Monaco is a miniature sliver hammered into the southern coast of French, its only land bordering neighbor. It also shares a coastline with the Mediterranean Sea. The principality only covers 1.98 sq. km of land in total, and almost all of it is urbanized. Monaco is the second smallest country on the planet, after the Vatican and it is Europe’s second most densely populated. While Monaco is an independent country, France takes the responsibility for its national defense.
The country’s most secured and defendable ancient fort was situated on the The Rock or Le Rocher. An ancestor of the current ruling family, Francois Grimaldi gained entrance by masking as a monk and hiding a sword under his robe. Later, he opened the gates for his followers and captured the stronghold. The House of Grimaldi has been ruling the land ever since 1297.
Monaco is home to two ports. The smaller port is known as Port de Fontvieille and has been operational since 1970 and a larger port, Port Hercule. Greek historians claim that Hercules travelled through the settlement on The Rock during his journeys, hence the name. The port is also the location of scenes in the 1995 James Bond movie “GoldenEye”. Palace of The Sovereign Prince is also located on the Rock.
Visitors are attracted to Monaco due to its glamour, casinos and no taxes. The current ruler, Prince Albert II is the son of Prince Rainier III and the glamorous American movie actress Grace Kelly.
Official Name: Principality of Monaco
Government: Constitutional Monarchy and Principality
Total area: 0.8 sq mi (2.0 sq km)
Monetary Unit: Euro
Official language: French, Italian and English widely spoken
Calling code: +377
Ethnic groups: French, English and Italian
Religion: Roman Catholicism