The Ivory Coast has a number of interesting attractions available for sightseeing. Abidjan itself has the Parc du Banco on the outskirts of the city, where visitors can experience the rainforest's flora and fauna. Inside Abidjan city is the Hotel Ivoire, which is a glamourous place to stay. St Paul's Cathedral is another site within the city of Abidjan worth a visit for sightseeing tourists.Farther afield visitors can see the capital city (by name only) of Yamoussoukro, which is famous for multiple-laned highways leading straight into the jungle, or city streets and blocks all laid out, but with no houses or structures lining the streets. Yamoussoukro is also famous for the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro (Basilica Notre Dame), which is a replica of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The town of Man is also well-known for its fabric and the traditional masks on sale, as well as for its surrounding waterfalls and beautiful natural scenery.
Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Ivory Coast, however this seems to be only by name. The city is a five-hour drive from Abidjan and appears to be one of Africa's strangest capital cities. Paved streets and street lamps were built in preparation for the buzzing metropolis Yamoussoukro was supposed to be; however this development never came to pass, and so now streets exist with little to nothing between them.The city's main attraction is the unforgettable Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro (Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Paix or Basilica Notre Dame). Larger than St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Yamoussoukro's basilica is the largest Christian church in the world. It was modelled after the Vatican's St. Peter's, and even though the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace seats slightly less people than St. Peter's, it has a taller dome and a larger surface area.The stained glass windows are also exceptionally beautiful - and, in fact, the cathedral boasts more stained glass than all the churches of France put together. The Basilica Notre Dame was consecrated by Pope John Paul II.
Man is a small town situated to the west of the central region of Ivory Coast. The town is known as the best area to buy the famous Yacouba masks, as well as beautiful traditional fabrics. Man is part of Dix-Huit Montagnes Region and is an important market town lying between mountains including Mount Toura and Mount Tonkoui, the two highest in the nation, and La Dent de Man, popular with hikers.Mount Tonikoui towers over the town at 4,000 feet (1,220m) and is quite a challenge for avid climbers. There are also a number of rivers and waterfalls, such as La Cascade which is set in a bamboo forest close to the outskirts of the town.
Designed by Italian architect Aldo Spirito, and covering a massive 14,625 square feet (4,500m square), this cathedral is Africa's second-largest church building and can seat more than 3,500 people. In a beautiful opening ceremony, Pope John Paul II inaugurated the cathedral in August 1985. The tower itself is said to be a figure of St Paul, while the buildings behind the tower represent his robes.The interior of the cathedral includes a number of beautiful stained-glass tableaux. The building also offers spectacular views of the city that tourists can enjoy.
The Parc National de Tai (Tai National Park) is undoubtedly the most staggering natural attraction that the Ivory Coast has to offer. One of the last remaining areas of virgin rainforest in the whole of Africa, the Park was inscribed in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites as far back as 1982. The spectacular primary forests, filled with trees that reach up to 150 feet (46m), blocking out the sunlight, and allowing for a dark, dank, and dense undergrowth to flourish.This is also home to no less than five species of mammal included in the 'red list' on endangered animals: pygmy hippopotamuses, Olive Colobus monkeys, leopards, chimpanzees and Jentink's Duikers. Visitors to the park require a permit from the Ministry of Tourism in Abidjan, and can stay in the nearby village of Tai.
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