Religion: The Basilica in the Bush

The biggest church in Christendom arises in the Ivory Coast

Seen from miles away, it looks like a giant pearl-gray dirigible hovering over the African bush. Up close, its true shape emerges: a sandy-beige concrete behemoth topped by a gargantuan dome and a copper cross that gleams in the relentless sun. Equally remarkable, the great basilica is built in post-Renaissance style and has two long arms formed by 128 massive Doric columns that reach out from the porch to envelop a 7.4-acre plaza paved with granite and marble. Has St. Peter's Basilica been magically transported from Rome to the heart of Africa? No, this is the Basilica of Our Lady of...

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