St. Paul's Cathedral
Built to match the style and culture of the ethnic population of Côte d'Ivoire, this unique and modern piece of architecture is unlike any other and is the second largest cathedral in Africa.
Designed by renowned architect Aldo Spirito, St. Paul's Cathedral is a unique monument that serves as the mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Abidjan. Its construction was completed in 1985 and since then it has been a major attraction of Abidjan in addition to being a house of worship. People marvel at the unique, futuristic structure and the sheer size of the cross-shaped tower. The structure and design The concrete cross is anchored to the main cathedral using seven cables and the elevation makes it seem like the structure is being pulled towards the lagoon. The exterior of the cathedral has colorful ceramic panels telling the story of Christ. The panels showcase the story sequentially on the wall beside the steps leading from the lagoon to the cathedral.
Inside the cathedral
With an area of 4,000 square meters, the cathedral can easily accommodate up to 5,000 people. This cathedral is known for its six stained-glass windows covering a surface area of 370 meters. The interior is also embellished with other large paintings and twelve panels of ceramics that add to the grandeur and magnificence of the cathedral. The artistic imagery brings to life the faith of the locals.
Stained glass windows
The cathedral has six stained glass windows, which were also designed by Aldo Spirito. The beauty of these panels is that they weave the magic of the land, its people, landscape, and animals into the biblical stories it tells. Structurally, these windows are built to withstand strong wind pressure. These beautiful windows fill the interior of the cathedral with soft colored light giving it a heavenly aura that will impress even non-believers.
For a unique experience, climb the tower to the balconies in the outstretched arms of the cross. After climbing more than 200 steps, you are rewarded with sweeping views of Abidjan nestled in the lagoons, colorful houses dotting the cityscape, and the beautiful Bay of Cocody.
In recent times, the cathedral has offered refuge to nearly 2,000 people of all faiths during the country's post-electoral violence of 2010-11. The cathedral is a must visit if you are in the area. Admission to the cathedral is free.