, theaters and a rich collection of traditional African art in the National Museum. Abidjan owes its rapid upswing to the breakthrough (Canal of Vridi) of the coastal spit (1950) and the expansion of the port to become the leading transshipment point in West Africa, in the vicinity of which a diverse industry settled: chemical, wood, metal, food industry; Steel rolling mill, oil refinery in Vridi. Main export goods: petroleum products, precious woods, stones, fish, bananas, coffee, cocoa, cotton; international airport in Port-Bouët.

Abidjan was founded in 1903 as the starting point of the railway line to Ouagadougou and was the capital of the Ivory Coast Republic from 1934-84 (since then Yamoussoukro).

Grand-Bassam (World Heritage)

The old town of Grand Bassam in front of the lagoon has retained its colonial charm.

Grand-Bassam: facts

Official title: Historic city center of Grand-Bassam
Cultural monument: Port city on the Atlantic, founded by the French in 1843 as a military base and the first capital of the Ivory Coast from 1893 to 1900; historical city center on a promontory as an old colonial town in the French style from the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century with specifically planned quarters for trade, administration; Accommodation with high hygienic standards for Europeans and Africans; distinct colonial architecture with galleries, verandas and gardens; most important French port in West Africa and economic center at the beginning of the last century
Continent: Africa
Country: Ivory Coast
Location: Grand-Bassam, 40 km east of Abidjan
Appointment: 2012
Meaning: Outstanding testimony to the complex social relationships between Europeans and Africans in the colonial era; Extraordinary example of the rational planning of a colonial city in an advanced functional style with high hygienic standards and conscious inclusion of the vegetation

Grand-Bassam (World Heritage)