Marseille, France

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Mayor: Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin

Population:  850,636 residents.

A brief history of the city

Marseille was founded by the Greeks in the 7th century and has known many upheavals since. In the 12thcentury the Black Plague terrorized the city; in the 14th century Marseille was pillaged by Alfonso V King of Aragon; during the 15th and 16th centuries Fort Saint-Jean and a wharf were built on the northern bank of the port, the first naval connections with the East were established, Château d’If was built, and a sugar distillery and a soap plant soap were erected. In the 18th century Marseille suffered another outburst of the Bubonic Plague, and at the same time had an additional period of development in the course of which the château Borély was built and the trade via the Indian Ocean commenced.

The construction of the basin of la Joliette began in 1844, and a few years later an 82 Kilometers-long canal was completed. Later on the City Port Company was established, the Palais du Pharo, the stock exchange, the sewer system and additional quays in the old port were built, the Marseille Credit Association was founded, the Congress of Marseille Employees took place, and the first girls’ school was opened. In the 19th century, the last big cholera plague broke out in the city. In 1924 the city airport was erected. In the following years Marseille suffered the consequences of World War II, during which it was occupied by Nazi forces that destroyed the local ports. In 1944 Marseille was liberated from the Germans. In 1969 the iron industry came to life and in 1977 the first Metro lines were activated. In 1986 the water desalination plant was established. In 2000 the city erected the Tree of Hope, bearing more than 299,000 names of the inhabitants of the city.

General information and special features

Marseille is the second largest city in France, with one of the busiest seaports in Europe, located on the Mediterranean, not far from the estuary of the Rhone. The city is divided into 16 quarters. Among its interesting sites are the church hall of the Notre-Dame de La Garde from the 19thcentury, a 16th Century prison and the Abbey of St. Victor, in which there are ancient interment tunnels, sarcophaguses and catacombs.

 The Haifa-Marseilles Twin Cities Treaty was signed in 1962