Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday's postcard: An old alley in Nice, France

This old (but undated) Les Éditions Frank postcard features an alley in Nice, France.

The caption on the front — "Une rue de la Vieille Ville" — translates to "a street in the Old Town."

Nice is the fifth-largest city in France and one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is believed to have been founded around 350 BC (as Nikaia) by the Greeks.1 The city has some unique demographics.

At the outset of World War II, Nice became a refuge for many displaced foreigners, including some Jewish people fleeing the Nazis. Today, the largest immigrant populations in Nice hail from Tunisia, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Portugal and Spain.

It's interesting to look at the young people in this photo and wonder who they were and what their lives were like. Here are some closeups:

1. The general region of Nice is thought to be the location of one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. The Terra Amata archaeological site, discovered in 1966, was originally a prehistoric beach. Henry de Lumley and his fellow archeologists discovered tools that dated to about 400,000 BC. The evidence uncovered by de Lumley, according to Wikipedia, "suggested that the inhabitants lived in huts on the beach. In the center of each hut was a fireplace, with ashes showing that the inhabitants had domesticated fire. These vestiges included low walls of stones and beach pebbles, placed to the northwest of the fireplaces, which would have sheltered the fire from the strong Mistral wind. De Lumley believed the inhabitants built the huts of animal skins supported by poles, with a hole in the center for the smoke to escape. Twenty to forty people could gather in such a shelter." The theories put forth by de Lumley were later disputed.

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