Landmarks of Monaco / Monaco Cathedral cover

Landmarks of Monaco / Monaco Cathedral


The world’s second smallest state is also world’s richest, and it shows! Some of the most amazing landmarks in Monaco include the famous casino, opera house, opulent hotels and city palaces.

NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.

Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Rock of Monaco

Rock of Monaco

Paul Downey

(CC BY 2.0)

Natural Landmarks

The Observatory Cave

A natural cave at the foot of the Exotic Gardens, with stalactites and stalagmites, curtains, helictites, also some rimstone dams. The cave contains evidence of inhabitation by prehistoric humans up to 200,000 years old. An anthropology museum has been established nearby.

Man-made Landmarks

Man-made Landmarks

Monte Carlo Casino


(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Man-Made Landmarks (cont.)

Exotic Gardens – The botanical gardens have a beautiful view of the Mediterranean and is home to a very rich collection of succulents.

The garden is perched at the top of a 98 m high cliff.

Hôtel de Paris, Monte-Carlo – A luxury hotel designed in the Beaux Artes style, built in 1863.

Monte Carlo Casino – A large and historically important gambling complex. The ornate structure was built in the 19th century, and has gradually been expanding. It is an outstanding example of the Beaux Arts style.

Napoleon Museum – the museum at the Prince's Palace. Housed in this museum are numerous items that belonged to Napoleon including letters, clothing and other possessions from his exile in Saint Helena.

The Oceanographic Museum

The Oceanographic Museum

Robert Haandrikman

(CC BY 2.0)

Man-Made Landmarks (cont.)

The Oceanographic Museum – An enormous museum built in the Neo-Baroque style in 1910.

The creation and construction of this museum was initiated and led by Prince Albert I. This enormous building towers over a cliff above the Mediterranean and showcases rich collections relating to sea fauna and exploration. In the basement is a large aquarium.

Opéra de Monte-Carlo – An ornate opera building, coupled with the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Built in 1879, designed by the famous Beaux Arts designer/architect Charles Garnier, featuring opulent interiors.

Man-Made Landmarks (cont.)

Prince's Palace of Monaco – The royal palace of the rulers of Monaco.

This castle was built in 1191 by Genoese and has been a stronghold of the Grimaldi family since the end of the 13th century. Subsequent Princes of Monaco have often rebuilt and extended this large building. The structure includes medieval fortifications, Renaissance palazzi and wonderful Baroque interiors.

The Monaco Cathedral (Saint Nicholas Cathedral) – a large cathedral in the old city, consecrated in 1875 and built in Neo-Romanesque style. It is located on the site where the first church in Monaco was built in 1252.

Man-Made Landmarks (cont.)

Man-Made Landmarks (cont.)

Monaco Cathedral

Berthold Werner

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Monoco Cathedral

The present day Cathedral of Monaco symbolizes the rebirth of this small principality in the late 19th century,

when Monaco turned into an independent and very rich country. The old, medieval church was torn down and a new, magnificent cathedral was built in its place.

Old church - The present day cathedral is located in the place where the first chapel of Monaco was built.

The permit to build a Christian chapel at the Castle of Monaco was issued by Innocent IV in 1247. This letter was issued in the day of Saint Nicholas of Myra - the same prototype of the contemporary Santa Claus. Thus in 1322 it was decided to dedicate this church to this saint, patron of seafarers.

Construction of this church started in 1252 and over the years this structure was extended and made more beautiful.




(CC BY 2.0)

The New Cathedral

After lengthy quarrels, the parish of Monaco was separated from the Diocese of Nice in 1868 and the decision was made to build a new, larger cathedral.

It was during this time that Monaco suddenly became prosperous – a railway was built and in 1863 the Prince of Monaco had the idea to build a luxurious casino. Thus the small principality had the means to afford an impressive cathedral.

In 1874 the old church of Saint Nicholas was demolished and in 1875 the construction of the new cathedral began.

The cathedral was designed by Charles Lenormand, an architect from Paris. A wonderful light colored limestone from nearby La Turbie, France was used for the construction.

The New Cathedral (cont.)

The construction lasted until 1903 and the cathedral was consecrated in 1911.

Today the cathedral plays an important role in the cultural and religious life of the country. Here they have numerous organized events such as musical performances from the Cathedral Choir School.

The history of the royal family is closely linked to the cathedral with numerous members of the Grimaldi family having been buried here including Albert I, Grave Kelly and Rainier III. Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier married here in 1956.

Retable Paintings By Ludovico Brea

Retable Paintings By Ludovico Brea

Berthold Werner

(CC BY-SA 3.0)


The cathedral was built in the Neo-Romanesque style with many features of Neo-Byzantine style.

Henri Louis Cordier created the sculptures in the facade from 1883 through 1901. He also made the sculptures for the casino in Monte Carlo during this period of time.

The mosaic on the apse of cathedral is a beautiful example of Neo-Byzantine style.

There are 183 stained glass windows in the cathedral, all restored after having incurred damage during World War II.

Description (cont.)

Some important pieces of Renaissance art have also been inherited from the old church.

Especially notable are retable paintings circa 1500 by Ludovico Brea, a famous Renaissance painter showing Mary Magdalene, Saint John (with the donator for the painting, Antoine Teste, at his feet) as well as Saint Nicholas, Saint Stephen, Saint Lawrence and archangel Michael weighing souls.

Another important piece of art is "Pieta" by François Brea (nephew of Louis Brea), painted in the time period between 1500 and 1505.

Organ In The Cathedral

Organ In The Cathedral

Haydn Blackey

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Description (cont.)

The Chapel of Blessed Sacrament houses a beautiful altar from the Old Chapel made from gilded walnut in the Spanish Renaissance style, circa 1667.

This chapel serves as a funeral chapel for bishops and archbishops of Monaco.

Two organs are located in the chapel, along with The Grand Organ made up of 7000 pipes, which was installed in 1976-1980. It is adorned with thin plates of plexiglass that are illuminated according to the tone of instrument.

Main Characteristics

Coordinates: 43.7303 N 7.4227 W

No: 495 (list of all attractions)

Categories: Churches

Values: Art, Architecture

Rank: 5

Address: Europe, Monaco, Rock of Monaco

Alternate names: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Notre Dame of Monaco, Saint Nicholas Cathedral (the previous church, the name erroneously is attributed to present cathedral)

Name in French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée de Monaco

Architect: Charles Lenormand

Architectural style: Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Byzantine

Year of construction: 1875 - 1903

Branch of Christianity: Catholics