20 curiosities about the Vatican that will surprise you
Several curious facts about the Vatican, one of the smallest countries in the world.
For Muslims it is Mecca, for Jews it is Jerusalem and for Christians it is Vatican City, the place they must visit at least once before they die.
This city is also the smallest sovereign country in the world, with an area of only half a square kilometer and a population of barely 800 people.
Despite being almost minuscule, there is no shortage of interesting facts about the Holy See. Here we are going to see a few curiosities about the Vatican that few surely know.
20 curiosities about the Vatican
As small as this country is, there are more than a few curiosities to be found, as well as some somewhat turbulent facts about its history.
1. Highest crime rate in the world
Despite being one of the holiest places in all of Christendom, Vatican City is, coincidentally, the place with the highest crime rate in the world.
This is mainly due to the fact that it is a tourist place and where there are innocent tourists taking pictures of everything they see, there are also thieves..
St. Peter's Square is a major focus of pickpockets and other thieves who feel no qualms about stealing in such a sacred place as the Pope's country.
2. Latin is the official language
Latin is not a dead language. Not only because it is still taught as an elective in many institutes and there are people who speak it fluently as any other Romance language. Latin is the official language of the Holy See.
The state's website, ATMs, signs and documents are all written in the language of Virgil.
3. Vatican Bank and its own currency
The Vatican Bank, like any other bank in the world, has its own ATMs.
Another interesting aspect of the Vatican's economy is that the tiny country has gone so far as to issue its own currency, the Vatican lira, whose value was directly linked to the exchange rate.whose value was directly linked to that of the old Italian lira.
However, this changed when Italy joined the Eurozone in 2002, adopting the euro as its currency, something that Vatican City also did, even though it is not even part of the European Union.
4. The Vatican Economy
The Vatican economy is not supported by taxes, since there are none. The country's wealth is sustained by donations from believers, in addition to the income from tourism that the city receives each year. the city receives each year.
With the money obtained in this way, the Holy See can afford the costs of the Pope's trips, maintain churches and schools, as well as the costs of cleaning and maintaining the works in its museums.
5. Swiss Guard
The "police" of this country is called the Swiss Guard, not the Vatican Guard. They are the Pope's bodyguards, easily recognizable by their red, orange, blue and yellow uniforms..
Among the requirements to be part of this particular guard are to be between 19 and 30 years of age, to be single and, naturally, to be devout Catholics. They are Swiss citizens who have received military training.
Once they have been chosen to protect the Pope, the Holy Father grants them a private audience where he himself gives them a blessing.
6. He who drinks, does not sin
Another rather shocking fact, like the one related to the criminality of this small country, is that, despite its minuscule population, there is a lot of drinking in Vatican City, Vatican City drinks a lot.
According to research carried out by the Wine Institute, on average, a Vatican citizen consumes about 55 liters of wine a year.
This is due to the fact that wine is the Blood of Christ and this country is mainly made up of members of the Church, who drink this beverage during religious ceremonies.
However, it is possible that behind this great consumption of the blood of God on Earth is due to the fact that, as the saying goes, he who drinks, sleeps, and therefore does not sin, a fundamental quality in every priest?
Although the exorcism is seen as a practice very distant in time and related to unorthodox circles, the truth is that In the Holy See there is a group of priests who specialize in this type of rituals..
These exorcists, who number about 350, are authorized by the Holy Father, and are among the few who can carry out this type of practice without risking excommunication.
8. St. Peter's Basilica is bigger than an aircraft carrier.
Many people have the misconception that, since Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, it is much smaller than a neighborhood and that there is hardly room for people in it.
This is not true. In fact, its most important building, St. Peter's Basilica, is larger than an aircraft carrier.. This building is 193 meters long and almost 45 meters high.
9. Vatican Radio
In 1929, the then Pope Pius XI commissioned Guglielmo Marconi, known for his contribution to the creation of modern radio, to install a radio transmission system in the Vatican. The station, known as Vatican Radio, began broadcasting in 1931 and is still operating today..
Today it is possible to listen to it on the Vatican's official website, and its main mission is to transmit the word of God to the whole world, which it does in up to 30 different languages.
10. Vatican Archives
The archives located in the Vatican City are shrouded in mystery; however, and despite what many thrillers may imply, many of these documents are publicly accessible, many of these documents are publicly accessible..
In 1881 Pope Leo XIII allowed several scholars to visit the papal archives and, today, part of the private library is open to any visitor. In addition, some of these documents can be visited on the Vatican website.
11. Vatican Cuisine
Who said that a small country would not have its own cuisine? In 2006, the Vatican published a book in which it published several of the Papal State's own recipes.
12. Sparsely inhabited, but very visited
The Vatican is undoubtedly a sparsely populated country. In the 2011 census there were only 793 people living in this city, but nearly 15 million people live in the Vatican.However, about 15 million people visit the country every year.
This means that about 18,915 times more foreigners than residents visit the Vatican every year.
13. Apostolic Penitentiary
The Apostolic Penitentiary is a somewhat murky Vatican organization whose existence has been known about relatively recently.
It came to light in 2009 and consists of a tribunal whose function is to judge those members of the Church who have committed any of the following sins:
- Breaking the secret of confession.
- Having practiced abortion before being ordained.
- Desacralizing the Eucharist.
- Attempting to kill the Holy Pontiff.
- To absolve a lover in confession.
14. Calendar of handsome priests
As if it were a fire station, the Vatican publishes every year a calendar whose protagonists are the most handsome priests of all Christianity..
The most attractive priests in all of Christendom are part of an almanac that serves as a souvenir for visitors and, in this way, they make a little money to keep the Christian faith alive as well as to support the State.
The calendars are sold for about 10 euros per unit and, although it is impossible to go out with any of its protagonists, since the priests must be chaste, more than one (or one) can delight in observing their divine beauty.
15. Vatican nationality
Being born in the Vatican does not mean having Vatican citizenship. Vatican nationality is granted by right and taken away according to need.
Those who have this nationality are a limited group of persons, being fundamentally the Pope, the Vatican ambassadors around the world and the rest of the religious residing in the City. When one ceases to be a Vatican ambassador or to work in the Holy See, this nationality is revoked..
16. The Obelisk
In the center of St. Peter's Square is a large obelisk, which points directly to heaven, representing the link between the Pope on Earth and God in Heaven..
This obelisk comes from Egypt, and was built in the ancient city of Heliopolis when the pharaohs still reigned in the African country. It measures 25.5 meters and was stolen by Caligula.
In the sixteenth century it was placed in the Vatican and it took more than a year to be raised to be as it is today. At the beginning, at its tip you could find a golden ball, which was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar himself.
17. Soccer team
Soccer is played in every country in the world, and the Vatican is no exception, no matter how difficult it is to build a football stadium in the small country.
The Vatican City has its own soccer team, made up mainly of Swiss Guardsmen and some members of the Vatican administration.. It does not belong to FIFA, but it does take part in the occasional international match.
18. Getting married here is forever
Getting married in the Vatican is forever. This state does not contain any laws that allow divorce, so getting married in the Holy See isTherefore, getting married in the Holy See is truly an act of eternal love.
19. Not everything is done by the Pope
I am sure that many people will think that the Pope rules the Vatican absolutely; however, as small and easy as it may seem to control the country, the truth is that he needs certain subordinates.
The Pope is the highest authority, but in the Vatican there is a governor who is in charge of the more executive tasks, i.e., what a president and his council of ministers would do in any other country.that is, what a president and his council of ministers would do in any other country.
This governor, in fact, receives the title of President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City, who is a cardinal chosen by the Pope himself, usually of Italian origin.
20. It has not always been the Pope's residence.
Long before it was decided that Vatican City was to be the definitive seat of the Catholic Church, the popes lived in the Lateran Palace, which is located just on the other side of Rome.
In 1309 the papal court moved to Avignon, France. Seven popes ruled there, until 1377, when the seat was changed again, this time to the Vatican, since the Lateran Palace had been destroyed.
- Vatican City (n.d.). Statto della cità del Vaticano. Vatican City. Retrieved from https://www.vaticanstate.va/it/.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)