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Strolling around the Exotic Garden of Monaco is another of the delights of this small country. It is a municipal garden that houses thousands of species of succulent plants. These are the ones that are able to withstand long periods without water because they can accumulate water in their leaves, stems and roots. The best known are cactuses, which can resist drying because their leaves have been replaced by spines.
All of these plants have been selected from around the world: the Southwestern United States, Mexico, South America, Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Because of this, regardless of the time of year you visit, you will always find many extravagant flowers adorning the landscape. Also, if you look out to sea, you will have one of the best views possible of the Mediterranean and the Italian coast.
The garden was opened in 1933 with a collection that had begun much earlier, so you will find highly developed plants whose immense sizes will surprise you. Today, it fascinates everybody for its exuberance, rare species and dream-like nooks and crannies.
Also located here is the Observatory Cave. A 60-metre-deep prehistoric cave where you will discover a surreal world with landscapes only imagined by Jules Verne in his Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The stalactites, which hang from the ceiling, and the stalagmites, which rise from the ground, create magical shapes that cannot be missed.
In addition, the presence of prehistoric man in this area can be demonstrated by the remains of bones of animals that served as their food. Apparently, about 250,000 years ago. Because of this, the Prehistoric Anthropology Museum is also located here.
The museum is small, but the value of what is contained in its rooms is incalculable. In the Alberto I room, they talk about prehistory, through objects and Australopithecus fossils, homo erectus and homo sapiens, among other things. And in the Rainier III room, they talk about regional prehistory. That is, collections and local discoveries from digs carried out on the initiative of Prince Albert I between 1895 and 1922.
As you can see, the Exotic Garden keeps a lot of secrets: plants from other worlds, surreal landscapes, archaeological remains and a lot of exciting history. And if you are left wanting more, make sure you visit the garden’s shop. You are sure to take away a curious small cactus to decorate your living room at home.