Principality of Monaco is a legendary travel destination and it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. The tiny city-state is ruled by Grimaldi family. Here is a list of interesting facts about Monaco which will surely amaze everyone.
Fact #1 Monaco is Europe’s Tax Heaven
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There are very fewer countries in the world whose citizens enjoy tax-free lifestyle and Monaco is one of them. Monaco is known as Europe’s tax heaven. It abolished income tax in 1869 as it earned immense profits from its casinos and had more than enough money to sustain government operations.
Monaco literally lived solely on its casinos for many years. But, now the government is trying to diversify its sources of economy. At present, tourism is the main source of income for Monaco government.
Monaco no doubt has the best casinos in the world. But a very interesting fact about Monaco is that its own citizens are not allowed to visit the casinos. They cannot gamble and visit casinos. Someone who wishes to be accepted as a guest at the Monte-Carlo Casino has to be at least 18 years old and of course non-local.
Fact #2 Monaco has no Airports
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It again sounds strange but it is a fact about Monaco that it has no airport. If you wish to travel to Monaco them the nearest airport is Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice, France. From Nice, you can travel to Monaco via Helicopter. It’s just a 7 minutes flight from Cote d’Azur Airport to Monaco Heliport.
You will be amazed to know that during weekends there is just an interval of 20 minutes per flight at Monaco heliport.
If you do not want to take a helicopter you can hire a private taxi or can take a bus from Cote d’Azur Airport. It is also well connected via trains from the neighbouring countries France and Italy.
You can also reach Monaco via sea route. There are many cruise lines which have a stopover or start or end in Monaco. It would be a wonderful and unforgettable experience travelling to Monaco via sea route.
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Fact #3 Monaco locals or Monégasques are in Minority in their Own Country
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Principality of Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City. The total population of the country in 2014 was 37,800. It is the most densely populated country in the world. Only 21.6% of people are Monaco locals or Monégasques which roughly comes to 8200 people. It is an unusual fact to know that Monaco locals or Monégasques are in minority in their own native country. Monégasques are the people who are born in Monaco or nationalised. Rest of the population consist of French, Italians and people from almost 125 other nations.
The majority of Monaco citizens are Roman Catholics and it is the official religion of the microstate. Religious freedom for other religions is guaranteed by the constitution of the country.
French is the official language while Monégasques, Italian and English are widely spoken. Monégasques is the traditional national language of Monaco.
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Fact #4 Hollywood Loves Monaco
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Hollywood loves to shoot its movies in Monaco. Glamour and Classiness of this microstate make it a perfect location for many Hollywood movie makers. James Bond Films like Never Say Never Again, GoldenEye, Casino Royal were shot at magnificent Monte-Carlo Casino.
It is an amazing fact about Monaco that more than 50 Hollywood films have been shot here. And many of them are a blockbuster like Iron Man 2 and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
Fact #5 Monaco Grand Prix
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Monaco Grand Prix is considered as one of the most prestigious formula one race in the world. It is a well-renowned automobile racing event and is held at Circuit de Monaco. The Gala racing event is held every year and the practice is continuing since 1929.
The race is held on the streets of Monaco and it is considered as a very dangerous and tough racing track. The narrow course is set along the streets of Monaco with many elevation changes, tight corners and even a tunnel.
An interesting fact about Monaco Grand Prix is that it is the only Grand Prix which has race distance of 260.3 km (161.7mi) which is less than FIA’s mandatory 305 km (190 mi) minimum race distance.
Monaco Grand Prix circuit is considered as an exceptional location of glamour and prestige.
During this gala event of motorsports, the Hotel de Paris sells almost 2000 bottle of champagne. Hotel de Paris has a legendary and huge collection of almost 450,000 bottles of champagne. The collection has bottles which date back to even 1874.
Fact #6 Monaco is Second Smallest Country in the World
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Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and is one of the five European micro-states. The Vatican City, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Malta are the other micro-states. Monaco doesn’t have a separate capital due to its small size and is called as a city state.
Monaco shares its border on the three sides with France and the fourth side with the Mediterranean Sea. An average person can walk across the width of the micro-state in approx just 56 minutes. The city-state of Monaco is roughly of the same size of New York’s Central Park.
Monaco has an area of 2.02 sq km (0.78mi). It is just 13 km away from Northeast of Nice, France and 16 km away from Italy.
Monaco is divided into four quarter and these quarters have in total 10 wards among them. The four quarters are Monaco-Ville or Monaco City, La Condamine, Monte-Carlo, and Fontvieille. Monaco-Ville is the oldest quarter and Fontvieille is the newest. Monte-Carlo is the largest.
Fact #7 Monaco is One of the Safest and Richest Country in the World
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The city-state of Monaco is among the safest countries in the world. It has a literacy rate of almost 100%. The life expectancy rate in Monaco is quite high almost up to 90 years which is one of the longest in the world.
It is a well-known fact about Monaco that 30% of the population is of millionaires and billionaire similar to Zurich or Geneva. Micro-state of Monaco is rightly called as the playground of rich and famous.
To add more to the list Monaco is the only country in the world with Human Development Index above 1.
Fact #8 Prince Rainer III and Model Kelly
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Prince Rainer III married American actress Grace Kelly in 1956. The Royal wedding was telecasted and almost 30 million people watched it. Prince Rainier III met Grace Kelly during 1955 Cannes Film Festival at a photo shoot. He proposed her with a 10.47 carat ring during his visit to the United States. As per the tradition of the royal family, Grace Kelly’s family had to pay a dowry of $2 million dollars.
Albert II is the first son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly and the present ruler of Principality of Monaco.
Albert II married Charlene Wittstock, an Olympic swimmer from South Africa in 2011. The Royal couple gave birth to twins – daughter Gabriella and son Jacques.
Prince Jacques was declared as the next in line for the throne, although Gabriella was born first, as priority is still given to the male child. The eldest child would have been declared next in line for the throne, in case both the twins had been girls.
Fact #9 Monaco Yacht Show
Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) is the biggest and most popular trade event for mega yachts in the world. This spectacular trade exhibition event is held in September every year for four days at Port Hercules. More than 500 companies from around the world exhibit their newest, super luxury and mega yachts at this glamorous event.
Monaco Yacht Show started in 1991 and completed its 25th edition in 2015. Every year more and more people are attracted to the event and new superyacht companies mark their debut. In additions to super cool yachts the event hosts cocktail parties, and DJ’s nights.
Fact #10 Grimaldi Family Curse
The legend of Grimaldi family curse dates back to the 13th century during the time of Prince Rainier I. He kidnapped a beautiful maiden and mercilessly raped her. In order to avenge the atrocities and rape she became a witch and cursed the Grimaldi family that they will never find true happiness in marriage.
And it can’t be denied that the curse did affect the royal Grimaldi family. The curse has hit the Grimaldi family very hard. Looking at the martial relationships of the family it can be said that the curse did prove to be true.
Prince Rainier III’s wife Grace Kelly died in an unfortunate car accident. Their three children have had their own share of misfortune and scandals. The eldest daughter Princess Caroline married a French Playboy Philippe Junot who was 17 years elder to her much against the wishes of her parents. They got divorced just after two years of marriage.
She again married an Italian businessman Stefano Casiraghi but he died in a speedboat racing accident. She had three children from this marriage. Princess Caroline again married in 1999 to Prince Ernst August of Hanover. The royal couple has a daughter.
The Youngest daughter Princess Stephanie had the most controversial relationships. She had a relationship with a convicted sex offender in the US. She also had a relationship with her bodyguard Daniel Ducruet and eventually married him in 1995 and had two children from this marriage and divorced him a year later. Princess Stephanie gave birth to a third child but refused to name the father of the child. She again got involved with an Elephant trainer and in 2003 she again married Adans Lopez Perez, a circus artist but divorced him a year later.
Prince Albert II too had a playboy image and has two illegitimate children Alexandre Coste whose mother is an air hostess from Togo and Jazmin Grace Grimaldi whose mother is an American real estate agent before marrying Charlene Wittstock.
Fact #11 Museums in Monaco
Every year thousands of tourists visit Monaco to enjoy its wonderful weather and casinos. Moreover, people love to experience and enjoy its glamorous, classy, and rich lifestyle. But, it has a lot more to offer, if you are interested in history, art, and culture.
Monaco has many marvellous museums which anyone can visit to know more about the History, art and culture of this tiny principality. Some of the best museums and must visit are:
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) – The New National Museum of Monaco displays the contemporary visual art of Monaco. It is situated in two locations, the Villa Sauber and the Villa Paloma.
Musée Océanograhique et Aquarium – It is one of the largest oceanographic museums in the world. It displays many aquarium specimens. Its advanced laboratories are used by the scientist from all over the world.
Musée naval de Monaco – It displays models of world’s most famous historical ships, boats, naval and marine objects. It also displays important pieces from the personal collection of Prince Rainier II of Monaco.
Musée des Souvenirs Napoléoniens et des Archives historiques du Palais – This museum displays Napoleonic times artefacts and documents.
Musée d’ Anthropologie préhistorique – It displays the rare collection of fossils and treasures excavated from Monaco and nearby places.
Fact #12 History of Monaco
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In 1297, Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress of Monaco from Italian rulers and Grimaldi dynasty was started, under the sovereignty of the Republic of Genoa. He disguised himself as a monk and was able to lead a small army into the fortress. Monaco’s coat of arms has two monks brandishing swords as a symbol of his daring victory.
In 1861, the sovereignty of Principality of Monaco was declared after centuries of being passed between Genoa, France and Sardinia.
The constitutional monarchy and France signed a treaty in 2002 which stated that city-state of Monaco will remain an independent nation even if the royal family didn’t produce any heirs.
Some More Random Facts About Monaco
- The Principality of Monaco is not a member of the EU.
- Monaco national flag has a bicolour design consisting of two horizontal bands – red (top) and white (bottom). The present design was adopted on April 4, 1881. Another interesting fact about Monaco flag is that it is exactly similar to the national flag of Indonesia with a slight difference being that Indonesian flag is a bit wider.
- Micro-state of Monaco is among the countries which have the lowest crime rates in the world. No doubt credit goes to the law enforcement agencies and Police force. It has the largest police force per capita in the world.
- Jimmy’z Monte-Carlo can simply be called as Temple of Clubbing. It is an exceptional world class club started by “the Queen of the Night” Regine in 1971. The legendary club flocks international celebrities, fashions icons, sports personalities, accomplished jet-setters.
- Monaco has two football teams AS Monaco – men’s football club and OS Monaco – women’s football club. AS Monaco is one of the most successful clubs in France, it has won Ligue 1 seven times. The Monaco national football team is not a member of UFFA and doesn’t take part in FIFA world cup or UEFA European Football Championship.
- Monaco and the Vatican City are not members of (The Union of European Football Associations) UEFA.