Q: Is the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC the largest Marian shrine in the world?

A: The question of 'largest shrine' is somewhat debatable since shrines do not usually publicize their physical dimensions. Basilica churches, on the other hand, often do publicize their physical sizes. The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC is a basilica church. However, it is not the largest basilica church dedicated to Mary in the world. That honor goes to the basilica church of Our Lady of Peace in Yamousoukro, the capital city of the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

At 525 feet in height it is the world's largest church [including all those not specifically commemorating Mary]! It was built from 1987-1990 at a cost of at least $150 million; and was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in September, 1990.

For more information and images of the shrine see our YQ at: How large is the Basilica Church of Our Lady of Peace?

Sources for more information on this basilica include: "The World's Largest Church" by Hans Massaquoi in Ebony v. 46 #2 [Dec. 1990] pp. 116-22; "Monumental Basilica" in Colonial Homes v. 17 #1 [Feb. 1991] pp. 14-20; and "Ivory Coast's Basilica May Turn into White Elephant" by Peter Hebblethwaite in National Catholic Reporter v. 26 #23 [Mar 30, 1990] p. 8; "Basilique Notre-Dame-De-La-Paix Yamoussoukro Cote d'Ivoire" by Alexander Pietrzyk et. al., Italie:VELAR, 1993.

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