Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises

Monaco

The Casino City

Although it doesn't have the size of a typical European city, Monaco has a lot to offer. This second smallest state in the world is famous for casinos and being incredibly multicultural. With merely 38,000 inhabitants, this city-state is in fact home to 125 different nationalities.

Its land border is only 5.47 km (3.40 miles) long, and its coastline along the Mediterranean Sea is under 4km (2.4 miles). Yet, due to its history and wealth, Monaco offers a unique experience to every visitor.

Monaco

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A Brief History of Monaco

  • According to an ancient myth, Greek god Hercules passed through Monaco, after which a temple called Hercules Monoikos was constructed. Shortly afterwards, the entire area was named after this temple.
  • The city belonged to the Romans, who eventually passed it over to the Genoese (Italians). A particularly rich family, the Grimaldi, contested Genoese ownership, and eventually took over Monaco. Members of this family have ruled Monaco since 1297, with short interruptions.
  • Monaco's neighboring countries, Italy and France, each administered the city for short periods of time, but eventually allowed it to remain independent.
  • Although Monaco is fully sovereign, France is still responsible for its defense.
  • Monaco is a constitutional monarchy and its head of state is Prince Albert II. Although not a member, Monaco actively participates in certain affairs of the European Union.

Monaco


Attractions

Monte Carlo

It is commonly believed that Monaco is a country and Monte Carlo its capital city, however, this is not true. Monte Carlo is only one of Monaco's districts, but it surely is the most famous one.

In Monte Carlo, you can find numerous luxury hotels and restaurants, as well as the country's only opera house. The Opera, known as Salle Garnier, is beautifully decorated in red and gold, and it regularly hosts some of the most well-known international performances, including ballet.

Furthermore, this area is also where the Prince's Palace is. This amazing palace originates from the 12th century, and has been the residence of the Grimaldi family for centuries.

The Palace is open for the public, so many tourists decide to watch the catching of the guard ceremony performed every day at 11.55 am. Another reason why Monte Carlo is attractive for tourists is that Monaco's only public beach is located in this neighborhood.

Monte Carlo


Jardin Exotique

With several thousand rare plants from all over the world, the Jardin Exotique (Exotic Garden) is definitely worth visiting. Considering Monaco's high altitude, there is a significant collection of subtropical and desert plants. Walking around the garden, you will not only see large cacti and quite unique rock formations, but you will also have a great view of Monaco's coast.

Jardin Exotique


The Church of the Sacred Heart

Not far from the Jardin Exotique stands one of the most beautiful churches in Monaco, the Church of the Sacred Heart. It was built in 1929 by Italian Jesuits as a sanctuary for prayers. During the construction, the church's interior was embellished with frescos painted by Italian painters. These frescos were recently renovated, so their original bright colors are visible again.


Things to do in Monaco

  • Each year, Monaco hosts Formula 1 Grand Prix during which world's fastest drivers drive 78 laps around the narrow streets of Monaco. On any other day of the year, tourists can take a ride around the track in a performance car.
  • If you are a car enthusiast, you should also check out the Prince's car collection. This impressive collection of cars takes you on a tour through the history of the Grimaldi family. You will find everything – from old carriages to race cars.
  • Very few tourists leave Monaco without trying their luck in the Grand Casino. It is where the world's richest and most famous people come to have fun, so the entrance fee alone can be quite pricy. Furthermore, the dress code is very strict and tourists are required to wear business clothes.

Grand Casino


Comprehension Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

  1. What does "altitude" mean?
    1. the maturity of someone
    2. the age of someone or something
    3. the height of something in relation to ground or sea level

  2. What does "enthusiast" mean?
    1. a very wise person
    2. a person who is very interested in something
    3. a passionate gambler

  3. What does "dress code" mean?
    1. the way in which members of the royal family dress
    2. the rules by which everyone wears uniforms
    3. an accepted way of dressing for a particular occasion

  4. What does "sanctuary" mean?
    1. a safe place
    2. a holy place
    3. a church chamber

  5. What does "embellish" mean?
    1. make something forbidden
    2. make something more beautiful by adding decorations
    3. give up something


Collocation Questions

  1. Tourists love the __________ of the guard ceremony at the Prince's Palace.
    1. shifting
    2. replacement
    3. changing

  2. The Jardin Exotique has __________ plants from all over the world.
    1. atypical
    2. odd
    3. rare

  3. __________ myth suggests that Hercules once passed through Monaco.
    1. A past
    2. An ancient
    3. A prehistoric

  4. There are many unique rock __________ in the Jardin Exotique.
    1. formations
    2. sizes
    3. shapes

  1. Grand Casino's dress code is very __________.
    1. tough
    2. harsh
    3. strict

  1. Many __________ hotels are located in Monaco.
    1. A. rich people's
    2. B. luxury
    3. C. expensive

  1. The Grimaldis __________ the Genoese rule of the city until they gained control over it.
    1. disagreed with
    2. fought against
    3. contested

  2. Italy and France are Monaco's __________ countries.
    1. neighboring
    2. surrounding
    3. bordering

  3. The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco since 1297, with brief __________.
    1. pauses
    2. interruptions
    3. disturbances

  4. Many tourists try their __________ in the Grand Casino.
    1. luck
    2. fortune
    3. destiny


Wh Questions

  1. Why are there many subtropical and desert plants in the Jardin Exotique?
    1. because they grow in Monaco
    2. because Monaco is located in a desert
    3. because of Monaco's high altitude

  2. When does the changing of the guards ceremony happen?
    1. at 11.55 am
    2. every Thursday evening
    3. at noon

  3. What are the colors of the Opera House's interior?
    1. silver and red
    2. gold and silver
    3. red and gold

  4. How many public beaches does Monaco have?
    1. none
    2. one
    3. four

  1. Who passed Monaco to the Genoese?
    1. the Romans
    2. Hercules
    3. the French


Evaluating Statements

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is true?
    1. The Church of the Sacred Heart has been built recently.
    2. The Church of the Sacred Heart has recently been renovated.

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is false?
    1. Prince's car collection is a collection of all kinds of cars.
    2. Prince's car collection is a collection of race cars.


True or False?

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "You can enter the Grand Casino wearing sports shoes."
    1. True
    2. False

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "Although independent, Monaco still depends on France for some things."
    1. True
    2. False


Answer Key

1. C | 2. A | 3. C | 4. B | 5. A | 6. C | 7. B | 8. B | 9. A | 10. A | 11. C | 12. B | 13. A | 14. C | 15. B | 16. A | 17. C | 18. B | 19. B | 20. C |21. B | 22. B | 23. A | 24. B


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