Monaco is a principality on the Mediterranean, surrounded by France on three sides. It is located about 15 kilometers east of Nice, and near the Italian border. According to, Monaco is the world’s second smallest country after the Vatican City and the world’s smallest country with a coastline.

Since 1297, Monaco has been ruled by the princes of the house of Grimaldi, originally a family from Genoa. The current head is first Albert 2. The Principality has a Customs Union and other special affiliations with France.

The country’s name comes from Greek: ‘Monoikos’, ‘living alone’. The port city of Monaco in Latin was called ‘Portus Hercules Monoedci’, ‘The Port of Hercules Heracle’.

National anthem is ‘Principauté Monaco, mon patrie’ (‘The Principality of Monaco, My Fatherland’). It’s called ‘Hymne Monègasque’.

Monaco is located on the Mediterranean Sea

Monaco is located on the Mediterranean Sea, on the steep slopes of the Alpes-Martimes.

Geography and environment

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco is located on the lower slopes of the French department of the Alpes-Maritimes (Haval Alps), on the French Riviera ( Côte d’Azur ). The width varies between 349 and 1700 meters. The border measures 4.4 kilometers and the coastline is 4.1 kilometers long. The highest point, which is 140 meters above sea level, is on the southern slope of Mont Agel.

According to Monaco’s official statistical statement from 2016, the principality is divided into eight districts: La Condamine (business center and port area), Monaco-Ville (old town), Monte Carlo (the most important residential area) and Fontvieille (an area which is recovered from the sea, with newer buildings, industry and port), as well as La Rousse, Larvotte, Jardin Exotique and Les Moneghetti.

Monaco constitutes a continuous urban area on both sides of the well-protected harbor, and consists of several independent cities: the capital Monaco-Ville, La Condamine and Monte Carlo. The capital is located on a 60 meter high limestone cliff. Here is the castle (a castle from the 13th century, which was expanded in the 16th century), the cathedral and the oceanographic and anthropological museums, the first with a famous aquarium. On the opposite side of the harbor is Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo holds its famous play casino, a Kastell from the 1200s, an oceanographic museum with aquarium and an anthropological museum, opera, hotels, v illa and parks.

The country has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild and rainy winters. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius ( ° C ). Frost and snowfall occur very rarely. July-August is the warmest with an average temperature of 24 ° C.

There is about 800 millimeters of rainfall annually. More than 100 millimeters of rainfall falls in October-December. In summer, the air is tempered by sea breezes, especially at night. The mountains protect against cold winds from the north.

Monaco has a rich vegetation including aloe, palm trees, tamarisk and mimosa. The Jardin Exotique de Monaco has a large collection of cactus species. Princess Grace’s rose garden has more than 150 varieties of rose. There is also a Japanese garden with pine and olive trees.

There are nine species of wild mammals, including three coastal whales ( dolphin, striped dolphin and fin whale ). Of land mammals, tree mice, hedgehogs, red fox and deer can be mentioned.

It is observed 105 species of birds, including coraciiformes Kingfisher, bee-eater and hoopoe and Nightingale, peregrine and Osprey, two reptile and two amphibian. About 330 species of insects have been detected.

People and society

Monaco’s inhabitants are called monegasers and monacers. French people make up 24.9 percent of the population, Monegasks 24.17 percent and Italians 21.9 percent. The rest are immigrants from more than 100 nations, including Britons, Swiss, Germans, Americans and Russians (2018). More than half of the inhabitants are immigrants. Monaco is the world’s most populous country.

French is the official language. It is also spoken Italian and Monegasque, which is an Italian-Provencal blend language.

Roman Catholic Christianity is official religion. 90 percent of the population confess to this. Other important faiths are the Anglican Church and the Reformed Church.

Life expectancy at birth is 93.4 years for women and 89.4 years for men (2018). This is the highest life expectancy of all countries in the world.

State and politics

Albert 2

Monaco is a principality ruled by the Grimaldi family. The prince status is inherited in the family. Since 2005 there has also been a female succession right.

The executive is under the rule of a four-member government, headed by a prime minister. The legislative authority is divided by the prince and a national council of 24 members divided into two chambers, and elected in the general election for five years. Although the prince is a constitutional monarch in representative democracy, he has great power. Monaco does not have political parties but candidates on lists. Only Monegasque citizens have the right to vote.

Monaco’s defense consists of 255 soldiers who are bodyguards of the prince and protect the palace; this army is the world’s third smallest. Otherwise, the country depends on France’s defense. Monaco lacks marine and aircraft power, but has one of the world’s largest police forces in terms of population.

In 1993, Monaco joined the UN and several UN organizations, and by the Council of Europe in 2004. Monaco is a member of the OSCE, but not the EU. From 1865 Monaco has been in customs union with France.


Grimaldi family palace

The Grimaldi family palace is located in Monaco-Ville, on the cliff Le Rocher. The palace facility is seen closest to the walls in the foreground.

Traces of human settlement have been found in a cave 300,000 years old. In ancient times, Monaco was a port and trading place for Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. From the year 980, Monaco belongs to the Genovese prince genus Grimaldi. Since 1297 this family has ruled the area as a principality and for long periods with France as a protective power.

From 1793 to 1814 Monaco was part of France, and in 1815 it became a protectorate under Sardinia. In 1861 Monaco became allied with France and a Customs Union was established in 1865. The same year, income tax was settled thanks to the large revenue from the gaming casino established in 1858.

The prince ruled unequivocally until 1911, when Monaco got its first constitution. In 1943, Italy first occupied, and then the German Wehrmacht land, and deportation of the Jewish population began.

In 1959, Rainier 3 dissolved the 1911 Constitution and dissolved the elected bodies. Monaco gained world attention when he married in 1956 to American actress Grace Kelly. In 1962, because of relations with France, the prince had to restore the elected bodies and impose a constitutional constitution. In 1963, French President Charles de Gaulle blocked Monaco in anger that the country was a tax-free place for French citizens. Relations with France, including taxation, were regulated later that year.

In 2005 Rainier 3 died and his son Albert 2 followed him as the first.

Economy and business

Monaco’s residents do not pay income and wealth taxes, and corporate taxes are low. The country is therefore an important banking and financial center. The state owns the casino. Turism is of great importance to the country’s economy. In Fontvieille it is light industry. Production includes pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, beer and chocolate, as well as electrical and electronic equipment. La Condamine is the commercial district. Fishing and farming are insignificant.

Following international pressure, Monaco’s authorities have stepped up efforts to remove money laundering.

The famous Monte Carlo gaming casino

Knowledge and culture

School age is 6-16 years. It is a five-year primary school, a four-year secondary school and a three-year high school. The International University of Monaco is English language.

There are several newspapers, including “Il Corriere di Monaco”, “Journal de Monaco”, “Monaco Zeitung” and “Monaco Times”. Also read French and Italian newspapers. The newspaper “Nice-Matin” has its own Monaco edition.

Radio Monte Carlo broadcasts in French and Radio Monte Carlo Network in Italian. Radio Monaco is a commercial station. There are several radio stations and five television stations (2013). One of these, TMC, is a sister company of Radio Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlos Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1863. The famous French-Monegasian composer and poet Léo Ferré (1916–1993) was born in Monaco. Modern composers are Didier Mourian (1953–) with electronic music and who is also a singer as well as Marc Giacone (1954–) with organ music.

A pioneer in Monegasian literature is Louis Notari (1879-1961). He wrote the lyrics to the national anthem and is regarded as the foremost author of Monegasque writing.

The country’s most famous sculptor is François Joseph Bosio (1769-1845) and the most famous architect is Julien Médecin (born 1894 – unknown year of death).

The Monaco Grand Prix is a race car race in Monte Carlo. It has been held annually since 1922. The race goes down narrow streets on the world’s shortest Grand Prix track. The round length is just over 3300 meters.

The Monte Carlo Rally has been held annually since 1911, except 1913–1923, 1940–1948, 1957 and 1974.

The Monaco FC football club plays in the French top division Ligue 1.

The Monaco Marathon is the only marathon race in the world through three countries (Monaco, France and Italy). Another annual event is the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Monaco, which includes swimming (1.9 kilometers), cycling (90 kilometers) and running (21.1 kilometers).