Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vatican City

Vatican City is the world's smallest country whose territory is an enclave within Rome. The Vatican is approximately 44 hectares (~110 acres) and is smaller than the National Mall in DC.

The Holy See dates back to early Christianity and is the "central government" of the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican City was established in 1929, by the Lateran Treaty, between the Holy See and the Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini.

Around 500 people actually have Vatican citizenship. Citizenship is given to those appointed to work on behalf of the Vatican in certain capacities. Most citizens don't even live at the Vatican but are assigned to posts overseas. When the postings are over then citizenship and the Vatican passport is revoked.

Swiss guards have protected every Pope here since 1506.

As a sovereign country it has its own postal service and has its own currency (but good luck actually finding a Vatican Euro coin in circulation). Vatican City is the only independent state that is not a member of the UN, but it does have permanent observer status.

Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The two most well-known sites here are St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum which is home to the Sistine Chapel.

I really wanted to send my grandmother a post card from the Vatican. I'm sure that she would have loved that. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it there before she passed away this year. Though I'm sure that she knows I finally made it.

Update 2022:  Here's a short video I found on YouTube about how the Vatican is a separate country within Italy.

©History Matters

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