With an area of less than 1km2, the Vatican is the smallest country in the world and has many interesting things that few visitors know.
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, located in the heart of the Italian capital Rome. The area of this place is only about 0.44 km2. The country has experienced many ups and downs in history and is now under a monarchy led by the Pope. Here are interesting facts few people know about this place, according to The Travel.
Located on a cemetery
St. Peter’s Basilica is actually located on a cemetery. The Vatican Necropolis cemetery dates back to the pagan period, long before the cathedral was built. In AD 64, a terrible fire leveled Rome. Emperor Nero blamed the Christians and blamed them for death. They were executed and crucified by wild animals on Vatican Hill. Among those executed was St. Peter.
It was not until Emperor Constantine ruled and recognized Christianity in Rome that the Vatican was built on the very place where St. Peter’s was believed to have rested. As a result, the basilica’s site is now on his tomb, as well as the cemetery of executed Christians in ancient times.
Popes have not left the Vatican for almost 60 years
Historically, there have been many power disputes between the Italian and Vatican governments. The Vatican was unified in 1870, but before that point, popes had ruled over a group of sovereign states in central Italy. At that time, the Vatican was also a state called Papal States, which means the state of the Pope.
This created tension between the Italian government and the popes as they wanted to maintain control of all the lands around the pope’s state. As a result, a cold war happened. For 60 years, the popes did not leave the Vatican to refuse recognition of the Kingdom of Italy.
In the Vatican there is a secret passageway that is the escape route for the popes. The passage is called the Passetto di Borgo, connecting the Vatican with Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of Angels) along the River Tiber. This secret path saved Pope Clement VII’s life in 1597, while many in the papal defense forces lost their lives.
The pope does not always live in the Vatican
The popes did not live at the Vatican until the 14th century. Before that, they lived in the Lateran palace in Rome. In 1309, the popes left Rome when Pope Clement V established his court in Avignon, France. When they returned to Italy in 1377, the Lateran Palace burned to the ground, making the Vatican the residence of the popes it is today.