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Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Discover the ecclesiastical center of the principality at this grand white-stone basilica where royals are married and locals worship.

Built in the Roman-Byzantine style, the grand Saint Nicholas Cathedral is an artistic marvel inside and out. The exterior has the same type of simple curves and bright white stone that also characterizes the nearby Oceanographic Museum and the Prince's Palace, while the inside features a marble altar, mosaics and marble walls. Admire the elegant architecture and learn about the role of this important cathedral.

The cathedral was built in 1875 on the site of an earlier 13th-century church. Since then, it has hosted several royal marriages including that of Prince Rainier to Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly. Note that the church is also their final resting place as well as the burial site for other royals.

Before heading inside, take a moment to admire the façade. Three arches form a symmetrical entrance to the church, which is overlooked by a statue of Saint Nicholas. Three chapels dedicated to different saints adjoin the main building.

Explore the gleaming interior, which features a Carrara marble altar from the early 16th century. Religious mosaics, paintings and statues are spread throughout the building. Look for a stained-glass window from the medieval era. Walk past three naves and see the tombs where royalty, including Princess Grace, are buried.

Come here on a Sunday to hear the Monaco Boys' Choir sing Mass. Worshippers flock to the cathedral for the meeting, which begins in midmorning. High Masses are held during religious festivals and on Monaco's national holiday.

Wander the surrounding area to see other royal sites, such as the Prince's Palace. The State Apartments are open for the public to explore and contain paintings and frescoes in each room. The Oceanographic Museum, commissioned by Prince Albert I, is another architectural marvel in the neighborhood worth seeking out.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral is open to the public throughout the year except for occasional closures during private events. Entrance is free. To get here, take a bus to Place de la Visitation stop, which is less than a 5-minute walk from the Cathedral.


Guide to Exploring Saint Nicholas Cathedral


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