Culture / Religion
Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete and the removal after the race takes another three weeks. The circuit is incredibly narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Driver Nelson Piquet compared driving the circuit to "riding a bicycle around your living room".
Despite the challenging nature of the course it has only had one fatality, Lorenzo Bandini, who crashed, burned and died three days later from his injuries in 1967. Two other drivers had lucky escapes after they crashed into the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix and Paul Hawkins, during the 1965 race.
Monte Carlo Rally
Since 1911 part of the Monte Carlo Rally has been held in the principality, originally held at the behest of Prince Albert I. Like the Grand Prix, the rally is organised by Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying and from 1973 to 2008 was the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). From 2009 until 2011, the rally served as the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The rally returned to the WRC calendar in 2012 and has been held annually since. Due to Monaco's limited size, all but the whole rally is held in French territory.
The official religion is Roman Catholicism, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution. There are five Roman Catholic parish churches in Monaco and one cathedral, which is the see of the archbishop of Monaco.
The diocese, which has existed since the mid-19th century, was raised to a non-metropolitan archbishopric in 1981 as the Archdiocese of Monaco and remains exempt (i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See). The patron saint is Saint Devota.
Christians comprise a total of 83.2% of Monaco's population.
According to Monaco 2012 International Religious Freedom Report, Protestants are the second largest group after Roman Catholics. There are various Evangelical Protestant communities that gather periodically. The report states that there are two Protestant churches, including the local Anglican church and a Reformed church.
There is one Anglican church (St. Paul's Church), located in the Avenue de Grande Bretagne in Monte Carlo. In 2007 this had a formal membership of 135 Anglicans resident in the principality, but was also serving a considerably larger number of Anglicans temporarily in the country, mostly as tourists. The church site also accommodates an English language library of over 3,000 books. The church is part of the Anglican Diocese in Europe.
Monaco's 2012 International Religious Freedom Report states that there is one Greek Orthodox Church in Monaco.
The Association Culturelle Israélite de Monaco (founded in 1948) is a converted house containing a synagogue, a community Hebrew school, and a kosher food shop, located in Monte Carlo. The community mainly consists of retired Jews from Britain (40%) and North Africa. Two-thirds of the Jewish population is Sephardic, mainly from North Africa, while the other third is Ashkenazi.
The Muslim population of Monaco consists of about 280 people, most of whom are exclusively residents, not citizens. The majority of the Muslim population of Monaco are Arabs, though there are smaller Turkish minorities as well. Monaco does not have any official mosques. There is a Muslim mosque in nearby Beausoleil, France, within easy walking distance of Monaco.