This week we visit Monaco, a sovereign city-state located along the Mediterranean Sea in the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera).
With an area of only 0.78 square miles and a population of 38,000, Monaco is one of the densest countries in the world. However, many unique features have made Monaco one of the most luxurious tourist resorts in the world and have given it a fame far exceeding its size. There is evidence of Stone Age settlements in Monaco, and in ancient times it was home to Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans. In 1297, the long reign of the Grimaldi family began. From the beginning, the Grimaldi family allied themselves with France. In 1997, the Grimaldi family celebrated 700 years of rule, and in 1999 marked Prince Rainier III’s 50th year on the throne.
Economy and Lifestyle
About a third of Monaco’s residents are extremely rich, and it has the world’s second highest GDP per capita (beaten only by Liechtenstein). Famous residents include Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, tennis star Novak Djokovic and Lady Tina Green, wife of British retail billionaire Sir Philip Green. One of the key reasons for this phenomenon is the fact that the country got rid of income taxes back in 1869, and other tax rates for companies and individuals are low.
More than 75% of Monaco’s residents are foreign-born. Many people are attracted by not only its tax benefits but also its pleasant climate, political stability, and events such as the Grand Prix. It is interesting that citizens of Monaco are forbidden by low from gambling, even though the country is extremely famous for its casinos. Therefore, most casino visitors are tourists and foreign residents.
The cuisine of Monaco is a fusion of French and Italian cuisines, with some Mediterranean influences. Barbajuan is a favorite, which consists of a baked or fried puff pastry filled with leeks, ricotta, Swiss chard, herbs, and garlic. Another is the fougasse, an orange-flavored, small, sweet bread topped with raisins, nuts, and anise.