Basilica of Our Lady of Peace

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The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro (French: Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The basilica was constructed between 1985 and 1989 at a cost of $300 million. The design of the dome and encircled plaza are clearly inspired by those of the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican City, although it is not an outright replica. The cornerstone was laid on August 10 1985, and it was consecrated on September 10 1990 by Pope John Paul II.
The basilica is not a cathedral. The nearby Cathedral of Saint Augustine is the principal place of worship and seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Yamoussoukro.

Guinness World Records lists it as the largest church in the world, having surpassed the previous record holder, St. Peter's Basilica, upon completion. It has an area of 30,000 sq metres (322,917 sq ft) and is 158 m (518 ft) high. However, it also includes a rectory and a villa (counted in the overall area), which are not strictly part of the church. It can accommodate 18,000 worshippers, compared to 60,000 for St. Peter's.

While designing it after the Vatican Basilica, Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury constructed the dome to be slightly lower than the Basilica of Saint Peter, but ornamented with a larger cross on top. The finished height is 158 metres (518 ft).[citation needed] The basilica is constructed with marble imported from Italy and is furnished with 7,000 square metres (75,000 sq ft) of contemporary stained glass from France.

Columns are plentiful throughout the basilica but are not uniform in style; the smaller columns are there for structural reasons, while the bigger ones are decoration and contain elevators, rainwater evacuation from the roof and other building mechanical devices. There is enough space to seat 7,000 people in the nave, with standing room for an additional 11,000 people.[citation needed] Apart from the basilica are two identical buildings each serving as rectory and private papal villa, respectively. The villa is reserved for papal visits, of which only one has occurred: when the basilica was consecrated.[citation needed]
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