Vatican City

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View of the St Peter's Cathedral Vatican Rome

Vatican City, a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It's home to the Pope and a place of iconic art and architecture.

Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

The unique economy of Vatican City is based on the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.

The name Vatican takes origin from Vatican Hill, the geographic location of the state. "Vatican" is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, Vatica or Vaticum meaning garden

Its famous Vatican Museums display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world such as frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling . The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display.

It’s interesting to know that Vatican Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary in 2006 as the origin of the museum dates back to 16th century and the discovery of one marble sculpture, famous “Laocoön and His Sons”. After its discovery it was purchased and put on display by Pope Julius II which marks the beginning of the Museums.

Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, although the Swiss Guard is a military corps of the Holy See responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and resident in the state. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard are entitled to hold Vatican City State passports and nationality. Swiss mercenaries were historically recruited by Popes as part of an army for the Papal States, and the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the pope's personal bodyguard and continues to fulfill that function.
Recruitment is arranged by a special agreement between the Holy See and Switzerland. All recruits must be Catholic, unmarried males with Swiss citizenship who have completed their basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 174 cm (5 ft 9 in) in height. Members are equipped with small arms and the traditional halberd (also called the Swiss voulge), and trained in bodyguarding tactics.