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Ever visited the world's smallest country?  

Yes, the smallest country in the world by both area and population, being approximately 44 hectares (110 acres) (0.44 km2) and a population of around 900, Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy.


It  is situated on the Vatican Hill in the west-central part of Rome, several hundred metres west of the Tiber river. Its borders (3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) in total, all within Italy) closely follow the city wall constructed to protect the Pope from outside attack. The situation is more complex at the famous St. Peter's Square in front of St. Peter's Basilica, where the correct border is just outside the ellipse formed by Bernini's colonnade, but where police jurisdiction has been entrusted to Italy


It came into existence in 1929 and is thus distinct from the central authority of the Roman Catholic Church, known as the Holy See, which existed long before 1929. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities even have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, only issues diplomatic and service passports; the state of Vatican City issues normal passports. In both cases the passports issued are very few.

Vatican City is an ecclesiastica or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the bishop of Rome—the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all clergymen of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.

The Pope is ex officio head of state and head of government of Vatican City, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome. The term Holy See refers not to the Vatican state but to the Pope's spiritual and pastoral governance, largely exercised through the Roman Curia. His official title with regard to Vatican City is Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City.

The current Pope is Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Bavaria, Germany.

-By Rajeev Mavani

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