Most religious structures in Africa are great sources of enthrallment. Religion has most often been at the center of some of the greatest architectural works evident in their magnificent structures and well-conceived designs. These structures generally evolved over time and were the largest buildings in the world which later became reference centers like the recently burnt Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
Prior to the fire incident which ravaged a greater part of the building in April 2019, it was considered to be one of the finest of French Gothic architecture and one of the most recognized symbols of Paris. It also stood as the most visited monument in Paris and one of the most famous churches, welcoming approximately 12 million visitors annually.
Africa is not void of these marvelous structures; Ivory Coast is host to tallest Roman Catholic Church in the world in the world. Here are some of the iconic and biggest religious edifices in the continent.
- Basilica of Our Lady of Peace – Ivory Coast Our
The Lady of Peace Basilica located in Yamoussoukro is recognized as the World’s tallest Catholic building. The Guinness World Records listed the church as the largest Christian religious building in the world with an area of 30,000 square meters and is 158 meters high. With a design inspired by the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican City, the church can host up to 200,000 worshippers.
- Nizamiye Mosque – South Africa
The Nizamiye Mosque, known to be the biggest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere is situated in the city of Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. It constitutes a dome of 31m high and 24m wide that is covered in 48 tons of lead and can accommodate close to 6,000 people. The church is also host to some other facilities such as a school that takes 800 pupils, a clinic, and, conference rooms.
- Great Mosque of Djenné – Mali
The Great Mosque of Djenné is considered the most prominent symbol of the city of Djenné and Mali as a whole and it today stands as one of Africa’s most eminent religious monuments. The mosque which was constructed from sun-dried mud bricks coated with clay was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mosque measures about 75 m × 75 raised by 3 meters above the level of the marketplace. The structure is one of the most famous landmarks in Africa.
- Cathedral of the Nativity – Egypt
The Cathedral of the Nativity located in Cairo is the largest cathedral for Orthodox Christians in the Middle East with a capacity of 9,000 people. The design of the cathedral is inspired by Noah’s Ark in accordance with Coptic tradition and covers 7,500 square meters of land. It also houses other services like the papal headquarters, reception hall, meeting room and, administrative offices.
- Hassan II Mosque – Morocco
The Hassan II Mosque located in Casablanca is the largest mosque in Africa and the fifth largest mosque in the world. The mosque consists of a 210m-tall minaret which serves as the city’s major landmark. Covering over 22 acres of land, the mosque can accommodate close to 105,000 worshippers.
The church and other religious infrastructure have since been among the most impressive buildings in the community or area they are built. Most of them built in the ancient period like the Notre Dame Cathedral in France became centers of great attraction and tourist destination.
Article from AFRIC editorial.
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