From any points of view, Monaco is one of the most exceptional states of the world. Lying on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea the country has an area of 2.02 square kilometres: it's two times smaller than the territory of Central Park in New York and ten times smaller than Disneyland Paris!
At the same time, it is a rather populous country: in addition to 38,000 residents, the city is visited by around 330,000 tourists annually. One more record-breaking fact about Monaco is the world's highest population density — 18,679 people per square kilometre. Just compare: in Moscow this rate is estimated to be 4,900 people/sq. km, in London — 5,200 people/sq. km.
However, the citizens do not suffer from the lack of space: the living standards in Monaco are so high that the principality is associated with luxury first of all. It was the place for opening the first gambling house in Europe — Casino de Monte-Carlo. In fact, the casino was the reason for the "second birth" of Monaco: during the crisis at the end of the 19th century the gambling industry provided the needed economic development and saved the country from bankruptcy.
The Monte Carlo Casino is still the main landmark of the microstate. Meanwhile, Monaco owns many other great architectural and historical monuments: in the "Old Town" called Monaco-Ville, located on a 60-meters-high headland, there are Monaco Cathedral (Saint Nicholas Cathedral) built in the 19th century, the Prince's Palace (the official residence of the Grimaldi family), the Napoleon Museum, the Palace Square, the Fort Antoine Theatre, and many other significant sights.
Despite being the most densely populated country in the world, Monaco still has space for gardens and parks: altogether they occupy the fifth part of this small country. The Japanese Garden located near the beach on the Avenue Princesse Grace is among the most known parks in Monaco. For almost two years the masters of the Land of the Rising Sun had been working on completion of the authentic Japanese landscape traditions in the Mediterranean climate conditions.
On the edge of a rock there is the Exotic Garden — a collection of thousands of cactus and other succulent plants formed in a special way to provide practically an all-year flowering period. The St. Martin Gardens in Monaco-Ville are a unique combination of different exotic plants and sculptures, while the Princess Grace Rose Garden features the smell of 4,000 rose bushes of more than 150 different species.
Something Monaco can't be imagined without and two more attributes of a luxury lifestyle are the Monaco Grand Prix Formula One and the numerous yacht shows. Perhaps, there is no other place in the world with such concentration of expensive cars and yachts on such a small territory. Have a journey to the country of endless holidays and felicity!
Photos by Stas Sedov and Sergey Shandin
2 February 2017