- Travel and Places
Travel from Massalia to Marseille
Marseille, Jewel of the Mediterranean Sea
Founded as Massalia, today known as Marseille. This is the city where the past and the present are perfectly entwined, where different cultures coexist harmoniously. Beautiful and ugly at the same time, dangerous but gentle. The city lies in the bay eastward from the mouth of river Rhone for more then 2000 years, where it developed without a special urban plan. This port town was founded as Greek colony and was established for commercial reasons in the first place. Nevertheless, Marseille soon controlled the sea routes leading to the west. Around the year 100 B.C. With the arrival of the Romans, the city referred to as Massilia.
The Gates of the Orient
Throughout its history Marseille has been an important trade centre and a lure for the settlers. The entire Mediterranean region represents a conglomerate of nations, languages, cultures and religions. Marseille is also known for its ethnic diversity and it's often called The Gates of the Orient. Although France has the access to the Atlantic, the southern coast played a more significant role in relation to great geographical discoveries and trade, especially after the construction of the Suez canal and the french engagement in the northern Africa in the 19th century. The port complex of Marseille is today one of the biggest transition ports in Europe.
Top 5 Books about Marseille
Mediterranean people always belonged more to its city then to its nation. I think this is perfect sentence to describe residents of Marseille. Knowing that city is made of people they live in and not the walls its made from, people often think of them selves as Marseilliean and not French. Being in this city is so different then to visit any other city in France, no doubt. Thanks to geographical position, Marseille was and is the point of arrivals and departures for strangers and foreigners so the diversity in this city is often explained as "as the whole world within a city".
Melting Pot Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
I live in 3000 years old city and I walk by Roman architecture remains every day, but walking on the streets of Marseille gave me the feeling as I am part of the history from a different angle. The perfect coalition of old and new is interesting. Le Panier is the oldest part of the city but during the II world war it suffered huge damage when the nacizs used the dynamite to clean the city from the unwanted ones...when the war finished, archeologists found the Roman warehouse and they turned it into museum. Above the museum there is a modern shopping center.
I prefer to experience the diversity trough food so the perfect place that will mesmerize your senses is an open market in part Maghrebi. From exotic fruits to African fabric. I'm sure 2000 years ago, open markets looked the same. Past is often wiped out by the present and remains only in books but here it is like everything is just upgraded so you actually do a walk trough time.
Other - Urban side of Marseille - City is People not just buildingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Falling in love...
I was in Marseille when I was in my early 20-ties. And I fell in love. Mixture of people with their culture and customs are overwhelming. You can experience whole Europe from the North to the south and beyond to the Africa, all incorporated with a great people from middle east, Orient to the far east like India or China.
They are all different, but mixed together into a harmonious "Maresille-anian" multicultural society.
Second time I was with my wife, couple of years ago. Now she is also in love with the city.
There is no other choice for us, we will start packing our-self's for the third time. Join us!