Vatican City

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The Vatican City (Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae) is a city-state in Europe; the term Holy See is preferred for the diplomatic entity rather than the place. Most of the state is in Italy's capital Rome; it covers only 0.44 km². The main territory lies around the St. Peter's Basilica, while some other churches and palaces in Rome as well as the Pope's summer residence Castel Gandolfo belong to the Vatican City as extraterritorial areas. The head of the Vatican City is the Pope, who is elected by the assembly of cardinals. The current incumbent is Pope Francis, who was elected in 2013. The Pope has total judicial, executive and legislative powers.

While, according to 2003 figures, 253 people live in the Vatican City, 552 have Vatican citizenship (61 cardinals, 346 priests, 101 Swiss Guards and 44 laymen). The official languages spoken in the Vatican City are Latin and Italian. The official religion is Catholicism. Until 2002 the Vatican City had its own currency, the Vatican Lira. The Vatican lira was on par with the Italian lira. Together with Italy, the Vatican City replaced its lira with the euro in 2002.


  • Der Fischer Weltalmanach 2006, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2005.