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Port Hercules Monaco

Port Hercules Monaco

On the Mediterranean coast of France is the second smallest state in the world after the Vatican – the southern European Monaco. Since ancient times, the city state has played an important role as a trading centre. In the central district of La Condamine there is the only deep-water port – Port Hercules, which not only characterizes the city panorama, but also fulfils an important function for shipping even today. As a city of the rich and famous, Port Hercules also stands out as the scene of numerous yachts and cruise ships.

History of the Port Hercules port district

In the sixth century B.C. the colony of Mònoikos was founded by settlers from the west of Anatolia. Already at that time the name referred to the honour of the demigod Hercules. In this epoch the mythological hero was said to have created a path that stretches from Italy to Spain. The Roman ruler Julian described the ancient port in Mònoikos as the concrete work of the demigod Hercules and there was a general belief that Hercules actually passed through the southern European coastal regions. The naming of Port Hercules was therefore very obvious. In the course of the Gallic Wars in the years 58 to 50 B.C., Julius Caesar gained control of the colony as part of the Roman province Gallia Transalpina.

Since Greek and Roman antiquity, Port Hercules, which could be translated literally as Hercules Port, has provided a platform for international trade and general shipping. The La Condamine district around the port area is the second oldest urban district after Monaco-Ville, which has existed since the drafting of a national constitution in 1911. With the addition of new administrative areas, the constant land reclamation and expansion to the sea, the boundaries of the former three districts have changed. Today, La Condamine with the Port Hercules is located between Monaco Ville and Monte Carlo at the Côte d’Azur.

Since then, the port has been continuously expanded and modernized, largely due to the fact that the Greeks and Romans already had to struggle with the easterly winds that created an unfavorable air current in the bay. In July 1901 the construction of two quays was started, which still serve as main landing stages today. A 325 metre long protective wall solved the problem of strong wind currents and made it possible for cruise ships of up to 300 metres in length to dock in the harbour. In 1926, the basic construction of the modern Port Hercules was completed, but it was not until the 70s that the first projects for the modernisation of the port facility were started.

 

The modern Port Hercules

With an area of almost 160,000 m2, the port now offers parking spaces and berths for up to 700 vessels. The water depth ranges from the standard 7 metres to 40 metres at the outer docks, which are suitable for cruise ships. This is why the harbour is the biggest magnet for tourists in the city district La Condamine, as here, the precious property of many millionaires who settled in Monaco can be admired. The quays of the Port Hercules bear the names of historical figures and similar characteristics that reflect the long seafaring history of Monaco. Quai l’Hirondelle, for example, embodies the name of the ship that Prince Albert I used to cross the Mediterranean and other waters for scientific research. Other landing stages of the port bear names like Quai Rainier III, which was awarded in honour of the former monarch of the city-state. He helped Monaco enormously to its current reputation, as thousands of onlookers gathered on the docks of Port Hercules to watch the bride’s arrival in 1956 on the occasion of his wedding to the American actress Grace Kelly. Also after the royal wedding, the couple set off for their honeymoon from the harbour, which contributed to the image of Monaco as a place of splendour and glamour by the sea. Due to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the harbour is suitable for a meeting of yacht lovers or sailing fans from the surrounding regions.

 

Attractions around the district of Port Hercules

Every year in September the Monaco Yacht Show takes place, where spectators can take a closer look at the luxurious vessels of the rich and famous and also learn more about the long tradition of seafaring in Monaco. In addition to these benefits and the need for trade and seafaring, Port Hercules also offers a versatile open space, which is very convenient in view of Monaco’s lack of space. In 2011, an estimated 85,000 people watched the live performance of Jean-Michel Jarre at the wedding of Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert II from the docks of the port. For the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula 1, the harbour bay also offers a distinctive backdrop with the adjacent magnificent apartment complexes. The La Condamine region, which includes the port district, also advertises with the idyllic Princess Antoinette Park, the nautical stadium in honour of Rainer III and a regular farmers’ market where tourists can come into contact with the residents and purchase regional products.

 

Property market in La Condamine Port Hercules

Due to the domestic tax policy that favours people with a large fortune, a considerable number of millionaires have settled in Monaco. Apartments with a view to the yachts in the harbour bay are especially popular, as they are considered a kind of status symbol. As living space is limited in this densely populated state, the prices for apartments and residences in the proximity of the harbour are rapidly increasing. Furnished and luxurious apartments in the immediate vicinity of the coast are offered at purchase prices in the six to seven-digit range. Apartments for rent, on the other hand, are available on the market in four to five-digit numbers. Of course, the price is always linked to various aspects such as the number of rooms, the interior design, the location and the view and therefore cannot be stated generally. As long as Monaco maintains its tax policy, which for example does not require an inheritance tax, the small city state will probably remain particularly attractive for people with more capital. In this respect, the limited living space probably means a steadily increasing price of the available properties.

The district of La Condamine around the famous Port Hercules is therefore not only a landmark of southern European Monaco, but also brings with it a long history and a glamorous future.

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