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MonacoMonaco is a sovereign city state, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. Bordered by France on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea, its center is about 16 km from Italy, and is only 13 km north east of Nice, France.
Monaco the second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of only 4.4 km, a coastline of 4.1 km, and a width that varies between 1.7 km and 349 metres.
The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel in the Les Révoires district, which is 161 metres above sea level. Monaco s most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. After a recent expansion of Port Hercules Monaco s total area is 2.05 km2, with new plans to extend the district of Fontvieille, with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Even though Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he still has immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco with brief interruptions, since 1297.
The official language is French but Monégasque Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full UN voting member in 1993, after much political debate. Despite Monaco s independence and separate foreign policy, its defence is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units, totaling 255 officers and men, the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco and the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince.
Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad line to France, and the opening of the first casino, Monte Carlo. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world-famous as a tourist and recreation center for the rich and famous.
However, in more recent years Monaco has become a major banking center holding over €100 billion worth of funds, and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into the services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries. The state has no income tax and low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at $172,676 and GDP PPP per capita at $186,175.
Monaco also has the world's highest life expectancy at nearly 90 years (94 for females), and the lowest unemployment rate at 0%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. For the third year in a row, Monaco in 2011 had the world's most expensive real estate market, at $65,600 per square metre.