Top historic sites in Monaco

Prince's Palace of Monaco

The Prince"s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the stronghold and home of the Grimaldi family who first captured it in 1297. The Grimaldi ruled the area first as feudal lords, and from the 1 ...
Founded: 1191 | Location: Monaco, Monaco

Monaco Top Cars Collection

The Monaco Top Cars Collection host the personal collection of cars acquired by  Prince Rainier III of Monaco (1923-2005). The collection contains almost one hundred classic cars made in Europe and the United States. Notable cars in the collection include the Bugatti Type 35 driven by William Grover-Williams that won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1929, and Sébastien Loeb"s Citroën DS3 WRC, which he drove to v ...
Founded: 20th century | Location: Monaco, Monaco

Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo Casino is a gambling and entertainment complex located in Monaco. It includes a casino, the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo, and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. The idea of opening a gambling casino in Monaco belongs to Princess Caroline (1793-1879), a shrewd, business-minded spouse of Prince Florestan I. Revenues from the proposed venture were supposed to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. ...
Founded: 1858-1863 | Location: Monaco, Monaco

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Saint Nicholas Cathedral (officially Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée) is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco, where many of the Grimaldis were buried, including Grace Kelly and more recently, Rainier III. The cathedral was built in 1875-1903 and consecrated in 1911, and is on the site of the first parish church in Monaco built in 1252 and dedicated to St. Nicholas. Of note are the retable (circa ...
Founded: 1875-1903 | Location: Monaco, Monaco

Jardin Exotique de Monaco

The Jardin Exotique de Monaco is a botanical garden located on a cliffside in Monaco. The succulent plants were brought back from Mexico in the late 1860s. By 1895, Augustin Gastaud, who served as the Chief Gardener of the State Gardens of Monaco, grew the succulents in the Jardin St Martin. Albert I, Prince of Monaco acquired a piece of land in Les Moneghetti in 1912. He commissioned Louis Notari, the Chief Engineer of ...
Founded: 1860s | Location: Monaco, Monaco

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.