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Vatican, Rome

Overview

Flag of the Vatican City State
Flag of the Vatican City State

Photo by Unknown on Wikimedia Commons

Coat of Arms of the Vatican City State
Coat of Arms of the Vatican City State

Photo by Cronholm144 on Wikimedia Commons

If you visit Rome, the Vatican, the religious center of the Christian world and the heart of the Christian Catholic church, is a must-see. The official name for the Vatican is the Vatican City State, "Stato della Citta del Vaticano" in Italian or "Status Civitatis Vaticanae" in Latin. The name "Vatican" comes from "Vaticinium", the Latin word for "Prophecy". It is the smallest independent sovereign state in the world, being an enclave located in the center of Rome, the capital of Italy. Its flag has two vertical yellow and white bands and the Vatican City coat of arms, with the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the Papal Tiara centered in the white band. The national anthem of Vatican is "Inno e Marcia Pontificale". Its political system is a theocracy and its official languages are Italian and Latin. The Vatican has its own railway station, a heliport, power station, publishing house, post office, bank with its own coins and stamps, and supermarket. It has its own radio station Vatican Radio as well, internet service, and newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
The 'Pontifical Swiss Guard'
The 'Pontifical Swiss Guard'

The 'Pontifical Swiss Guard'
The 'Pontifical Swiss Guard'

The Vatican's security is provided by the "Pontifical Swiss Guard" ("Pontificia Cohors Helvetica" in Latin and "Guardia Svizzera Pontificia" in Italian), which has existed since 1506. Dressed in colorful medieval costumes with blue, red and orange stripes and equipped with both traditional weapons and modern firearms, they are unmarried Catholic volunteers recruited from the Swiss military, who must swear their faith to the pope. They are also assisted by the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City. The entire territory of the Vatican State has been in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1984. The Vatican is the residence of the Holy See, the institution represented by the Pope. The Holy See is the Pope's ecclesiastical (clerical) jurisdiction and is distinct from his secular (material) jurisdiction, Vatican City. Through the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed with the Kingdom of Italy, it has properties outside Vatican as well. These properties, although part of Italian territory, having been granted extraterritorial status and enjoy immunities similar to foreign embassies. These are the four major Papal basilicas in Rome: Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, Basilica of Saint Peter, Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore and Saint Paul's Outside the Walls; the Lateran Palace; the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo on Lake Albano, which is the Pope's summer residence, located at 25 kilometers (16 miles) southeast of Rome, as well as others. The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome and the head of state in the Vatican. He holds the supreme executive, legislative and judicial power over the Vatican State and over the Holy See. He is elected for life in the conclave by all the cardinals, who are up to 80 years old. The cathedra (official seat) of the bishop of Rome, the Pope, is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran (Arcibasilica Papale Di San Giovanni In Laterano), which is considered the "mother church" of the Catholic Church. It is not located in the Vatican but in the city of Rome, on one of the 7 hills of the city, the Caelian Hill. Every Sunday the Pope addresses the faithful from the window of his apostolic palace for the prayer "Angelus". A visit to the Vatican includes:

History

The history of the Vatican is connected to the biblical events and goes back 2,000 years. In July 64 AD, during Emperor Nero's reign, the Great Fire of Rome destroyed two thirds of Rome. It was rumored that Nero, who reigned between 54 and 68 AD and was know for his tyranny and extravagance, ordered the fire to clear space for a new palace. He blamed the devastation on the Christians, people who believed in the teachings of Jesus and the teachers of the holy texts of the Bible with the symbol of the Holy Cross. Thus, the cruelest persecution in the history of religion began. In a very short time thousands of Christians were sentenced to death by crucifixion. Paul, one of the most important apostles (although not one of the Twelve Apostle), who authored thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament (although some believe six of them come from followers writing in his name), was martyred by beheading after the Great Fire of Rome. After Paul's death, Saint Peter, the most prominent of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ and the founder of the Church in Rome and its first bishop (pope), in an attempt to avoid execution, fled Rome and during his travel had a vision of the risen Jesus on Via Appia Antica. Saint Peter asked Jesus: "Quo Vadis, Domine?" ("Where are you going, Lord?"), and he replied "Romam Vado Iterum Crucifigi" ("To Rome to be crucified again"). The church of Domine Quo Vadis stands where Peter had this vision. The church contains a stone imprinted with Jesus' footprints from this event. Gaining the courage needed, Peter returned to Rome and in 67 AD Nero ordered his public martyrdom by crucifixion. Peter asked to be crucified upside down, as he felt unworthy to die the same way Jesus did. The place chosen for Peter's execution was in the recently built Circus of Nero, near the bank of the Tiber, on Ager Vaticanus ("The Vatican Plain"), its name coming from the Latin word "vaticinium", meaning "prophecy". Peter's dead body was buried in a simple grave in a nearby cemetery on Via Cornelia. After almost 300 years, in 326 AD. Emperor Constantine the Great decided to grant freedoms for Christians and built the first Christian church, Constantine's Basilica, on the site where St. Peter was buried in the Vatican Plain ("Ager Vaticanus"), and the history of the Vatican began. Saint Peter became the religious symbol of the city of Rome and his tomb is directly beneath the high altar the magnificent Church that bears his name, Basilica of Saint Peter. The present Vatican City State was founded on February 11, 1929, under Prime Minister Mussolini, through the three Lateran treaties.

Geography

The area of the Vatican is 0.44 square kilometers (0.17 square miles) and is separated from the rest of the streets and buildings of Rome by high stone and brick walls, with small windows and few, currently covered by vegetation. The population is 832 inhabitants. Lowest level: Piazza San Pietro", altitude 33 meters Highest level: Vatican Hill, altitude 77 meters

Link to the Vatican City State's website: www.vaticanstate.va