It is no longer news that the Vatican is the seat of the holy fathers, the supreme pontiffs of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican also serves as the headquarters of the church. There are so many things about the Vatican city that will amaze you. The country is so secretive that the world is in the dark regarding its affairs.
You’ve been probably reading about this county where Latin and not Italian is the official language. You may be aware that being born there doesn’t make you a citizen. You’ll also be shocked to know that it has the highest crime rate in the world. For a place that is supposed to be a holy country, that is staggering.
The Vatican city also has the highest wine consumption rate in the world. This means compared to other counties, they consume more quantity of wine. The Vatican City has a population of not more than 1,000 citizens. It has a landmass of about 110 acres. The small population and landmass doesn’t deter it from having a multimillion dollar budget. Here are a few things about the Vatican City that will shock you.
Highest Crime Rate
The Vatican City has been known to be a refuge for thieves over the last few years. It has a crime rate of about 1.5 crimes per citizen. Thereby making it the country in the world with the highest crime rate. This has been made possible owing to the influx of tourists into the place. Thieves comes in disguised as tourists and rob other tourists of their hard-earned money.
Also, the crime rate has been unconsciously aided by the fact that the Vatican has only one judge. It also has just one prison. Since the Vatican’s legal code is centered around Italy’s, offenders are simply matched across the border into Italy. The only changes that differentiates the Vatican laws from Italy’s are the modifications on abortion and marriage. The first case of a conviction effected on Vatican soil came in 2007. An employee was discovered to be in the possession of a few ounces of cocaine in his desk. He was later convicted.
The ATMs Are Configured To Speak Latin
Since the official language of the Catholic Church is Latin, it is only natural for the language to be promoted in Catholic country. The Vatican Bank is the only bank on earth whose ATMs addresses customers in Latin. That means if you’re fluent in Latin, you will blend in seamlessly with the banking environment in the Vatican City.
To Qualify To Be The Pope’s Bodyguard, You’ll Have To Be A Swiss
This is incredible, isn’t it? It is true nonetheless. All the bodyguards that works with the pope are all Swiss citizens. The pontifical Swiss guard was inaugurated by Pope Julius II in 1506. The major duty of the Swiss guard is to ensure the security and safety of the supreme pontiff (the pope). To be eligible to become a member of the Swiss guard, you will have to be Catholic, Single, and a male. Also, you’ll have to be aged between 19-30. In terms of height, you’ll need to be 8ft5” and most importantly a Swiss citizen.
You’ll naturally be required to have a basic training in the military. The Swiss guards are often seen manning checkpoints and participating in ceremonies. They are often garbed in bright blue, red, yellow, and orange uniforms. They are easily identifiable.
You’re Permitted To Read The Pope’s Mail
The Vatican City is known to have a secret Archive. However the secrecy aspect to it has been nonexistent since 1881. In that particular year, Pope Leo XIII permitted scholars to visit the archives. These days, it is even more possible for anyone to gain access to the archive.
Within the walls of this archive, people are allowed to vet and scrutinize the letters of every pope. Even popes that were around as far back as 1,000 years ago. As a visitor however, you must identify exactly what you’re after. In order to ensure orderliness.
The librarians doesn’t allow browsing within 52 miles of the shelves in the archives. The most famous correspondent is that written by King Henry VIII. In that letter, he specifically demanded that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon be annulled. Pope Clement VII however declined that request. The aftermath of this decline was the breakaway of the Church of England from the Catholic Church.
The Pope Enjoy Texting
Pope Benedict XVI during his tenure used to send text messages containing his homilies to mobile subscribers around the world. The Vatican went ahead to open an official YouTube channel in 2009. This channel shows different papal ceremonies as well as addresses. A multilingual version of its breviary was released on the iPhone platform by the Vatican recently.
The Vatican City has now embraced technology and innovation on various platforms. Pope Benedict before his resignation, opened a Twitter account. In its commitment to fighting climate change, it had had solar panels attached to the roof of the Pope Paul VI auditorium.
There’s No Junior Pope
In the Vatican, there’s nothing like a vice Pope. Once you become a cardinal, you automatically become eligible to be elected as the Pope. Once your election is confirmed by the college of cardinal, you become the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for life.
A cardinal can be permitted to become head of state of the Vatican. That is in situations where the Pope is physically unable to. However that particular cardinal isn’t permitted to carry out the Pope’s ceremonial activities. When a Pope falls ill for instance, masses and benediction remains unperformed until he recovers or in some cases dies.
The Economy Of The Vatican Is Faith-based
The Vatican needs large sums of money amounting to several millions of dollars to function. From these money, it carries out its financial responsibilities that includes: operating international embassies, funding the Pope’s travel around the world, carrying out maintenance on ancient basilicas and cathedrals, as well as donations to several schools, churches, and hospitals around the world.
The primary source of this money is from the tithe and offering collected by the local churches. About $100 million dollars are donated annually to the Vatican from these churches. Other sources of income includes cash gotten from books, museums, stamps, as well as souvenir shops.
It Has One Of The Largest Churches In The World
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world. It is located in the Vatican City. Asides its spiritual significance, the other reason why people flock there is to view its structure. The intricate gold details, marble columns, popular statues, paintings showing divine beings in the Basilica makes it a place to be for many tourists.
Some of the paintings in the Basilica were executed by the famous Michelangelo and Bernini. They serves as a major piece of attraction to some other tourists. The Egyptian obelisk lies in the center of St. Peter’s Square. That obelisk is an 84 foot structure that was transferred to the location in 1586.
What lies beneath the St. Peter’s Basilica is also amazing. Beneath the Basilica are several graves. One of the graves is believed to be that of the first and original Pope, St. Peter.
It Has The World’s Largest Art Collections
The Vatican museums were founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. The museums houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. It is believed that they accommodates about 70,000 art works. Out of that number, 20,000 are on display on Instagram.
About four million tourists flock to the museums every year to have a glimpse of the wonderful paintings found there. Some of the highlights of the museums includes: The Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by the famous Michelangelo, the Raphael Rooms, as well as the Museo Pio-Clementino, etc.
Wednesdays Are The Best Days To See The Pope
You may reason that your best bet to get a glimpse of the Pope is Sunday. However you’re wrong. The best time to see the Pope is on Wednesdays. During such days, he rides round the St. Peter’s Square addressing people in varieties of languages.
To see him you’ll naturally require a ticket. You can get those tickets at the Vatican’s Bronze Doors from the Swiss guards. At the end of the ceremony, the Pope naturally will bless the people. Wednesdays therefore gives you a better chance to see the Pope than any other day in the week.
To go round the Vatican City, it is believed that you only need about an hour to do so. That is to show you how small it is. However, to go through the wealth and riches within that small city, it will take you months to do. It has its own currency, army, as well as constitution.
So is there something I’m missing? Let me know in the comments section below.