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Vieille-Charite – a unique example of a 17th century almshouse, miraculously preserved to this day.
It was built for the poor and the poor who suffered in the 17th century from severe persecution by the guards. Constant street skirmishes took place every day and did not always end with the victory of the guards, since random passers-by often turned out to be on the side of the poor, throwing stones at the servants of the law. The question arose of creating a separate building for the lower strata of society, where they could live and receive primary education and work.
The almshouse was designed by the architect Pierre Puget. The building is a rectangular structure with a large dome in the middle. The entrance to the almshouse is made in the classical style with a Corinthian colonnade, a triangular pediment and a portico. The central dome and the room under its vaults were designed as a baroque church.
Surprisingly, the Great Revolution was not reflected on this building, there was still a shelter for the disadvantaged. The almshouse performed this function until 1922, when the garrison of the Foreign Legion was stationed here. Before World War II, Vieux-Charite was a common barracks. During the occupation of Marseille by the Germans, people from houses destroyed by the bombing were resettled in the almshouse. Some of these people lived in the building until 1962, when it was decided to close the almshouse and provide refugees with new houses and apartments.
Until 1986, no one was allowed into the almshouse building due to a possible collapse, then the municipality found money for restoration. Vieux-Charite was recognized as a historical monument of Marseille and it was decided to place several museums here that are still functioning. In the gloomy rooms of the former almshouse, there are exhibition halls of the Museum of Africa, the Museum of the Peoples of Oceania, the Mediterranean Archaeological Museum and the specialized library of archeology.
From the premises of the former church, a staircase leads up to the observation deck. From a small balcony you can see the surrounding houses and the area adjacent to the almshouse.
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Topic: Vieille-Charite almshouse in France, Marseille resort.