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/ Main / International cooperation / Twin Cities / Marseilles


Marseilles (France)

French Republic

Political system: presidential-parliamentary republic.
Official language: French.
Religion: Catholicism.
Currency: Euro (EUR).
National holiday: July 14, 1789 – Bastille Day.


Marseille (fr. Marseille) – the most important Mediterranean port situated on the southern coast of France.
Center of international trade, sea shipping and culture.
Population: 820 thousand.
Total area: 240 km².
History. The city-port was founded in 600 BC by Greek navigators from as under the name Massalia (Μασσαλία).
The favorable location promoted its rapid development, as well as turned it to the object of struggle up to the 8th c. AD. The ships that arrived at the port have brought the plague together with the freight very often.
In 49 BC the city lost its independence and was annexed by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. Later the town became a part of Francia . Building of fortresses and other defencive installation starts in the 16th c.
By the end of the 19th c. as the main port of the French Empire the city reached its highest level of development. Crucial construction works were conducted.
Economy. Nowadays Marseille is the urban center of trade and tourism. The main industries are petroleum refinery, chemical and food production. The service industry is also developed well.
Culture. Today Marseille attracts the tourists as well as businessmen; the annual number of the first ones exceeds 3 million. Among the places of interest of the oldest French city are the Old Docks, the Castle of If (Château d'If), the Court of Pharo (Palais du Pharo), the buildings of the Prefecture (Préfecture) and the City Council (Hôtel de ville), basilica Notre Dame de la Garde, various forts. The most famous of 30 theaters is the Opera House notable in its architecture.
The Museum of Mediterranean Archeology, The Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Marseille History, Museum of the Roman Docks and many others are open for visitors. The Museum of Natural History is in top ten of the country’s largest museums.
Besides, there is an observatory, a planetarium, a conservatoire, a scientific and technological park in Marseille.
As well as Odessa, Marseille is the member of EUROCITIES international organization.
The City Day is not celebrated.

Mayor of Marseille – Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin (elected in 1995, won in the 2001 and 2008 elections).

Twinning agreement between Odessa and Marseille was concluded in 1973. On behalf of Odessa it was signed by the Chairman of Executive Committee of the City Council, Mr. Vladimir Shurko, on behalf of Marseille – by Mr. Gaston Defferre, Mayor of the city.

Genoa (Italy), Piraeus (Greece) and Haifa (Israel) are common sister-cities for Odessa (since 1957, 1993 and 1992 respectively) and Marseille (since 1958, 1984 and 1958 respectively). Besides, such sister-cities of Odessa as Alexandria (Egypt), Yerevan (Armenia) and Istanbul (Turkey), as well as the partner-city of Gdansk (Poland) are the partner-cities of Marseille. Other sister-cities of Marseille: Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Antwerp (Belgium), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dakar (Senegal), Hamburg (Germany), Kobe (Japan), Marrakesh (Morocco), Shanghai (China).


Chronology of official visits and meetings:

• 1997 – the children’s choir “Pearls of Odessa” participated in the International Festival of Sacred and Folklore Song.
• 1999 – Odessa Deputy Mayor Aleksey Kosmin visited Marseille to celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the city’s foundation and to participate in the International Symposium of Port Cities.
• May 2001 – Deputy Mayor of Odessa Nickolay Balan visited Marseille to participate in the International Colloquium “Kinship Today. New Look” focused on the family problems and women’s rights.
• November 2001 – Marseille delegation visited Odessa. During the stay meetings with municipal officials were held; the issues of small-scale and medium-scaled business, urban planning, education and financial management were discussed.
• July 2003 – Marseille delegation paid a visit to Odessa. A conference involving leading sportsmen and directors of sports schools for children and youth was held, the guests inspected fitness-centers and sports schools of the city.
• 2006 – within the framework of collaboration with the International Association “Optimism in the Art” several projects were realized in Odessa and Marseille:
- June – the mosaic artworks of Larisa Perekrestova, who was born and grew up in Odessa, were exhibited in Marseille;
- August 21 – September 5, 2006 – the international exhibition of mosaic works “Marseille – Odessa” was held in the Museum of Fine Arts of Odessa;
- December - the best photo and film contest about Odessa was organized for the French artists who participated in the exposition in Odessa.
• September 2009 – “Marseille in the Rays of Cinema” festival was organized in the Masks cinema house during the Day of “Alliance Français” in Odessa.
• February 2010 – professor of National Higher School of Architecture of Marseille, scientific researcher Mr. Michel Perloff visited Odessa. Negotiations on the prospects of designing a French-styled public garden on French boulevard facing Odessa Film Studio with the representatives of Odessa City Council, Odessa State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture, as well as French Cultural Center “Alliance Française” in Odessa were conducted in the course of his visit (within the framework of the project on creating parks/green zones in Odessa dedicated to twin-cities).
•February 23 - March 1, 2010 - Odessa representatives participated in tourist exhibition «MAHANA» in Marseille to present tourist potential of Odessa.
• June 28 - July 2, 2010 the festivals of French Cinema "Marseille in movie rays" and piano music "Piano Nights" were held in Odessa with support of the city council.
• June 29- July 1, 2010 - an official visit of Marseille delegation to Odessa, during which was signed an agreement on development of twinning relations between the cities of Odessa and Marseille, as well as were held working meetings of Marseille municipality representatives with the leaders of relevant structural units of the City Council.
• October 27 – 31, 2011 – Odessa Deputy Mayor paid a visit to Marseille to participate in the Festival of Ukrainian Cinema.
• November 22, 2011- the first Deputy Mayor met with a delegation of French judges.
• April 2012 - Marseille delegation visited Odessa within the celebration of 40th anniversary since establishment of sister city relations between the two cities.
• September 2012 - Odessa delegation paid a return visit to Marseille within the celebration of 40th anniversary since establishment of sister city relations between the two cities.
• July 2013 - Odessa delegation headed by the deputy mayor visited Marseille.
• September 2013 - Odessa delegation paid a visit to Marseille to participate in Marseilles economic fair «SAFIM».
November 4 – 8, 2014. - Odessa Deputy Mayor Oles Yanchuk visited Marseille within the "Mediterranean Economic Week".
• 2014 - as part of development of relations between the sister-cities of Odessa and Marseille, there was implemented an original artistic project - sister cities had exchanged the photo artists. For a month the citizen of Odessa Alexander Sinelnikov lived and photographed in Marseille, and the citizen of Marseille Mathieu Parent - in Odessa. The exhibition "Marcel-Odessa: cross-view" became the result of their work. (April 2 – 19, 2015).
• January 12 -16, 2015. - Deputy Mayor of Odessa Oles Yanchuk visited Marseille.
• April 2015. - a number of festive events took place in Odessa within the "French Spring" festival:
- Photo exhibition by Alexander Sinelnikov and Mathieu Parent "Marseille -Odessa: a cross view" in Odessa Art Museum.
- Conference by Patrick Boulanger, the custodian of the Chamber of Commerce of the national heritage department of the city of Marseille, in Odessa Art Museum.
- Meeting of Patrick Boulanger with upper formers in the city central library named after Franko.
• March 28- April 01, 2016. - Odessa delegation headed by the deputy mayor Oles Yanchuk visited Marseille for the working negotiations.
• April 12 - 30 2016 - the traditional festival "French Spring in Odessa". The cycle parade was held within the festival «Tour d`Odessa», devoted to the sister city of Marseille (NB Marseille was elected the European Sport Capital 2017.) on 30.04.2016. The City Council of Marseille gave memorable souvenirs to participants of the cycle parade.
•July 05 – 11, 2016. - Odessa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov and vice-mayor Oles Yanchuk paid a working visit to the sister city of Marseille within the preparation for the World Economic Forum. The mayor of Odessa visited the French sister city for the first time for almost 45-year history of sister city relations between Odessa and Marseille. Business talk with the Mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin and Vice-Mayor of Marseille Jean Roatta was held there during the visit. The sides discussed the ways of cooperation broadening between the sister cities in the economic, cultural and tourism spheres. The French side was invited to Odessa City Council to attend the World Economic Forum, as well as to take part in celebration of Odessa City Day in 2016 in order to attract investments and participation of companies of Marseille and Bouches-du-Rhône region in investment projects.

• July 19-22, 2017 - Vice-mayor of Odessa Oles Yanchuk made an official visit to the French sister city within the celebration of the 45th anniversary of sister city relations between Odessa and Marseille. There was organized an official reception in the city council of Marseille, the ceremony of raising the State Flag of Ukraine and given dinner with participation of dignitaries in honour of Odessa official delegation’s arrival. Oles Yanchuk has had business negotiations with the mayor of Marseille Jean-Claude Gaudin, vice-mayors of Marseille Jean Roatta, Didier Parakian and Anne-Marie Destien-Dorive during his official visit. In order to attract investment and engage the companies of Marseille and the Bouches-du-Rhône region in investment projects, the French side was invited by Odessa City Council to participate in implementation of economic development program «Odessa 5T», as well as to take part in celebration of the City Day of Odessa in 2017. The conference "Odessa: yesterday and today" was held in the library of Marseille «Alcazar». During the visit, the Vice-Mayor of Odessa has held negotiations on the development of tourism with the mayors of sister-cities of Marseille: Marrakech and Rabat (Morocco), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Tunisia (Tunisia), who were at the final part of the cycle race «Tour de France». Oles Yanchuk has also attended the meeting of Ukrainian community of the city of Marseille.

• July 14 - 20, 2018 - Vice-Mayor of Odessa Oles Yanchuk was on a working visit to the French sister city Marseille. The purpose of the visit was implementation of agreements reached within the framework of celebration of the 45th anniversary of sister-city relations between Odessa and Marseille (the donation of the tourist symbol of Odessa " Anchor Heart" as a gift).

• October 8-12, 2018 - Odessa delegation headed by the mayor of Odessa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, took part in the session of the city council of Marseilles, where it was unanimously decided to accept as a gift the tourist symbol of Odessa - the Anchor-Heart sculpture. During the visit the  delegation from Odessa got acquainted with the implementation of the long-term project “Euroméditerranée”, which envisages a complete reorganization of depressed industrial and port areas, carrying the port out of the city, upgrading the airport and filling the vacant city space with business, cultural and tourist infrastructure. The mayor of Odessa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, has also met with representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora of Marseille.


Information as of December 2018




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