Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire
The purpose built capital of the Côte d’Ivoire, Yamoussoukro is in the centre of the country. The birthplace of President Houphouët-Boigny (1960–93), the town replaced the coastal city Abidjan as capital in 1983.
Yamoussoukro originated as a small village in the Baoulé region. In 1960 the leader of the Parti Démocratique, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, became president of newly independent Côte d’Ivoire. With the government based there, Yamoussoukro served as the country’s unofficial capital for the next 20 years. Houphouët-Boigny ordered large scale building including roads, hotels, educational institutions and the largest church in the world. Costing US$150 m. and built between 1986–89, the Basilica was styled on St Peters in Rome. Landscaping included the construction of manmade lakes and a planted forest. In 1983 Yamoussoukro replaced Abidjan as national capital.
Yamoussoukro is the country’s administrative and transportation centre although Abidjan remains largest city. The principal industries are perfume and fishing, while the National Institute of Higher Technical Training is among several educational institutions. The city is served by a domestic airport and is linked by road to Abidjan.
Places of Interest
With its 150 m dome, the Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro Basilica, made from marble and precious wood, can hold 18,000. Also built from wood and marble is the Houphouët-Boigny Foundation, which has an adjoining gardens and a marble approach.