world map

Ivory Coast

From a model country to the problem state of West Africa

date of entry 23/01/1991
mileage 63,118

capital Yamoussoukro

area 322.461 km²

population 20.152.894

GDP 28.288 M. US-Dollar

official language France

Ivory Coast was for decades the French-speaking role model of the Sub-Saharan Africa. When the Holtorfs visited the country in 1991, its economy was still doing well chiefly from coffee and cocoa production. The modern business centre Abidjan and the capital Yamoussoukro stood out with their contemporary church buildings, and it was largely peaceful. The country has meanwhile been split by a civil war. On his second Africa tour in 2013 Otto made only a brief trip to Ivory Coast.
  • Covering a total area, including outside grounds, of 30,000 square metres, it is twice the size of its Rome model
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  • In 1991 the Holtorfs travelled on minor roads into the former French colony
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  • The roads were poor there, with the bridges often not built for vehicles
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  • Cotton was one of the country’s crops in addition to cocoa and coffee
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  • Traditional fabrics were woven from it by hand
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  • The colourful clothing of West Africans dominated at the markets
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  • Intricately carved and painted masks were also on sale at many markets
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  • In the north of the country signs point to the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso with its extremely long place names. These cities are known colloquially as "Ouaga" and "Bobo"
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  • Plantations had already pushed back the rainforest at that time. The habitats for elephants, after whose tusks the country is named, have virtually disappeared.
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  • Everywhere Otto stopped, the children were, as so often, the first to appear
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  • The ultramodern Cathédrale Saint Paul in Abidjan is a spectacular concrete structure. The roof is supported by steel cables.
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  • In the capital Yamoussoukro stands the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, which was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1990. Modelled on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, it can accommodate up to 18,000 believers under its 158-metre-high roof.
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  • Inside the sun streams in through large windows with colourful motifs of rural life
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  • Video: Ivory Coast – the impact of climate change and the world’s most out-of-place cathedral