Former Benghazi Catholic Cathedral – Later used as Arab Socialist Union Headquarter


Former Benghazi Catholic Cathedral, Libya

Benghazi Catholic Cathedral, with its two huge distinct domes, was built between 1929 and 1939. The biggest colonial building still stands in Benghazi city centre today is the Former Catholic Cathedral in Cathedral Square. The building was later used as a headquarters for the Arab Socialist Union. The building is a good example of Neo-Classical Architecture, and was designed by Italian Architects Guido Ottavo and Cabiati Ferrazza. The Cathedral’s Architecture is based on that of a basilica and the building is heavily inspired by Italian religious architecture.  The entrance has a portico with six Doric Columns. Its two characteristic domes cover both spans of the nave, while a series of oculi provide the cathedral’s lighting. Original plans show that the cathedral was not completed as planned; the drawings included a three story bell tower which was never built. It is nevertheless one of the largest churches in North Africa.

Benghazi Catholic Cathedral, used as conference hall

Christianity hardly exists in modern Libya today, apart from a small minority of foreign communities, mostly from Egypt, Europe and some African countries. The largest group of Christians is the Coptic Orthodox, said to number around 60,000 Christians. The second largest Christian group in Libya is the Roman Catholics – around 40,000 Christians; followed by a small Anglican congregation in Tripoli, mostly of African immigrants.

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