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7 Places in Abidjan that Football Fans can visit during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals

The most prominent football competition held in Africa is the African Cup of Nations, or AFCON as it is commonly called. Ivory Coast, the host nation for the 34th African Cup of Nations (AFCON), is giddy with excitement at the moment. This is most noticeable in its commercial capital, Abidjan, which is the hub of Francophone Africa’s economy.

The completion of the Vridi Canal in 1951 enabled Abidjan to become an important seaport. Abidjan remained the capital of the Ivory Coast after its independence from France in 1960. In 1983, the city of Yamoussoukro was designated as the official political capital of Ivory Coast. Abobo, Adjamé, Attécoubé, Cocody, Le Plateau, Yopougon, Treichville, Koumassi, Marcory and Port-Bouët are the ten (10) communes that formed the former City of Abidjan (422 km2), now included in the larger Autonomous District of Abidjan (2119 km2).

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast is highlighted by six unique stadiums, each with its own distinct characteristics and contributions to the country’s sports infrastructure. Abidjan, nicknamed the “Manhattan of the tropics” is home to stadiums including Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium and the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium, commonly known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé and formerly as the National Stadium of the Ivory Coast. But where in Abidjan can tourists go besides stadiums? However, Abidjan is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:

Le Plateau

Favoured particularly by business travellers, Le Plateau (The Plateau) is a district of Abidjan with a number of shops and parks. In the French language, it refers to the city. There is some very beautiful modern building structures. Some look like they will fall any time. The regional development bank, Africa Development Bank is housed here, not far from the Saint Paul Cathedral. It’s trees in some sections. The library is also not very far from these two places.

The Plateau, is one of West Africa’s most interesting urban environments. Although it is aging and many buildings are now showing signs of decay, renovations are going on, and the city is seeing a renaissance in some places. Absolutely unique in West Africa, Le Plateau shows signs of very tasteful design from many years ago, that is still surviving and optimistic for the future. Very convenient to stay, some good hotels, most of offices, banks, restaurants are in the neighbourhood.

Banco National Park

Found in the heart of the city of Abidjan, the Banco National Park or Parc du Banco was created in 1953 and covers a surface area of about 3000 hectares. Once a small fishing village, it is now a vibrant metropolis with more than 5 million residents. Banco National Park, a sprawling green space is surrounded on all sides by the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The park serves primarily as a recreational center for the inhabitants of Abidjan. The inconspicuous entrance to the park, just off the highway, does not give away what you will find past the gates. Around 5 minutes into the walk, you will be completely surrounded by nature, the sound of the bustling city starts to fade away and you slowly adapt and take-in the sounds of nature, birds chirping and leaves rustling under the soft rain. The trail is easy to follow, shaded and cool the majority of the walk to the center. There is a river crossing about 2.5 km from the main entrance that has massive catfish, if you have trail mix throw some in to see the catfish go after it.

Also, African civet, genet, bushbuck, duiker, and monkey roam the park. The authorities have turned Banco National Park — 10 times as large as Central Park in New York — into a poster child of their conservation efforts, wooing Ivorians who have long avoided biking and hiking expeditions there as part of a nascent ecotourism plan. Small fee to access the Park, 5,000 CFA for Europeans, 1,000 CFA for locals. No guide is necessary, the trails are well marked.

La Pyramide

La Pyramide is one of the best examples of Brutalist architecture in Africa. Designed by Italian architect Rinaldo Olivier, La Pyramide was celebrated as one of the Ivory Coast’s most impressive structures at the time of its completion.

The main aim of the architect Olivieri was to capture the vibrant activity of the African market in the urban settings around the continent, and most of all in the Côte d’Ivoire. When it debuted, it was officially named the Foire Internationale de Dakar, which locals commonly abbreviate to FIDAK. The sprawling exhibition house was originally conceptualized in Senegal’s capital to host the biennial international trade fair. The design was a collaboration between two fairly new architects, Jean-Louis Marin and Jean-François Lamoureux.

La Pyramide was the first daring architectural design to step away from traditional architectural styles and is thus regarded as a symbol of modernism in African architecture. It sits in the bustling Plateau area, one of Abidjan’s commercial hubs. The building is about 300 meters away from Lagune Ebrié, the lagoon on which Abidjan sits and a stone’s throw away from the Palais Présidentiel. The building sits on the corner of Avenue Franchet dÉsperey and Boulevard Botreau Roussel.

Read Also: AFCON 2023: 3 Foods You Should Taste While in Ivory Coast

Abidjan Great “Salam” Mosque

A very beautiful and large Mosque in Plateau, Abidjan. This is a must visit place if you are in Abidjan. The Plateau Mosque is one of the largest and most modern religious buildings in the country. The Mosque is built on a plot of land of about 7,500 m². It is surmounted by a minaret with a height of 65 m and has a capacity of 6,500 worshippers (3,500 on the esplanade and 3,000 in the prayer hall). Its capacity of reception, its amphitheater, its offices, its ultra modern parking, make it one of the most beautiful mosques of the sub-region. This big mosque, known by many as the Blue Mosque, is open to the public.

The Mosque has several premises spread over 4 levels: Level 1- 10 administrative offices, 9 offices for Muslim associations, 6 stores (all rented) and 1 parking lot for 150 vehicles (more spaces available). Level 2- 1 ablution area for women,1 ablution area for men, 1 accommodation for the Imam, 1 amphitheater (300 seats) and 1 library. Level 3 -1 prayer hall (2,500 seats), 1 office for the Imam, 1 private prayer room for the Imam, 1 private ablution area for the Imam, 1 mortuary room and 1 esplanade of 3.000 m² (3.500 places). Finally, Level 4- 1 mezzanine for women (500 places).

Around 42 percent of the population in Abidjan belongs to the Muslim community, which makes it one of the cities where the Muslim population is the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. Plateau Mosque is also working to promote interfaith harmony by being open to visitors from all beliefs. The mosque also features a massive courtyard, and the interior is decorated with motifs, intricate calligraphy, and blue and gold domes. The mosque also hosts religious lectures and Quranic studies along with congregational prayers for thousands of people.

St. Paul’s Cathedral of Abidjan

For Christians, the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Abidjan (Français: Cathédrale Saint-Paul d’Abidjan) is a tourist attraction, one of the Roman Catholic cathedrals in Abidjan, Berderya Aç. It is located: 28 km from Abobo, 56 km from Anyama Sossokoua, 860 km from Bouaké. The Italian-designed St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the Africa’s most elaborate churches.

The architect Aldo Spirito was an Italian architect who was asked by then President Felix Houphouet Boigny in the 1950’s to design a cathedral for the city. At the time of its construction, it was the largest cathedral in Africa. The building was designed as an artistic expression of faith and belief. One can see that Aldo Spirito was strongly influenced by the Futurist movement of the early 20th century. The sketches of architects like Antonio Sant’Elia spring to mind.

With an area of 4,000 square meters, the cathedral can easily accommodate up to 5,000 people. This cathedral is known for its six stained-glass windows covering a surface area of 370 meters. The interior is also embellished with other large paintings and twelve panels of ceramics that add to the grandeur and magnificence of the cathedral. The artistic imagery brings to life the faith of the locals. On the façade, the walls plunge forwards and are reminiscent of an elephant’s tusk pushing down into the ground. However, the most impressive part is the main bell tower, facing the coast. It has the silhouette of a 70-metre-high giant who, like an allegory of the African man, seems capable of towing a mountain along. In just a short time, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the biggest in the whole of Africa, has managed to well and truly capture the hearts of the people of Abidjan.

Musée National

The Musée National or national museum is an Ivory Coast museum, situated in the Comoé District of Grand-Bassam. It houses a dusty but interesting collection of traditional art and craftwork containing over 1.5 million objects of great value to national heritage. Models of local community dresses and customs, including kings and chiefs from Korhogo, Boualé, and other regions of Cote d’Ivoire, are on display at the Museum of African Art.

It was constructed originally as a palace in 1892 by the colonial rulers, the Musée National des Costumes was transformed into a museum by Felix Houphouet Boigny, the first president of Cote d’Ivoire, in 1981. Similarly, the museum’s exhibits provide a fascinating glimpse into Ivory Coast’s past, allowing you to travel through time by examining the evolution of clothing and textiles. From ancient traditions to contemporary influences, the National Museum of Costume paints a vivid picture of the nation’s sartorial journey. The Musée National des Costumes de Grand-Bassam is open to members of the public from Monday to Friday at 9 AM until 12PM and again at 15PM until 18PM. The knowledgeable local guides make the exhibit come alive.


Treichville is a neighborhood located in the city of Abidjan, Cote D’ivoire. Treichville hosts a specialty craft open-air market with passionate craftsmen and vendors, a must-see in Abidjan. Located behind the fishing village of Anoumabo, Treichville owes its importance to the boom in colonial trade that followed World War I. It remained a very small town until 1934, when the seat of colonial government was moved to Abidjan from Bingerville. Urban growth was rapid after the 1.7-mile (2.7-km) Vridi Canal opened in 1950 and provided access to the sea. Under a new era of economic expansion, Treichville gained 150,000 inhabitants and reached its population saturation point within a decade. Comprehensive planning for urban growth after 1960 was rendered impossible because of the many confining branches of the lagoon waters.

In addition, Treichville is also a busy market that gives you real insight to African life in urban Ivory Coast. It is a usual colourful African market that sells fruit, veg, liquids, spices and many other homeware products. Also, live chickens are for sale, but held in shocking conditions with a smell to match various facial expressions. Many of the vendors are women, very friendly and not at all pushy, but some are uncomfortable with pictures being taken, which is why being assisted with a guide is beneficial against any unsavouriness. It’s just a few minutes drive from the Cathedral in fact.

Treichville, is also an interesting market to walk around. The two (2)-story concrete structure accommodating many stalls with clothing, jewellery and bags on the upper floor and food and household things downstairs. The first floor is mainly for food and related items, and is not special if you have seen other markets in West Africa, The second floor has an amazing collection of cloth shops and tailors – both male and female – as well as a nice selection of handicrafts. Worth visiting if you are interested in buying anything.

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