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The Holy See, which some might know as the Vatican City, is located as a city-state inside of Rome, Italy. It's a 44 hectare enclave, and is considered to be the smallest independent nation in the world. While most countries have a terrain, this city-state is made up of gardens, cathedrals and various other buildings. It is surrounded by a city-wall that is open at the St. Peters Basilica, which has an imaginary border at the outer limits of the square.

The St. Peters Square is open for the public, which has the Via della Conciliazione leading to it. This sovereign territory, which is the Diocese of Rome and the location of the Apostolic Palace, is overseen by an absolute monarch, the Pope. He oversees the Catholic Church from his ecclesiastical seat, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The Vatican City is considered to be the government capital of the Catholic Church. Its minute size and sovereignty bears only a Swiss Guard and the Corpo della Gendarmeria, its police, for security. The small economy employs the Euro by a special agreement with the European Union, to use only its coinage.

The Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most famous art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire state. The Vatican is 100% Roman Catholic, since the only inhabitants (fewer than the citizens) are the Pope, a small number of Cardinals and other ecclesiastics, the Swiss Guards and a very few others. There are less than 500 residents in this city-state, a small number compared to the millions of people who visit it each year.

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Quick Facts

Population: 61,261,254
Capital: Rome
Per-capita GDP: $ 30900
Size: 301,340 km2
Time Zone: (GMT + 01:00 hour) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris

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Country information is adapted from public domain resources including the CIA World Fact Book and
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