The only country in the world that is also a city, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. The area is spread roughly across 121 acres, with a population numbering 800 people. In fact, the next smallest country on the list, which is Monaco, is more than double its size.
Although Latin is not the official language of Christianity, those practiced in the religion will be aware of its importance nevertheless. One of the least known Vatican facts is that the City houses an ATM with instructions in Latin. Of course, there is pictorial aid to help one through.
One of the most interesting of Vatican Facts is that it owns its very own telescope in a completely different country. The Vatican City has its very own Observatory, known as the Vatican Observatory. However, owing to light pollution in Rome, it gets difficult to actually put its telescopes to use. As a result, the Church decided to purchase its own telescope in Mount Graham, Arizona. Called the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, it now sits at the Mount Graham International Observatory.
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II established a sports department to reignite the importance of sports in the Christian community. As a result, the Vatican National football team was born. Known as the Selezione di calcio della Città del Vaticano in Italian, it is one of the online nine football teams in sovereign nations to not form a part of FIFA. The members of the team are all employed at the Vatican in different posts, including Swiss Guards, departmental workers, and more.
At 300 meters in length, Vatican City has the shortest railway in the world. The railway started its operation from 1934 and was mainly used for freight transfer, although it did start passenger service from 2015.
One of the most interesting Vatican City facts is that it is the only country in the world to receive the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Country. The entire country was designated a Heritage Site in 1984, owing to its impressive museums, libraries, churches and other vastly important historical landmarks.
Vatican City is an unarmed city, and does not have an army of its own. Instead, it has a troupe of Swiss Guards, which act as its military protection. Founded in 1506, the Swiss Guards are the world’s oldest military unit in place. To be a part of the Swiss Guards, one has to be Swiss by nationality and have trained with the Swiss Armed Forces.
One of the most interesting Vatican city facts is that it has no hospitals within its borders; as a result, no children are born in Vatican City, and thus no one becomes an automatic citizen here. Instead, one becomes a citizen only when one becomes an employee at the city. These citizenship rights are then revoked one the jobs are transferred out of the city.
The Vatican Museum is known to hold the entire collection of architectural wealth currently owned by the Catholic Church. In fact, it is best known for its stunning pieces of art and architecture, which include the Sistine Chapel, the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Raphael Rooms and the Chapel of Beato Angelico.
The Vatican Museums display all of the collections gathered by the papacy over the centuries, including some of the most renowned Roman sculptures and Renaissance art found anywhere in the world. Displays at the Museum include works by Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, Raphael, and Carvaggio among others. The Vatican Historical Museum also displays the portraits and artifacts peddled down through papacy since the 16th century.
While the St. Peter’s Basilica is not located within the Museum itself, it’s located at a very short distance from them.
The Vatican City is open to tourists. Its museums, chapels and churches welcome visitors, although tourists are not allowed to entire places where official papal proceedings take place.
The artistic wealth of the city is one of the best known Vatican facts, and has earned it the title of a UNESCO Heritage Site. Home to one of the world’s biggest and most impressive collections of art and architecture, the city is definitely worth a visit.
One should reserve at least one entire day to tour all that Vatican City has to offer. The nine Vatican Museums themselves require about 3-4 hours to explore, while the other popular landmarks should require about 2 hours each.