Notre Dame d’Afrique, Algiers, Religion, Algeria

Located on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Algiers in Algeria's capital city, the Notre Dame d'Afrique is a 19th century Roman Catholic Church. As the basilica of Algiers, the Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) was designed by Jean Eugene Fromageau, the chief architect for ecclesiastical buildings during French colonial rule. It took fourteen years to complete the basilica and it was inaugurated in 1872.

The basilica is a combination of Roman and Byzantine elements, which was popular in France at the time. The exterior of this impressive structure is dominated by the large silver dome extending upward with a cross on top and smaller half-domes below. A frieze of blue and white mosaic runs right around the building just above the half domes, offsetting the sandstone walls. Smaller domed turrets sit above colonnades around the building and the square bell-tower is also topped with a dome and cross. The arched entranceway to the basilica is topped with three domes. The interior of the building is richly adorned with religious paintings, arches, columns, mosaic work and stained glass windows.

The Notre Dame d’Afrique is seen by many as a symbol of religious tolerance in a country which is predominantly Muslim. The inscription on the curved wall behind the altar has the words, “Notre Dame d’Afrique priez pour nous et pour les Musulmans”, meaning “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims”.

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