Built on the historical site of the Fort St-Jean, Marseille’s most recent cultural offering bridges the gap between the city and the sea. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM) opened its doors in June 2013 while Marseille was European Capital of Culture; its intricate building was designed by architect Rudy Riciotti and it was the first museum entirely dedicated to Mediterranean culture, which has played such a major role in European – and indeed African – history. Resolutely contemporary, the architecture combines raw materials and shapes that play with the light and shadow of the south of France. It is listed among the world’s 50 most visited museums. The MuCEM’s collection, composed of nearly a million exhibits, was transferred in its entirety from the Paris Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions to Marseille. The MuCEM provides a complete overview of the Mediterranean: a permanent exhibition on the ground floor retraces the history of the Mediterranean, while on the first floor, two annual exhibitions are dedicated to civilisations, cities and the people who made the Mediterranean what it is. The vaults of the 12th-century Fort St-Jean also house exhibitions, and its gardens offer a stunning panorama of the city and out to sea.
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