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  • RSE

One Klépierre shopping center might showcase its region’s architectural treasures, while another displays the works of contemporary artists.

Over the centuries, at fairs, markets, bazaars and caravanserais worldwide, the trade in goods has fostered the flow of ideas and the spread of arts and crafts. Klépierre shopping centers are a modern expression of that tradition, offering countless opportunities to nurture the minds and spirits of the millions of visitors who pass through their doors each year.

At the Porta di Roma mall, an archaeological museum founded in collaboration with Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage spotlights the vestiges of an ancient city, Fidenæ, that once stood on the very same site. Twenty years of excavation have yielded a trove of discoveries. Leading archaeologists offer frequent guided tours of the exhibition, many for nearby schools, that consistently prompt astonishment, delight and interaction. Elsewhere, construction of Arkaden Torgterrassen in Norway and Markthal in the Netherlands similarly uncovered precious archaeological artifacts that are now on view to the public.

In addition to shedding light on local and regional history, malls can enhance the cultural environment through a wide range of events and activities. At Rotterdam’s Alexandrium shopping center, a selection of sculptures from the terracotta army built for Qin, China’s first emperor, attracted millions of visitors in the span of a few months. These life-sized warriors, horses and chariots were made more than 2,000 years ago for the Qin Mausoleum, now a World Heritage Site. Italy’s Campania mall was the site of a TEDx conference hosted by the renowned TED Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas that matter”; the event prompted thousands of visitors to reflect on the future of their home region of southern Italy.

Many more artists, experts and historical treasures can be found capturing a wide audience at Klépierre malls each year. Saint-Lazare in Paris displays contemporary paintings loaned by a prestigious gallery, while Hoog Catherijne in the Netherlands plays host to some of the most promising young classical musicians, winners of a competition held by a celebrated concert hall.