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Facts about Vatican City For Kids


Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. It is located within Rome, Italy. The head of state of Vatican City is called the pope, which makes him a monarch. The pope singly oversees both Holy See and Catholic Church worldwide, reigning Pontiff as one of seven individuals on Earth whose fellow Catholics accord this title. While not recognized as an independent country, it does have diplomatic relations with 190 countries, including all members of the United Nations, and has its own passport and embassy network.

The territory it occupies was first given to Saint Peter at this site, now called Vatican Hill, around A.D. 67. It was also the site of the two previous Papal residences, later known as the Vatican Palace and Castel Sant’Angelo. Though it has been ruled by various Holy Roman Emperors, including Charlemagne and Henry IV, Pope Innocent III founded the Papal States in the thirteenth century and declared it a separate state, complete with its own government and laws.

Saint Peter’s Basilica is the current cathedral of Vatican City until a new one is built after 1829. The current architect is Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who worked on both Saint Peter’s Basilica and Saint Peters Dome, located near Castel Sant’Angelo.

There are four languages in Vatican City: Latin, Italian, German, and English. Currently, all documents and stamps are in Latin, Italian and English. The official currency is the Euro (€). Only one television station (Vatican Channel), one newspaper (L’Osservatore Romano), and an official web presence.

The Vatican City has about 1,000 people and is currently served by 115 Cardinals who reside there in the Casa Santa Marta (St. Martin’s House). Each country in the world has a cardinal who oversees Catholic life in their respective country. In addition, twelve cardinals are members of the Roman Curia (the central administrative body for the Vatican City):

Saint Peter’s Basilica is the current cathedral of Vatican City until a new one is built after 1829. The current architect is Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who worked on both Saint Peter’s Basilica and Saint Peters Dome, located near Castel Sant’Angelo.