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The Vatican City ( Italian: Città del Vaticano ; Latin: Civitas Vaticana), and officially the Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano; Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae), is a walled enclave within the city of Rome.
It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, it is the smallest independent city-state in the world by both area and population. It is an ecclesiastical state 'ruled by' the Bishop of Rome – the Pope, where the highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins.
It came into existence in 1929 through the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy. According to the terms of the treaty, the Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over the city-state. The unique economy of the Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.
And the entire area is a complex rich and extraordinary collection of just about every feature of sacred geography. Thus it is a symbol made up of symbols, which themselves include symbols in a great nested structure of almost Russian doll like complexity.
The entire layout along with almost every feature is a sacred geography symbol, as such it is somewhat impossible within one page to describe every feature. We have thus provided links to the various individual religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican gardens. Even then we have found it somewhat difficult to do these justice:
- The Sistine chapel - we have described all the symbols used in the decoration of the Sistine chapel under the heading of Michelangelo, as it was his conception
- St. Peter's Square (Italian: Piazza San Pietro, Latin: Forum Sancti Petri) is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City
- St Peter's Basilica - The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply St. Peter's Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is an Italian Renaissance church
- Castel Sant'Angelo - English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is – despite the fact it is a secular building, part of the Vatican complex
- Vatican City gardens - Within the territory of the Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani), which account for more than half of this territory.
- Vatican museums - The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani) are the museums of the Vatican City and are located within the city's boundaries. They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries
The nested structure of Rome’s symbolism
Rome has very complex layered symbolism, like a Russian doll of cosmic eggs within cosmic eggs within cosmic eggs, all of which incorporate the symbolism of the hill [or ‘mountain’]
- The Vatican in the context of Rome – Very old plans of Rome show it too to have been Egg shaped with a wall and within the seven hills representing the seven symbolic Planets.
- The Vatican as Island - The overall area of the entire Vatican is Egg shaped and there are Eggs within Eggs. The map of the area shows the layout as it is now after the Treaty of 1929, but much older maps show a more oval layout with – very importantly rivers surrounding an island.
- The Vatican as Hill - The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of the Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields.
The Swiss Guard
The Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, but the Swiss Guard is a military corps of the Holy See responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and resident in the state.
Soldiers of the Swiss Guard are entitled to hold Vatican City State passports and nationality. Swiss mercenaries were historically recruited by Popes as part of an army for the Papal States, and the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the pope's personal bodyguard and continues to fulfill that function. It is listed in the Annuario Pontificio under "Holy See", not under "State of Vatican City".
At the end of 2005, the Guard had 134 members. Recruitment is arranged by a special agreement between the Holy See and Switzerland. All recruits must be Catholic, unmarried males with Swiss citizenship who have completed their basic training with the Swiss Army with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 174 cm (5 ft 9 in) in height.
They wear the uniform of a harlequin - an extremely gifted shaman capable of performing both the black and white shamanic roles. The colours of the harlequins costume may not always be black and white but are always contrasting. Incorporated into the costume may also be a hat [hill], a collar [ruff], the cone, a mask, a sword, and a cross. Even the baggy trousers to make them look like they have big thighs has a meaning .............
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