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Vatican City Travel Information

World > Europe > Vatican City > Vatican City Information

Vatican city's medieval and Renaissance walls form its boundaries except on the southeast at St. Peter's Square. Within the walls is a miniature nation, with its own diplomatic missions, newspaper, post office, radio station, banking system, army of more than 100 Swiss Guards, and publishing house. Extraterritoriality of the state extends to Castel Gandolfo and to several churches and palaces in Rome proper. Its independent sovereignty was recognized in the Lateran Treaty of 1929. (More Information)

Area: 108.7 acres(44 hectares).
Population (2002 est.):  900.


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The pope has absolute executive, legislative, and judicial powers within the city. He appoints the members of the Vatican's government organs, which are separate from those of the Holy See. The many imposing buildings include St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Palace, and the Vatican Museums. Frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, by Pinturicchio in the Borgia Apartment, and by Raphael in the Stanze (rooms in the papal apartments) are also there. The Vatican Library contains a priceless collection of manuscripts from the pre-Christian and Christian eras. The pope and other representatives of the papal state travel widely to maintain international relations.



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