History of the Notre Dame D’Afrique in Algiers

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

The Notre Dame d’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa) is a 19th-century Roman Catholic Basilica in Algiers, Algeria.

A Brief History

Basilique Notre Dame d'Afrique

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 as 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.

Inside the Notre Dame d’Afrique

Inside the Notre dame d'Afrique
Inside the 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 archbishop of Algiers, but the actual development work did not begin until the spring of 2007. The entire project took 3 years to complete.

A Sign of Religious Tolerance

The Notre Dame d’Afrique is seen by many as a sign of religious tolerance in a country that 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 translates to “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims“.

Notre Dame D'afrique Painting
“Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims”.

Visit the Notre Dame d’Afrique in Algiers

A visit to this Our Lady of Africa basilica is a must while traveling in the Algiers capital of Algeria. The easiest way to visit this Catholic basilica is with Mosaic North Africa on one of our popular Algeria tours. Our Algeria tours include visits to Algiers and many other historical, cultural, and religious locations.

Remember that all of our Algeria tours can be customized to meet your travel preferences. Contact one of our Algeria travel experts today if you have any questions or would like to begin planning your Algeria tour adventure.

About the author

Joshua Mok has been living in Tunisia since 2016. He has traveled extensively throughout the country, and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. It is his passion to introduce to others some of the best destinations in North Africa that he has experienced.

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