20 Fascinating Facts About Vatican City

20 Fascinating Facts About Vatican City

20 Fascinating Facts About Vatican City


1. The entirety of Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the only country in the world to be entirely a site.

2. Vatican City is a landlocked city-state located in Southern Europe bordering Italy.

3. Being surrounded entirely by Italy makes Vatican City not only landlocked but also one of just three enclave countries in the world. The other two are San Marino (also surrounded entirely by Italy) and Lesotho (surrounded entirely by South Africa).

4. Vatican City is also completely surrounded by the Italian capital city of Rome.

5. Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state by area.

Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state by area.

6. It also has the world’s smallest population of any independent state.

7. Vatican City is the residence of the spiritual leadership of the Pope, the Roman Catholic Church.

8. Vatican City is all that remains of the extensive Papal States of central Italy. the Papal States were territories over which the pope had sovereignty from 756 to 1870. They were steadily conquered by Italian forces during the course of Italian unification during the 19th century.

9. Vatican City has a tiny International border of just 3.4km (2.1mi).

10. There is currently only one pet in Vatican City A dog.

There is currently only one pet in Vatican City  A dog.

11. From 1870 to 1929, popes refused to leave the Vatican as they refused to recognize the authority of the Kingdom of Italy. They were known as “prisoners in the Vatican” until 1929 when Italy’s Fascist government negotiated the Lateran Pacts that created the present city-state.

12. Vatican City is one of just 21 countries that do not have an army or regular military force. Instead, it relies on Italy for defense. It does, however, maintain the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera Pontificia) which is largely ceremonial.

13. One of the Vatican’s most famous sites is St Peter’s Basilica. It was completed in 1626 after 120 years of construction. With a 187m-long (646 ft) interior and covering more than 15,000 sq m (3.7 acres), it is Italy’s largest and richest basilica.

14. St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is the second largest church in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast.

15. St Peter’s Basilica is built on top of the Tomb of St Peter which is believed to contain the remains of St Peter (Peter the Apostle), one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ and one of the first leaders of the early Church.

St Peter’s Basilica

16. Vatican City is also known as Holy See – the name given to the government of the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the pope as the bishop of Rome.

17. In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope to resign from office since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. Pope Benedict cited his age and declining health as reasons for his resignation.

18. The Vatican City is home to the Sistine Chapel, which houses two of the world’s most famous works of art: Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes (1508–12) and his Giudizio Universale (Last Judgment; 1536–41).

19. Vatican City is one of just two countries where divorce is illegal. The other is the Philippines.

20. The Vatican Apostolic Library contains a collection of around 150,000 manuscripts and 1.6 million printed books. It is one of the world’s richest manuscript depositories and contains 85km (53mi) of shelving and an underground vault known as “the Bunker”.




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