Tuesday, February 2, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 5

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...

Vatican City

This country stands on Vatican Hill in northwestern Rome, Italy west of the Tiber River. It is comprised of roughly 100 acres.

As the smallest country in the world, Vatican City has a 2-mile border within the city of Rome, but functions as an independent state (country). The entire country is about one-eighth the size of New York City's Central Park.

The name of the city-state came from the name of the hill on which it is located – Vaticanus. The perimeter of the Vatican’s territory is surrounded by medieval walls. Within the city-state are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the most notable paintings and sculptures.

It is less than 100 years old. It was formed in 1929.

Vatican City is actually a monarchy which means the Pope is not only the leader of hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, but is also the ruler of this small country.

Vatican City is also known as the Holy See. If you are Catholic or have insight into global geopolitical and religious affairs, you may know that the Catholic Church is represented in the United Nations not as “Vatican City” but as the “Holy See.” The two are distinct, albeit highly intertwined, entities. Vatican City is the actual nation while the Holy See acts as the legal entity controlling much of the Catholic Church worldwide.

As of 2016, the population of the Vatican numbered just 840. This is by far the smallest nation in the world. It also attracts more tourists than anywhere else in the world with nearly 5 ½ million visitors each year. 

Vatican City is not part of the United Nations.

The country is a hill surrounded by a wall. It is the only country in the world that has a wall around most of its territory.

The city is not surrounded by a thick barrier-type wall though. There are plenty of entry points to the city and one may just have to pass a metal detector to gain access.

The entire country is approximately the size of 60 soccer fields.

Even though a tiny state, the Vatican has its own currency, police, prison, and laws. 

Vatican City has its own army. Known officially as the Pontifical Swiss Guard, this army is only 135 people strong. 

The Pope’s personal army has some 135 Swiss Guards. The army has been protecting the pope for more than 500 years now.

Interestingly, it has one of the highest crime rates of any country in the world. Every year about 7 million tourists visit the Holy See, which accounts for the high crime rate per capita.

This tiny country, however, does not have a working prison and has only one judge. Those who are convicted are simply marched to neighboring Italy. 

The Vatican City radio station is broadcast in 20 different languages.

The world's shortest railway is located in the Vatican City.  With just two 300-metre tracks (which is less than one-quarter of a mile) and one station, the Vatican’s railway network is the shortest in the world. It’s used for importing goods and for ceremonial purposes and there are no regular passenger trains scheduled. 

Airplanes cannot pass over the airspace of the Vatican.

There are no traffic lights in Vatican City.

Vatican citizens drink more wine per person than citizens of any other country, according to the statistics of the California Wine Institute. Residents consume about 105 bottles over the course of a year

The Vatican is home to the biggest library in the world in terms of books collected, with over 1.1 million texts in its collections, with around 6,000 new acquisitions being added each year. It is one of the largest collections of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew texts in the world.

With light pollution increasing in Rome, it became increasingly difficult to use the Vatican’s Observatory located 15 miles outside of the city so, in 1981 the Vatican purchased a state of the art telescope that sits on top of Mount Graham in southeast Arizona. 

Gardens of the Vatican are one of the most protected places in the world. They considered as the most beautiful gardens in Europe. There, people with special rights can perfectly relax among greenery and silence. Moreover, 20 gardeners take care of these gardens on a regular basis.

The country generates its substantial wealth through worldwide donations to the Church. These voluntary contributions are made by individuals of the Roman Catholic faith, and are known as Peter's Pence. The term dates back to the 8th century, when the custom of collecting money for the Church originated in the early English kingdom of Wessex, which imposed an annual tax of one penny (or pence) on each family to send to Rome. The custom spread, and nowadays, the largest sums are given by Catholics in the United States.

There is an ATM in Vatican City which can be assessed in Latin. It is thought to be the only ATM in the world of this kind. It is run by the Vatican Bank.

The economy of the country is supported by the sale of postage stamps, tourist mementos, the entry fee for museums, the sale of publication, etc.

Italians, instead of paying to the Italian government, can donate 8% of their taxes to the Vatican City. This helps the Vatican City meet its expenses.

Vatican City is famous for some of the world’s most popular paintings and sculptures that exist in cultural sites such as St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums.

The Apostolic Palace has more than 1,400 rooms. Its most famous room is the Sistine Chapel. 

The Sistine Chapel is recognized as having the most famous artistic accomplishment ever, which is the ceiling of the chapel, painted by Michelangelo. It took him four years to complete the painting. There are now 7,000 LED lights illuminating this world-famous ceiling. 

St. Peter’s Basilica is the world’s largest Catholic Church. It took 120 years to complete the church and the dome of the church was designed by Michelangelo. It is 400 feet tall and 138 feet in diameter. 

St Peter’s Basilica is more than the area of six football fields. It is capable of holding 60,000 people.

Vatican City has its own football (soccer) team which consists entirely of employees of the tiny country. Police officers, postal workers, and members of the Swiss Guard have all been known to wear the team colors of yellow, blue, and white. 

The Vatican Museums are 9 miles long and they have plenty of art and paintings available in them, which is one of the largest collections of art in the world. It is estimated if someone walked through the museums and spent one minute looking at each painting, it would take four years to finish looking at all of them.

Visitors can become citizens of Vatican City if they're able to find work in the country. However, citizenship is temporary because it is only granted to those who work in the country. Citizenship is removed immediately if someone no longer works in Vatican City. Most of the citizens are the cardinals, bishops, clergy, and Swiss Guard soldiers.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Vatican City... There are no hospitals in the country, which means practically no one can be born there.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Stampin' UP! Wonderful Moments stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Paper: Cougar 110# White and SU Just Jade CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangle

Embellishments: Brads from an unknown vendor


Lynn McAuley said...

I always love when this artist comes out with new images!! What a wonderful card for an expectant mother!!

Carol W said...

Jeanette, this card is awesome. I love the layout it is wonderful. Love the whole card.....and your amazing research and lessons that go with great cards.

Beth Norman-Roberts said...

Lovely card and image. Im so excited to read about Vatican City. Currently tied up but will read tomorrow.

s.mcfeggan@gmail.com said...

Wow and now I know! You have so many amazing stories. I had no idea that you could not be born in Vatican City. Lovely card.

kiwimeskreations said...

What a fabulous card Jeanette, and an unusual fact :). What an incredibly rich nation, both in 'culture' and wealth. i did not realise it was a (literal) nation within a city
Stay safe