Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Decoding the Vatican city!

This post was selected for Blog Adda's Spicy Sat Picks

The Vatican is the smallest country in the world, spread across just 0.2 square miles and surrounded by Rome. Having read a couple of Dan Brown novels, I was exposed to every marvel the smallest country had to offer. Home of the Pope, the most powerful Bishop in the world, home to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world, owner of renowned iconic art and architecture and the spiritual center of the world had me interested and before I knew it, it rose to the top of my 'wishlist destinations'.

So how in the world a city-state within a city called Rome happen to become a Country!!?

Long long ago, the Popes used to rule a set of states called Papal states which constituted most of the current modern Italy. It was during this time that the Popes constructed the St.Peter's Basilica and built a wall around and called it the Vatican. 

The kingdom of the then-Italy thought Rome would make an awesome capital for their country and set out to occupy the Papal States.

The Pope hid inside the Basilica, refusing to come out and refusing to acknowledge the presence of Italy leading to self-imprisonment. The king of Italy, not wanting to give rise to religious war, decided to wait him out. Popes kept changing but they never moved out of the Vatican for almost 60 years.

Now comes in Mussolini. Ring any bell? Social studies in school? Nothing ? Never mind.

So Benito Mussolini was the prime minister and he was fed up of the religious turmoil caused by the Popes complaining about the self-imprisonment caused due to Italy. So he decided to make a deal, with the Pope, to score some brownie political points.

1. Italy gave the land of Vatican to the Pope
2. And Italy also gave them a bunch of apology money

In return, the Pope

1.Acknowledges that Italy existed (I don't know why his acknowledgement was such a big deal!)
2. And Pope remains neutral politically and in times of war (All this was after World War 1.)

That's how a deal was signed and a new country, the Vatican city was born.

Hold on! Its about to get more weird.

There are two powerful people in the Vatican. The king and the Pope. Confused ? Never heard about the king? That's true because the Pope is the king himself!

The throne of the Pope is called the 'Holy See' and is treated as a 'company' or a legal corporate person in the International Law. For example, the United Nations has the Holy See as the member and not the Vatican City, the actual country itself !

The presence of the king makes Vatican City the last of absolute monarchies in the world, including the Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland.

And because the Pope is elected, and the King and the Pope are different roles but same persons, it makes Vatican City the world's only Elected, Non-hereditary and absolute Monarchy!

"The strangest consequence of the way Vatican is, is the citizens. While other countries are minting new citizens by the natural way of human reproduction, Vatican City does not."

No one in the Vatican City is a born citizen. Because there are no female Vaticans! The only way you can become a citizen is if the King appoints you as one. And the King will only appoint you as the citizen if you work for the Pope who is also the King!

So if you quit your job, you will lose the citizenship!

It is for this reason that Vatican City doesn't have a permanent population. There are roughly around 500 odd citizens at any point of time. And all of them would be working for the Pope as either Cardinals, or bodyguards  or other church related jobs.

There, that's the story of the Vatican. The next time you see Pope John Paul 15 waving at you, you know what to say!

PS : Please help me get better. Was this informative? Interesting? Something that you would like to read and know? Boring? Why-would-I-read-this-when-I-have-Wiki? Flawed?

Say it out I say!


  1. interesting...I was not aware of the way the Vatican was created.

  2. Very interesting facts on the Vatican, that I didn't know earlier! Enjoyed your post.

  3. I am not a fan of factual posts Sampada, but this was indeed an interesting read. Thankyou for sharing this ! Love how you put it out in this post.

  4. A super awesome post Sampada and the history is quite intriguing. Hehe!! I wouldn't mind to be a citizen of Vatican city.

    1. Haha think before you speak. There are no 'women' remember haha!

  5. That's awesome fabulous. Never knew a word you put out there and I loved it. Please keep sharing these facts.

    1. Thank you Parul! Will try my best to select something most of us will be interested in.

  6. Hey! Congratulations, this post has been featured in Spicy Saturday Picks – August 27, 2016. Great job and keep on blogging!

    Check out the article here:


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