What is Vatican City?
Vatican city is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory exists within the city of Rome, Italy. It is a recognized national territory under international law. The city has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), making it the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population.
Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See. The See, which is not a country, dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents. While ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian, the official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin.
In addition to its own diplomacy, the Holy See conducts diplomatic relations on behalf of Vatican City and enters into international agreements for it.
Where did the word Vatican come from?
The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, which means Vatican Mount.
Finances of Vatican City
Vatican city had a surplus of 6.7 million euros in 2007 (roughly $8.9 million based on rate of one euro = $1.33 US) but ran a deficit in 2008 of over 15 million euros (over $20 million US).
Does the Vatican have a military?
The defense of Vatican City is the responsibility of Italy. The Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II in 1506 as the personal bodyguard of the Pope and continues to fulfil that function. At the end of 2005 the Guard had 134 members. All recruits must be Catholic, between the ages of 19 and 30, unmarried and have Swiss citizenship.
What composes Vatican City?
The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, museums and other buildings are located.
Comprising nearly half of the territory of Vatican city is the Vatican Gardens. The gardens were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and contain fountains and sculptures.
The art and architecture of Vatican City
The City is home to some of the most famous artwork and architecture in the world.
St. Peter's Basilica is a renowned work of Renaissance architecture whose architects included Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini .
The Sistine Chapel is famous for its frescos. The Chapel contains works by Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Botticelli. It also contains the well-known ceiling and The Last Judgment frescos by Michelangelo.
Artists who decorated the interiors of the Vatican include Raphael and Fra Angelico.
The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are consider of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance.
Interesting facts about Vatican City
The Vatican controls its own Internet Top Level Domain, which is registered as .va. Popular TLDs in the world include .com (commercial), .net (network) and .org (non-profit organization).
The Institute for Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank, is a bank situated in the Vatican that conducts worldwide financial activities. It has an ATM with instructions in Latin, possibly the only one of its kind in the entire world!
In 2012 the U.S. State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed Vatican City, for the first time, among the nations of concern for money-laundering