ISS050-E-51867
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Spacecraft nadir point: 43.6° N, 7.1° E

Photo center point: 43.3° N, 5.4° E

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 217 nautical miles (402km)
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Image Caption: Marseille, France

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph of Marseille, the second largest city in France. Known as Massalia in the days of the Roman Empire, the city sits along the Mediterranean coast.

From above, Marseille has a distinct red hue due to the clay terra cotta tiles covering the roofs of most buildings. Clay deposits are mined locally in Var, northeast of Marseille. Those signature roof tiles have influenced architectural styling in parts of Australia and New Zealand since the late 1800s.

The international spread of French culture and products can be attributed to Marseille's coastal location. The city has been a major trading port since 400 BC, and the current Port of Marseille-Fos serves as the second largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. Today, the city is known for international trade and commerce of hydrocarbon products, iron, steel, ships, construction materials, alcohol, and food.

Adjacent to Marseille lies Calanques National Park, Europe's first peri-urban national park - it is located at the transition between town and country. Founded in 2012, the park encompasses both land and water, while protecting the region's natural landscapes, terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and cultural heritage.