Vatican City Identity Card

Country name:
~ conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
~ conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)
~ local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
~ local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)
Area: 0.44 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Highest point: unnamed location 75 m
Population: 921 sq km
Density: 2,093/km2
Population growth rate: 0.01%
Language: Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
Religions: Roman Catholic
Government type: ecclesiastical
Capital: Vatican City
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Vehicle Country Id-Code: V
Calling code: +39 06
Internet country code: .va
Time Zone: + 1.0 H


Fountain in St. Peter's Square

Vatican City, or more formally, the State of the Vatican City centres its activities around the church with the ruler or head of state inheriting his position. Situated in Rome, Italy, the modern-day abode of the Popes is the smallest independent nation state of the world, both area and population wise. The administration of Vatican City is the sole responsibility of the Holy See, which happens to be a seat comprising of the honchos of the Roman Catholic Church and its Eastern Rites. The city takes is named after the Mons Vaticanus or the Vatican Hill, which, along with the adjacent Vatican Fields keeps a sharp watch on the entire Christendom.


The Vatican City, located on the Vatican Hill in the north-western part of Rome, has the Tiber river several hundred metres west. Sharing common borders with Italy, it runs for a 3.2km in total, closely following the city wall that once offered protection to the Papal existence from the attack of the outsiders. A funny fact remains with the St. Peter's Square in front of the St. Peter's Basilica; the correct border of the city lies just outside the ellipse formed by Bernini's colonade. Vatican, being the smallest autonomous state in the world at 0.44 km² (108.7 acres) in area, enjoys the privilege of extraterritoriality. This became possible due to the Lateran Treaties, which stated the authority of the Holy See on its properties outside the territories of the City State. These properties include Major Basilicas, Curial and Diocesan offices and Castel Gandolfo.

St. Peter's Basilica


The climate of the Vatican City matches that with Rome; the temperate, Mediterranean climate offers mild, rainy winters from September to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to August.


St. Peter's Square

Once an uninhabited part of Rome, the Vatican City was always considered a consecrated place. Accounted since before the advent of Christianity, the first church of the Vatican was built in 326 AD, which is the Constantine's basilica. The construction was made on the tomb of Saint Peter, initiating human settlement thereafter.
The Popes, being religious leaders played their secular role for gradually extending their papacy over the neighbouring areas; the regions within the Papal States consisted of a major section of the Italian peninsula, which they ruled for more than a millennium. The Papal Kingdom ended by the middle of the 19th century, as the newly united Kingdom of Italy took over.
1870 saw the Pope's authorities being limited further; it was just Rome that remained annexed to the Pope-dom. It was by Feb.11 1929 that the three Lateran (The Lateran is on one of the 7 hills of Rome) treaties established the independent state of the Vatican City under the order of Mussolini. Since then, Roman Catholicism obtained a special status in Italy.


The economy of the Vatican City is a rather unbalanced one, with the incoming revenues in 2003 reaching $252 million, the state expenditures amounted to $264 million the same year. The industries requiring a special mention are the printing and production sector, which concentrate solely upon the mosaics and staff uniforms. The city also has its feet into worldwide banking and other financial activities, though rendering the economy into a unique, non-commercial one. A major support for Vatican’s economy comes from the donations and contributions from Roman Catholics all over the globe. The huge sales of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums and the sale of publications also come in to support the economy of the Pope-dom. The currency that runs here is the Euro, introduced on January 1, 2002. The banking sector however, comprises of only one bank, The Vatican Bank.


The Head of State being the Pope himself, it is the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City that aids him in performing the court functions. The commission consists of the Heads of the Government - the Secretary of State and Governor of Vatican City (also addressed as the President of Vatican City). The positions are at present occupied by Pope Benedict XVI, Angelo Cardinal Sodano and Edmund Cardinal Szoka respectively. The Holy See runs a separate government; it consists of the Roman Curia with members of the College of Cardinals.
The Holy See also maintains all diplomatic relations for the Vatican City with 174 sovereign states, the European Union, and the Order of Malta. The Holy See also looks after the City’s relations with Russia as well as the Palestine Liberation Organisation.




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