History of the Notre Dame D’Afrique in Algiers

Our Lady of Africa Basilica (Basilique Notre Dame d'Afrique)

Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) is a 19th century Roman Catholic Basilica in Algiers, Algeria. The basilica was founded by Charles Lavigerie and was eventually inaugurated in 1872 after 14 years of construction. Its architect, Jean Eugène Fromageau, who had been chosen the chief architect for ecclesiastical buildings in French Algeria in 1859, employed a Neo-Byzantine style. Its floor plan is unique and atypical as the choir is located on the southeast instead of the normal east side of the building.

Basilique Notre Dame d'Afrique
Basilique Notre Dame d’Afrique

The basilica contains 46 stained glass windows installed in the 19th century. They were blown out during a bombing of the area in April 1943 and have been restored twice since the end of World War II. The basilica was also damaged by the 2003 Boumerdes earthquake. A renovation project was initiated in 2003 by Henri Teissier, the the archbishop of Algiers, but the actual development work did not begin until the spring of 2007. The entire project took 3 years to complete.

The Notre Dame d’Afrique is seen by many as a sign 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“, which translate to “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims“.

Visit the Notre Dame d’Afrique in Algiers

Check out some of our popular Algeria tours that include visits to Algiers and many other historical, cultural and religious locations.

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About the author

Joshua Mok is a cultural enthusiast and adventurer who can speak 6 different languages. Joshua currently lives in Tunisia and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. At Mosaic North Africa, Joshua is combining his business marketing expertise with his passion for travel to help others discover and enjoy the cultural and historical beauties of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

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