What You Need To Know
Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco is a sovereigncity-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco has an area of 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) and a population of about 37,800; it is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (1,859 and 382 yd). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco’s most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. Through land reclamation, Monaco’s land mass has expanded by twenty percent. Although small, Monaco is very old and quite well known, especially because of its status as a playground for the rich and famous, who are a spectacle for tourists and an economic engine in the Mediterranean. In 2014 it was noted about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, similar to Zürich or Geneva. Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco’s independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with the opening of the country’s first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway connection to Paris. Since then, Monaco’s mild climate, splendid scenery, and upscale gambling facilities have contributed to the principality’s status as a premier tourist destination and recreation center for the rich and famous. In more recent years, Monaco has become a major banking center and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. It is also the host of the annual street circuit motor race Monaco Grand Prix, one of the original Grands Prix of Formula One. Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU), but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. Through its relationship with France, Monaco uses the euro as its sole currency (prior to this it used the Monégasque franc). Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004. It is a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). It has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) in the world and the only HDI above 1, at 1.074.
Area: 202 km2
Population: 37 611 For more Information visit Countrymeters
- The currency of Monaco is Euro
Monaco has the world’s second highest GDP nominal per capita at US$153,177, GDP PPP per capital at $132,571 and GNI per capita at $183,150. It also has an unemployment rate of 2%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world’s lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. For the fourth year in a row, Monaco in 2012 had the world’s most expensive real estate market, at $58,300 per square metre. One of Monaco’s main sources of income is tourism. Each year many foreigners are attracted to its casino (where citizens are denied entry) and pleasant climate. It has also become a major banking center, holding over €100 billion worth of funds. The principality has successfully sought to diversify its economic base into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermics. The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be fully owned by the state; it now owns only 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by both Cable & Wireless Communications (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas. Monaco is not a member of the European Union. However, it is very closely linked via a customs union with France and, as such, its currency is the same as that of France, the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on its national side.
Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete and the removal after the race takes another three weeks. The circuit is incredibly narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Driver Nelson Piquet compared driving the circuit to “riding a bicycle around your living room”. Despite the challenging nature of the course it has only had one fatality, Lorenzo Bandini, who crashed, burned and died three days later from his injuries in 1967. Two other drivers had lucky escapes after they crashed into the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix and Paul Hawkins, during the 1965 race.
Monte Carlo Rally
Since 1911 part of the Monte Carlo Rally has been held in the principality, originally held at the behest of Prince Albert I. Like the Grand Prix, the rally is organised by Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying and from 1973 to 2008 was the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). From 2009 until 2011, the rally served as the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The rally returned to the WRC calendar in 2012 and has been held annually since. Due to Monaco’s limited size, all but the whole rally is held in French territory.
The plan for casino gambling was mooted during the reign of Florestan I in 1846. Under Louis-Philippe’s petite-bourgeois regime, however, a dignitary such as the Prince of Monaco was not allowed to operate a gambling house. All this changed in the dissolute Second French Empire under Napoleon III. The House of Grimaldi was in dire need of money. The towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which had been the main sources of income for the Grimaldi family for centuries, were now accustomed to a much improved standard of living and lenient taxation thanks to Sardinian intervention and clamored for financial and political concession, even for separation. The Grimaldi family hoped the newly legal industry would help alleviate the difficulties they faced, above all the crushing debt the family had incurred, but Monaco’s first casino would not be ready to operate until after Charles III assumed the throne in 1856. The grantee of the princely concession (licence) was unable to attract enough business to sustain the operation and, after relocating the casino several times, sold the concession to French casino magnates François and Louis Blanc for 1.7 million francs. The Blancs had already set up a highly successful casino (in fact the largest in Europe) in Bad-Homburg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Homburg, a small German principality comparable to Monaco, and quickly petitioned Charles III to rename a depressed seaside area known as “Les Spelegures (Den of Thieves)” to “Monte Carlo (Mount Charles).” They then constructed their casino in the newly dubbed “Monte Carlo” and cleared out the area’s less-than-savory elements to make the neighborhood surrounding the establishment more conducive to tourism. The Blancs opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858 and the casino benefited from the tourist traffic the newly built French railway system created. Due to the combination of the casino and the railroads, Monaco finally recovered from the previous half-century of economic slump and the principality’s success attracted other businesses. In the years following the casino’s opening, Monaco founded its Oceanographic Museum and the Monte Carlo Opera House, 46 hotels were built and the number of jewelers operating in Monaco increased by nearly five-fold. By 1869, the casino was making such a vast sum of money that the principality could afford to end tax collection from the Monegasques — a master stroke that was to attract affluent residents from all over Europe. Today, Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which owns Le Grand Casino, still operates in the original building that the Blancs constructed and has since been joined by several other casinos, including the Le Casino Café de Paris, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club & Casino and the Sun Casino. The most recent addition in Monte Carlo is the Monte Carlo Bay Casino, which sits on 4 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea and, among other things, offers 145 slot machines, all equipped with “ticket-in, ticket-out” (TITO); it is the first Mediterranean casino to use this technology.
Monaco’s name comes from the 6th-century BC nearby Phocaean Greek colony. Referred to by the Ligurians as Monoikos, from theGreek “μόνοικος”, “single house”, from “μόνος” (monos) “alone, single” + “οἶκος” (oikos) “house”, which bears the sense of a people either settled in a “single habitation” or of “living apart” from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the “House” of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos. It ended up in the hands of the Holy Roman Empire, which gave it to the Genoese. An ousted branch of Genoese family, the Grimaldi, contested it for a hundred years before actually gaining control. Though the Republic of Genoa would last until the 19th century, they allowed the Grimaldi family to keep Monaco, and, likewise, both France and Spain left it alone for hundreds of years. France did not annex it until the French Revolution, but after the defeat of Napoleon it was put under the care of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In the 19th century, when Sardinia became a part of Italy, the region came under French influence again but France allowed it to remain independent. Like France, Monaco was over-run by the Axis powers during the Second World War and for a short time was administered by Italy, then the Third Reich, before finally being liberated. Although the occupation lasted for just a short time, it meant the deportation of the Jewish population and execution of several resistance members from Monaco. Since then Monaco has been independent but has taken some steps towards integration with the European Union.
The official language of Monaco is French, while Italian is spoken by the principality’s sizeable community from Italy. English is used by American, British, Canadian and Irish residents. The traditional national language is Monégasque, a variety of Ligurian, now spoken by only a minority of residents and as a common second language by many native residents. In Monaco-Ville, street signs are printed in both French and Monégasque.
Palace guard in Monaco, just before the changing of the guard. The wider defense of the nation is provided by France. Monaco has no navy or air force, but on both a per-capital and per-area basis, Monaco has one of the largest police forces (515 police officers for about 36,000 people) and police presences in the world. Its police includes a special unit which operates patrol and surveillance boats. There is also a small military force. This consists of a bodyguard unit for the Prince and the palace in Monaco-Ville called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince’s Company of Carabiniers), which is equipped with modern weapons such as M16A2 rifles and 9 mm pistols (Glock 17), and which together with the militarized, armed fire and civil defense Corps (Sapeurs-Pompiers) forms Monaco’s total public forces. The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 116 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. In addition to their guard duties as described, the Carabiniers patrol the Principality’s beaches and coastal waters.
Transport in Monaco
Is facilitated with road, air, rail, and water networks. Rail transport is operated by SNCF and its total length is 1.7 km. Monaco has five bus routes operated by Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco. There are also two other bus routes which connect Monaco with neighboring regions such as Nice and Menton.
Monaco has 50 km of urban roads which provide access to the A8 autoroute. Monaco buries its highways so that traffic flow can be improved and so more land is available.
There are six bus routes in Monaco, all operated by Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco (CAM). There are 143 bus stops through the Principality. There is a ferry service “Bateaubus” which operates between both sides of Monaco port. The boat is powered by electricity and operates under the urban bus system tariff.
A narrow gauge subway line is a perennial project in Monaco, which has not been built thus far.
There are two ports in Monaco, one is Port Hercules and the other is in Fontvieille. There are seasonal ferry lines like the one from Nice to Saint-Tropez.
There is no airport in the Principality of Monaco. The closest airport is Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice, France, which is connected to Monaco by the Express 110 bus.
A heliport, the Monaco Heliport, is the only aviation facility in the principality. It features shuttle service to and from the international airport at Nice, France. As of May 2005, all Royal Helicopter Service is provided by the James Drabble Aviation Services Committee. This deal sparked a great deal of controversy in the National Council of Monaco, as there was no precedent yet set. Helicopter charter services to French ski resorts are also available.
Monaco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is influenced by the oceanic climate and the humid subtropical climate. As a result, it has warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Cool and rainy interludes can interrupt the dry summer season, the average length of which is also shorter. Summer afternoons are infrequently hot (indeed, temperatures > 30 °C or 86 °F are rare) as the atmosphere is temperate because of constant sea breezes. On the other hand, the nights are very mild, due to the fairly high temperature of the sea in summer. Generally, temperatures do not drop below 20 °C (68 °F) in this season. In the winter, frosts and snowfalls are extremely rare and generally occur once or twice every ten years.