5 Fun Facts about the Vatican You Should Know

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What is the smallest country in the world? The Vatican City! Still, it has managed to make a mark on history and politics throughout centuries. The headquarters of the Roman Catholic church, the Vatican has had a strong influence on the political, religious, as well as cultural events in Europe as well as the rest of the world. Naturally, its long and turbulent history comes with many perks and secrets.

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Here are five fun facts, you might not know about the Vatican but you definitely should!

1. Vatican City has...

The Vatican may be tiny but that doesn’t mean it’s not a country like any other. For instance, it has its own political structure, an absolute monarchy. The Pope acts as a head of state and enjoys full executive, legislative, and judicial powers. It also has its own flag and even an anthem. Book Rome Colosseum Tickets in 2021.

Still, that’s not all!

In addition to the above, the Vatican also stamps its own €1 coins. Unsurprisingly,  they feature a portrait of the current Pope. The country likewise issues passports, license plates as well as prints stamps with a unique design. Furthermore, its very own and very popular radio station broadcasts in over twenty languages from the tower located inside the Vatican Gardens. The Vatican also has a quite famous post office. In fact,  it’s one of the fastest postal services in the world which is why it’s often used by Romans. Last but not least, you can also find there a pharmacy; railway station; observatory and gardens. Book Vatican tours and tickets in advance.

2. Zero Birth Rate

The current population of the Vatican City is give-or-take 800 people of whom only about 450 hold official citizenship. Even so, around half of those citizens live abroad working as  Vatican's diplomatic representatives around the world.

Unlike in other countries, Vatican citizenship isn’t based on birthrights but only offered to people who are elected to hold offices requiring them to live in the Vatican. It’s practically impossible for anyone to be born within Vatican borders since there is no hospital… 

3. The Largest of Art Collections in the Smallest of Countries

The Vatican City, despite being only over 44 hectares (110 acres) large, comprises one of the largest art collections in the world. The Vatican Museums showcase more than 9 miles of artworks which, if lined up, could circle the entire Vatican four and a half times. It offers over 1400 rooms, galleries, and chapels to discover.

4. The Vatican Consumes the Most Wine Per Capita in the World

It’s a bit shocking but true. The Vatican has the highest wine consumption per number of residents in the world. On average, the country uses over 54 liters of wine per inhabitant. No worries though, the Pope and his Cardinals aren’t binge-drinkers. The high consumption is caused b the large quantity of wine being distributed during holy communion.

5. Why are Swiss Guards Guarding The Vatican?

What are Swiss guards with funky uniforms doing in the Vatican? Well, that’s a long story. A long story that started in the 16th century! Back then,  Pope Julius II followed the trend of the other European courts and hired a mercenary group, a Swiss one, for his personal protection. 

Thanks to their rather pompous and colorful Renaissance-era outfits, most people assume that today they only fulfill ceremonial functions. Wrong! But don’t be fooled. Vatican Swiss guards are extremely well-trained soldiers. To this day, their sole role is to protect the pope at any cost.

And, in case you are wondering: Yes, the guard force is entirely composed of Swiss citizens.

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Created on Feb 15th 2018 08:37. Viewed 434 times.


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