Table of contents:
- History of the Principality of Monaco
- Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly
- Current status
- Population of Monaco
- Languages of Monaco
- Monaco Cuisine
- What to visit in Monaco?
- Interesting facts
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican. It has been run by the Grimaldi family for over 700 years. The seafront principality has a colorful past but is now a quiet haven for the rich and famous who enjoy tax-free status.
The picturesque coastal country attracts tourists all year round. Guests of Monaco alternate relaxing on the beach with international races in sports, and spend evenings at the Place du Casino. This gambling center has made Monte Carlo famous as a place for extravagant displays of one's we alth. We althy people willing to spend millions and ordinary tourists all find common ground in Monaco. See below for more country information.
History of the Principality of Monaco
This sheltered harbor was originally inhabited by Greeks in 6 BC. e. Legend has it that Hercules once passed through Monaco and the temple of Monoikos was built in his honor. Historically, this country was part of France, but in 1215 it became a colony of Genoa by decree of Emperor Henry VI. Grimaldisettled here in 1297, and the family's ancestors control the principality to this day.
In 1419, the Grimaldi family acquired Monaco from France. Since then, the principality has been under the protection of Spain, Italy and Sardinia. In 1793 French revolutionary troops captured Monaco and held it until 1814. Today, the country has a constitutional monarchy, but the principality is under the protectorate of France.
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly
In 1949, Prince Rainier III ascended the throne of Monaco. In 1956 he married the beautiful American actress Grace Kelly. This event was a turning point not only in her professional career, but also in the life of the entire principality. The famous actress at the peak of her popularity left the cinema for the sake of marriage. This news shook not only Hollywood, but the rest of the world. This event brought fame to the principality. Previously, it was only talked about as the place where the Monaco Grand Prix in the Formula 1 championship is held. Now the eyes of the rich and famous, riveted on Grace Kelly, turned to a small principality. Having received the title of princess, the actress invested her strength in the promotion of the arts. This brought charm to the small country and contributed to its economic and cultural development. They had three children together: Caroline, Albert and Stephanie.
The sudden death of Grace Kelly in a car accident in 1982 was a shock that reverberated around the world. Films have been made and books written about her life, and her death is still shrouded in mystery.around which conspiracy theories are built. Prince Rainier III continued to govern Monaco after her death and was a respected monarch. He never remarried and died in 2005, leaving the throne to his son, Prince Albert II.
The capital of the Principality of Monaco is the city of the same name. The form of government is a constitutional monarchy. The economy is based on tourism, gambling and banking services. The absence of income tax attracts many we althy residents. The banking industry and money management generate 16% of revenues and play an important role in the economy. In addition, the country is famous for its casinos, where visitors come from all over the world to play in elite establishments. Tourism accounts for about 25% of income and the country prides itself on its hospitality and excellent cuisine. The wonderful Mediterranean climate attracts travelers who want to enjoy Monaco's sea.
Monaco is located on the Mediterranean Sea and is surrounded by France on three sides. Nice is the closest major city, approximately 18 km away. The area is quite rocky, located on steep hills that descend to the sea. The climate is mild all year round, with temperatures ranging from 8 to 26 degrees Celsius.
Monaco is divided into four quarters:
- Monaco-Ville is an old city located on a rocky promontory.
- La Condamine - waterfront.
- Monte Carlo is the main resort, residential and tourist area.
- Fontvieille - new site,built on alluvial land.
Population of Monaco
More than a quarter of the country's population are French citizens. Smaller but significant numbers are Italians, Swiss and Belgians. One fifth are Monegasques, indigenous, Monegasques are proud of their country's unique history and position in the world. It is believed that the name Monaco comes from the word "monoikos", associated with both the ancient Greeks and the Ligurians. Ligurians settled on the Mediterranean coast even before the era of the Roman Empire. The coastal road used by the Ligurians later became known as the "Hercules Road". In Greek, Hercules was often referred to as "Hercules Monoikos" or "Hercules". Monegasques have managed to maintain their traditions and dialect over the centuries, despite the influence of their much larger neighbours. Their cultural identity is reflected in many of the local festivals and is part of Monaco's global fame. However, only a small part of the citizens can call themselves Monegasques. The rest are people of different nationalities.
Languages of Monaco
Tourists who want to visit this country are increasing every year. They are probably interested in what language they speak in Monaco. This is a multinational country, but France has had the greatest influence on it. Therefore, it is not surprising that French has become the official language of Monaco. It is the language of government, business, education and the media.
The indigenous people of Monaco speak Monegasque, and it is he who is considered traditional. It is in many ways similar toItalian. Only about 21.6% of the population, who are mostly ethnic Monegasques, speak the language. And although the authorities are trying their best to preserve their native dialect, its use is declining every year. By the 1970s, the language was on the verge of extinction, but several projects started by the Monegasque government helped raise its status. Currently, this language is taught in schools, and street signs are made in two versions: in French and Monegasque. The other traditional language of Monaco is Occitan. It is currently spoken by only a small part of the country's population.
Besides the above languages, Italian and English are popular here. This is not surprising, because Italians make up about 19% of the country's population. For some time, Italian was even the official language of Monaco (between 1815 and 1861), when the Principality was under the protectorate of Sardinia. Some members of the princely family speak Italian. English is mainly used by citizens of Great Britain, the USA and Canada, permanently residing in the country. The official language of Monaco is French, but English remains the most popular among tourists here.
Throughout history, Monaco's neighbors (France, Italy and Spain) have had a huge impact on the Principality. Therefore, elements of their cultures can be traced in art. The constitution allows for religious freedom, but the largest part of the population consider themselves supporters of the Roman Catholic Church (about 78% of citizens).
The ruling Grimaldi family playedan important role in promoting culture and art in Monaco. The city boasts exquisite architecture. Visitors will find an amazing array of world-class galleries where they can attend musical performances throughout the year. Many of them are supported by members of the princely family themselves. In addition, the Grimaldis have created many charitable organizations, including the Princess Grace Foundation (who also supports the Dance Academy), Prince Pierre (funding culture and the arts) and Prince Albert II (environmental protection).
Access to fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood has defined the local cuisine. In addition, the country's Mediterranean heritage is reflected in the food, and French and Italian influences can be found in many recipes.
Each of the many restaurants serves gourmet seafood dishes. Among them, cod and anchovies dominate. The warm climate allows fish to be supplemented with local vegetables. Separately, it is worth highlighting onions, garlic and olives (or olive oil), which are included in many dishes. As a rule, breakfast is very small, but for lunch and dinner they often serve several dishes - this tradition has taken root in Monaco. Reviews about restaurants are purely positive, because the owners, afraid of losing rich customers, maintain the service at the highest level.
What to visit in Monaco?
The main attraction of the Principality is the Monte Carlo Casino, which is a huge entertainment complex located in the area of the same name. It includes a casinoand an opera house. The famous French architect Carl Garnier built the casino in 1878. The atrium, laid in marble, is surrounded by 28 Ionic columns. It leads to the auditorium of the Salle Garnier opera, decorated with a large number of bas-reliefs, frescoes and sculptures. It has hosted outstanding international performances as well as operas, ballets and concerts for more than a century. "Play Rooms" includes a number of rooms with stained glass windows, delightful decorations and sculptures, allegorical paintings and bronze lamps.
Oceanographic Museum, whose director was the legendary explorer of the water depths, Jacques-Yves Cousteau. This exceptional museum is dedicated to oceanography. His collections of marine life, collected by Prince Albert I, are priceless and unique. The museum's latest major acquisition is a giant 450 cubic meter pool that shows the diversity and unusual coloration of the coral reef and the creatures that inhabit it.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral serves as the tomb of past rulers of Monaco, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Services are held during the great liturgical celebrations accompanied by organ music.
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is today home to Prince Rainier's son and successor, Prince Albert II. The State Halls are open to the public during the summer. Since 1960, the palace courtyard has become the venue for open-air concerts presented by the PhilharmonicOrchestra of Monte Carlo. It also opens for important occasions, such as weddings or birthdays for the Grimaldi family. The assembled citizens of Monaco turn to the prince from the gallery of Hercules, overlooking the square. The courtyard is also used for the annual Christmas ball for children. Through such events, the palace continues to play a central role in the life of the prince and his subjects for 700 years.
Fort Antoine is a fortress built at the beginning of the 18th century. Now it is used as a wonderful outdoor theater that can accommodate about 350 spectators. This charming setting hosts numerous performances during the summer season. The military architecture of this watchtower gives it a unique and special charm.
Many attractions of the Principality of Monaco will impress even the most demanding tourist.
In addition to hosting the famous Grand Prix and having a luxurious Monte Carlo casino, there are no less interesting facts about this country that not everyone knows about:
- Monaco is often referred to as Europe's tax haven. For decades, the country lived solely on income from its casinos. Nowadays, thanks to the efforts of the government, tourism has become the main source of income.
- If you want to go to the city of Monaco, you can get there by train, your own helicopter or yacht, but not by private jet. There are no airports here, and the nearestof which is located in Nice. Luckily, Monaco and France are 30 minutes away from each other.
- Descendants of François Grimaldi, Genoese leader of the Guelphs, have ruled Monaco for over 712 years. This explains why the majority of citizens are Catholics.
- Monaco is open to tourists at any time of the year - every month something happens here. From exclusive outdoor concerts by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic to sporting events such as the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix.
- The elegant façade and interiors of Monte Carlo Casino have been the setting for three James Bond films, namely Casino Royale, Goldeneye and Never Say Never.
- The crime rate in Monaco is very low. This is mainly due to the fact that there are more police officers per person than in any other country. In addition, a large number of CCTV cameras are located in the principality to prevent criminal activity.
- There is almost zero unemployment here. There is also no poverty in the country.
- Don't be surprised if you find out that the citizens of Monaco are forbidden to play and even visit the casino. The rule is set by the government of a country that doesn't want its citizens to waste their money. The casino is a source of income for the country and provides jobs for its residents.
- The Formula 1 Grand Prix is one of the main events that the country holds every year.
- In 2014 almost 30% of Monaco's population were millionaires - just like in Zurich or Geneva.