We consider the gravitational properties of a global monopole on the basis of the simplest Higgs scalar triplet model in general relativity. We begin with establishing some common features of hedgehog-type solutions with a regular center, independent of the choice of the symmetry-breaking potential. There are six types of qualitative behaviors of the solutions; we show, in particular, that the metric can contain at most one simple horizon. For the standard Mexican hat potential, the previously known properties of the solutions are confirmed and some new results are obtained. Thus, we show analytically that solutions with the monotonically growing Higgs field and finite energy in the static region exist only in the interval 1 < γ < 3, where γ is the squared energy of spontaneous symmetry breaking in Planck units. The cosmological properties of these globally regular solutions apparently favor the idea that the standard Big Bang might be replaced with a nonsingular static core and a horizon appearing as a result of some symmetry-breaking phase transition at the Planck energy scale. In addition to the monotonic solutions, we present and analyze a sequence of families of new solutions with the oscillating Higgs field. These families are parametrized by n, the number of knots of the Higgs field, and exist for γ < γn = 6/[(2n + 1)(n + 2)]; all such solutions possess a horizon and a singularity beyond it. © 2002 MAIK "Nauka/Interperiodica".