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Situated on the southern bank of the Vieux Port above the dry dock, the Abbey of St. Victor, Marseille played an important role in development of Christianity in the Mediterranean between the 11th and 18th Centuries. In the 14th Century, Pope Urbain V oversaw its fortification. The abbey's crypt and catacombs, which contain a number of ancient sarcophagi, are open to visitors, while its excellent acoustics make it the perfect venue for the religious and classical music concerts held here on a regular basis. Large crowds attend its special ceremonies for la fête de la Chandeleur (Candlemas) in February.
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations or Mucem is a remarkable feature of Marseille's cultural scene. It boasts a unique harbor-side location on the Mediterranean Sea, adjacent to the Fort Saint-Jean and J4 port terminal. Celebrated architect Rudy Ricciotti is the mastermind behind its unique architecture and futuristic design. The permanent exhibition is dedicated to the rich culture and heritage of the Mediterranean basin over the centuries. The construction also features an underground auditorium and a rooftop restaurant. However, the one thing to remember while visiting the museum is that opening times vary according to seasons.
La Canebière is Marseille's most famous street, opening directly onto the Old Port (Vieux Port). Its name originates from the Provençal term canébé, meaning "hemp," and can be traced back to the 11th Century when the street was home to rope-makers and hemp merchants. With the destruction of the dockyard in the late 18th Century, it gained free access to the port. Its lively hotels, luxury shops, theaters, and cafes earned it an international reputation.