Is Vatican City a country?

EVERYONE'S heard of the Vatican City – the home of the Pope.

But is it really a country? And if so why is it called a city?

Is Vatican City a country?

Yes, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, with the whole country surrounded by the Italian capital city of Rome.

It is an absolute monarchy headed by the Pope, and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its government and territorial boundaries are internationally recognised and although it is not a member of the UN, it has permanent non-member observer status.

The Vatican maintains diplomatic relations with 174 other nations, but its external defence is the responsibility of Italy.

Electricity, telephones, and other utilities are also provided by Italy.

It makes its money from the sale of souvenirs, museum admission fees, stamp sales, and contributions to the fund.

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The Vatican mints its own Euros, issues passports and licence plates, but has no taxation system of its own.

It has its own media outlets and web domain.

How big is the Vatican City?

The Vatican City is the smallest country in the World – it takes about 40 minutes to walk fully around its walls.

But it packs an awful lot into its tiny size – including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, and the largest art collection in the world.

It comprises of just 100 acres within a two mile border, making it just one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York.

Its border is just two miles long and does not have any border passport control.

The country only consists of one city so there is no capital, but it does have its own flag and anthem.

It is so small there are no buses, trams or trains, and no airport or highways.

The Vatican has a state-of-the-art telescope for astronomical research on Mount Graham in Tucson, Arizona.

Where is the Vatican City located?

The Vatican City is a country within a city, as it is surrounded entirely by Rome, in the west of Italy.

It is the last of what was once a great collection of places called the Papal States.

After a long war, the newly-united Kingdom of Italy brought the Papal States under their governance, in the mid 19th century.

But some religious men holed up in The Vatican and refused to acknowledge the Kingdom.

In February 1929, Benito Mussolini, former Prime Minister of Italy, and the Church, signed the Lateran Treaty, confirming that Italy recognised the Vatican as an independent nation.

The tiny country was given assets worth the equivalent of a billion pounds as compensation.

What is the population of the Vatican City?

The Vatican City is not just the smallest country in size, but also in population.

It has around 800 residents, all selected by the Pope, because you can’t be born a resident of the Vatican.

Around 3,000 people commute in to work there each day, and millions of tourists visit world-famous sights like St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Papal art collection.

Roman Emperor Coligula took the obelisk that stands in St Peter’s Square from Egypt for his mother’s garde – it is a single piece of red granite weighing more than 350 tonnes.

Who lives in the Vatican City?

The only people allowed to live in the Vatican City are Roman Catholics.

The Pope, Swiss Guard, cardinals and other clergy are residents of the Vatican City – but over half live abroad as ambassadors.

Roughly one in six citizens is a member of the Swiss Guard, who are there to protect the Pope.

They are a fully-trained force of unmarried Swiss citizens, aged between 19 and 30.

Three-quarters of the Guard were once killed defending a Pope who fled to safety down a secret passage, in 1529.

The Pope's official home is the Apostolic Palace, also known as the Vatican Palace, Papal Palace, or palace of the Vatican

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