Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations
History and museums
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM) (French: Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée) is a national museum located in Marseille, France. It was inaugurated on 7 June 2013 as part of Marseille-Provence 2013, the special year when Marseille was designated as the European Capital of Culture.
The museum is devoted to European and Mediterranean civilisations. With a permanent collection charting historical and cultural cross-fertilisation in the Mediterranean basin, it takes an interdisciplinary approach to society through the ages up to modern times.
The museum is built on reclaimed land at the entrance to the harbour next to the site of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean and a former port terminal called the J4. A channel separates the new building and the Fort Saint-Jean, which has been restructured as part of the project. The two sites are linked by a high footbridge, 130m long. Another footbridge links the Fort Saint-Jean to the Esplanade de la Tourette, near the church of St Laurent in the Panier quarter.
The museum built "of stone, water and wind" was designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti in collaboration with the architect Roland Carta. A cube of 15,000 square metres surrounded by a latticework shell of fibre-reinforced concrete, it houses exhibits on two levels, with an underground auditorium seating 400. The permanent collection and bookshop are situated on the ground floor. There is a restaurant on the terrace at the top of the building with panoramic views of the bay of Marseille, the Corniche and the Prado.
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