Felix Houphouet-Boigny | The Basilica and the Sacred Crocodiles
The late President Felix Houphouet-Boigny was the first President of Ivory Coast and he served for more than three decades (33 years) till he passed on. Read more about his reign here and here
Before his death, he chose his birthplace of Yamoussoukro to be the future site of the new capital city of his country in 1983. As part of the plan of the city, the president wanted to memorialize himself with the construction of what he called the greatest church in the world - so the media says. I personally think this was an offering to God for the peace the country experienced during his reign as President.
Anyways, due to the location of the Basilica, it was dubbed by the media as "Basilica in the Bush". I visited the place and sincerely think it is located in the middle of nowhere. (Read here) and see my picture below.
Félix believed that the Basilica would become a pilgrimage site for African Catholics and it took only 3-4 years to finish the construction of the Basilica. This gulped about circa US$300M. Okay guys, let's forget the "is it worth the cost" question for a moment. This edifice was built in such a short time. No better way to be reminded that great things can be accomplished in a short time if the 'willingness to do' is there.
This is a must visit whenever you are in Yamoussoukro. The crocodiles are a major attraction especially at feeding time
Picture 1 below: This is the former President's house, Presido Felix.
Picture 2 below: Do you sight anything in the artificial lake in Picture 2 below?! Yup, Crocodiles. The house is guarded by crocodiles called the presidential crocodiles. Each of the crocs are named.
The artificial lake was built by the President, around the presidential palace in the early 1980s. He wanted the lake to be filled with massive crocodiles as the animals were considered sacred by his ethnic group - the Baoule. Sincerely, I have never seen as much crocodiles in one country like in Cote d'ivoire.
I fell in love with the 'Vatican in Cote d'ivoire'. The tranquillity and peace I felt as I walked through the gates was unreal. If nothing else, Late Felix succeeded in turning his ancestral home into what is now dubbed the "Versailles of Africa".
Thanks for reading and please do share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. Till my next adventure. Be kind.