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Visiting Monaco's monument 'Science discovering the riches of the ocean': navigator Prince Albert I of Monaco remembered
Commemorating the expansion of oceanographic knowledge
Monuments of distinguished subjects may be significant both from historical and commemorative perspectives and for their inherent, artistic value. In the Principality of Monaco, a monument commemorating H. S. H. Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848-1922) is no exception.
Prince Albert I was a noted navigator, and his numerous yachting expeditions added significantly to knowledge of the oceans. He notably founded the remarkable Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique ) at Monaco and the Oceanography Institute, (Institut Océanographique ), Paris. A seamount, the Princess Alice Bank, in the Azores was named for his research vessel the Princesse Alice (1), on which the Prince sailed in 1896, when this discovery was made.
Situated close to the Prince's Palace in Monaco Town (Monaco-Ville), a monument commemorates the Silver Jubilee of the reign of Prince Albert of Monaco in 1914. Interestingly, it was representatives of Monaco's foreign residents who gave the monument, sculpted by Constant Roux (1865-1942). A caption gives the following title to the monument: 'Science discovering the riches of the ocean' (La science découvrant les richesses de l'océan ). A relief of the Prince's head is given in the monument, while an allegorical figure of Science, seemingly emerging from the ocean, presents him with a giant squid. Indeed, Prince Albert I's family's dynastic name was given in 1895 to the Grimaldi Scaled Squid, Lepidoteuthis grimaldii .
The figure representing Science emerging from the ocean is complemented by another figure: of a woman holding a fishing net.
Statues of Prince Albert I of Monaco also exist in the Gardens of St. Martin (Jardins Saint-Martin ), and in the Great Hall of the Oceanographic Museum.
Prince Albert I of Monaco himself said of his oceanographic studies, as quoted in a plaque in French in the Gardens of St. Martin:
'During my navigator's career, I received from the sea some testimonies of the laws which determine its role among the world's forces, or which propagate life to the depths of the abyss, and while my eyes were opened to the delight of limitless fruitfulness. A fragment of the mystery which rules Creation, space and time cast light upon itself to give me a serene confidence in the destiny which the universe lays down, balancing organisms with the eternal cycle of life and death.'(2)
(1) Prince Albert I married Princess Alice (née Marie Alice Heine) in 1889, shortly after ascending the throne of Monaco. This research vessel, to which reference is made, was named for the Princess.
(2) Tr. MJFenn.
Also worth seeing
The outstanding visitor attractions of Monaco are too numerous to summerize here adequately, but a few of these in Monaco Town include: the Prince's Palace square, where daily changes of the guard may be witnessed; the Napoleon Museum, housed in a wing of the Prince's Palace; Monaco's Cathedral, where many past members of the Princely family are buried.
How to get there: Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ). Nice airport is a 7-minute helicopter flight from Monaco's heliport (Héliport de Monaco ). There are also bus links from the airport to Monaco. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to Monaco from Downtown Nice. For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Nice include easyJet, from London Luton Airport. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting the Principality of Monaco: witnessing the changing of the Prince's military guard
- Visiting the Principality of Monaco: memories at the Napoleon Museum
- Visiting the Japanese Garden, Monaco: abstract microcosm with complex linguistic nuances
- Visiting the Paris Opera, France: amazingly opulent architecture
- Visiting Foix, France: with its Medieval castle of the Co-Princes of Andorra