Monaco, an independent sovereign state located between the foot of the Southern Alps and the Mediterranean
Photo credit: @ana_besedina
Squeezed into just an area of 2.2 km2 (0.85 sq mi), Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco (Principauté de Monaco), a sovereign city-state on the French Riviera in Western Europe, is known for high-end casinos, motor racing, a harbor lined with beautiful yachts and the scenic Monte-Carlo (Munte-Carlu meaning "Mount Charles") France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. The most dramatic feature is the steep, rocky promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean, called "Le Rocher" ("The Rock"), which contains historic Monaco, also known as Monaco-Ville.
Full of charming, narrow streets, Monaco-Ville dates back to the 13th century when the principality was founded. It is crowned by a rather charming old town, home to the principality's royal palace.
The origin of the name "Monaco" has been subject to several hypotheses. For some, the name comes from the Ligurian tribe, the Monoïkos, who inhabited the Rock in the 6th century B.C.
For others, the origin comes from the Greek. In antiquity, the port of Monaco was associated with the cult of the hero Herakles (Hercules for the Romans), and his name was often linked to the expression "Herakles Monoïkos," which means Herakles alone. This version seems to bear out, as the modern name for Monaco's main port is the Port of Hercules.
In ancient history, the Rock of Monaco (Rocher de Monaco) was a shelter for primitive populations. It was also the first conquest of the Grimaldi Dynasty, the rulers of the country for more than 700 years, founded when the Guelf Francesco Grimaldi disguised himself as a Franciscan friar in order to gain entry to the city and open the gates for his soldiers.
With its deep blue sea, graceful palm trees and vibrant flowers, Monaco has the balmy weather of the Côte d'Azur. It is also famous for motor racing, and the luxurious high life. Celebrities, royalty, and the rich and famous flock here in the masses. Monaco offers a slice of the good life, a warm and sunny climate, and the chance to live it up in