1 April 2011

Cathedral of Saint Louis in Carthage

Figure 1: Cathedral of Saint Louis in Carthage (front view).

 Figure 2: Cathedral of Saint Louis in Carthage (side view).

Figure 3: Cathedral of Saint Louis in Carthage.

"Saint Louis Cathedral (French: La cathédrale Saint-Louis de Carthage) is an old Roman Catholic cathedral located in Carthage, Tunisia.

Situated on the peak of Byrsa Hill and near the ruins of the ancient Punic and then Roman city, the cathedral is no longer used for worship but hosts concerts of Tunisian music and classical music. The only Roman Catholic cathedral operating in Tunisia is now the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis.

Built between 1884 and 1890, under the French protectorate, the cathedral acquired primacy for all of Africa when the title of primate of Africa was restored for the benefit of Cardinal Lavigerie, titular of the Archdioceses of Algiers and of Carthage, united in his person. The building was consecrated with great pomp in the presence of numerous ecclesiastical dignitaries.

Late 19th century French architecture tended to feature composite styles (as in the case of the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur in Paris, built in a Roman-Byzantine style in the same era). The building, constructed according to the plans of the abbot Pougnet, has a Byzantine-Moorish style, and is in the shape of a Latin cross of 65 meters by 30. The façade is framed by two square towers, the crossing lies beneath a large cupola surrounded by eight little steeples, and there is a smaller cupola above the apse. The church contains a nave and two aisles separated by arches passing above and the ceiling is adorned with beams that have sculpted, painted and gilt arabesques on them. The stained glass also features arabesques. The great bell weighs six tons and there is a four-bell carillon as well."

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