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Vatican City State
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Flag of Vatican City State (Holy See)


Country Profile

Capital City: Vatican City

Other Cities: none

Local Time
: UTC +1h

Location: Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)
Area: total of 0.44 sq. km. (109 acres)

Border countries
: Italy

Climate: temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)


Type: Papacy; ecclesiastical governmental and administrative capital of the Roman Catholic Church.
Chief of state: Pope JOHN PAUL II (since 16 October 1978)
Independence: Lateran Pacts confirming independence and sovereignty of The Holy See signed with Italy on 11 February 1929.
Suffrage: Limited to Cardinals less than 80 years old.
Constitution: new Fundamental Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 26 November 2000.
Text of the new Fundamental Law

Nationality: none
Population: 900
Ethnic Groups: Italians, Swiss, other
Religions: Roman Catholic
Languages: Italian, Latin, French, various other languages.
Literacy: 100%


Currency: Euro (EUR)

Natural resources: none

Agriculture products: none

Industries: Printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps, a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities.

Internet Links

Official Sites of Vatican

Santa Sede - Vatican

Ioannes Paulus PP. II - Karol Wojtyla

Secretariat of State

The Roman Curia

General Overview on the Holy See and Vatican City State

Vatican City State

Congregazione per il Clero - Santa Sede

Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Map of Vatican City State


Holy See (Vatican City)

Background:  Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian
peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century,
when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of
Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome
itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and
Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established
the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism
special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See
and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including
the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present
concerns of the Holy See include the failing health of Pope John Paul II,
interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the adjustment of church
doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion
people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.

Geography Holy See (Vatican City)

Location:  Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Geographic coordinates:  41 54 N, 12 27 E

Map references:  Europe

Area:  total: 0.44 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 0.44 sq km

Area - comparative:  about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington,

Land boundaries:  total: 3.2 km border countries: Italy 3.2 km

Coastline:  0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)

Climate:  temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot,
dry summers (May to September)

Terrain:  low hill

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: unnamed location 19 m highest point:
unnamed location 75 m

Natural resources:  none

Land use:  arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (urban area)
(1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  0 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  NA

Environment - current issues:  NA

Environment - international agreements:   none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified: Geography - note:  urban; landlocked; enclave
of Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside the Vatican City, 13
buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence)
enjoy extraterritorial rights

People Holy See (Vatican City)

Population:  900 (July 2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.15% (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: none adjective: none

Ethnic groups:  Italians, Swiss, other

Religions:  Roman Catholic

Languages:  Italian, Latin, French, various other languages

Literacy:  definition: NA total population: 100% male: NA% female: NA%

Government Holy See (Vatican City)

Country name:  conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican
City) conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City) local short form:
Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano) local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della
Citta del Vaticano)

Government type:  ecclesiastical

Capital:  Vatican City

Administrative divisions:  none

Independence:  11 February 1929 (from Italy)

National holiday:  Coronation Day of Pope JOHN PAUL II, 22 October (1978)

Constitution:  Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

Legal system:  NA

Suffrage:  limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Executive branch:  chief of state: Pope JOHN PAUL II (since 16 October
1978) head of government: Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo SODANO
(since 2 December
 Pontifical Commission appointed by the pope elections:  16 October 1978
 (next to be held after the death of the current pope);
secretary of state appointed by the pope election results: Karol WOJTYLA
elected pope

Legislative branch:  unicameral Pontifical Commission

Judicial branch:  there are three tribunals responsible for civil and
criminal matters within Vatican City; three other tribunals rule on
issues pertaining to the Holy See note: judicial duties were established
by the Motu Proprio of Pius XII on 1 May 1946

Political parties and leaders:  none

Political pressure groups and leaders:  none (exclusive of influence
exercised by church officers)

International organization participation:  CE (observer), IAEA, ICFTU, IOM
(observer), ITU, NAM (guest), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, UN (observer),
UNCTAD, UNHCR, UPU, WHO (observer), WIPO, WToO (observer), WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop
Gabriel MONTALVO telephone:  Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
R. James "Jim" NICHOLSON embassy: Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane
26, 00162 Rome mailing address: PSC 59, Box F, APO AE 09624 telephone:
[39] (06) 4674-3428 FAX: [39] (06) 5758346

Flag description:  two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white
with the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the papal miter centered in
the white band

Economy Holy See (Vatican City)

Economy - overview:  This unique, noncommercial economy is supported
financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics
throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos,
fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications. The incomes
and living standards of lay workers are comparable to, or somewhat better
than, those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Labor force:  NA

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services
NA%; note - dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers
live outside the Vatican

Budget:  revenues: $209.6 million expenditures: $198.5 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

Industries:  printing and production of a small amount of mosaics and
staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% nuclear:
NA% other: NA%

Electricity - consumption:  NA kWh

Electricity - imports:  NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Italy

Economic aid - recipient:  none

Currency:  euro (EUR); Italian lira (ITL)

Currency code:  EUR; ITL

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Vatican lire per US dollar - 2,099
(2000), 1817.2 (1999), 1,736.2 (1998), 1,703.1 (1997); note - the Vatican
lira is at par with the Italian lira; the Vatican started using euros in
2002 in conjunction with Italy at a fixed rate of 1,936.17 lire per euro

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Holy See (Vatican City)

Telephones - main lines in use:  NA

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: automatic exchange domestic:
tied into Italian system international: uses Italian system

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios:  NA

Television broadcast stations:  1 (1996)

Televisions:  NA

Internet country code:  .va

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  NA

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Holy See (Vatican City)

Railways:  total: 0.86 km standard gauge: 0.86 km 1.435-m gauge note:
a spur of the Italian Railways system, serving Rome's Saint Peter's
station (2001 est.)

Highways:  none; all city streets

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  none

Airports:  none (2001)

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Holy See (Vatican City)

Military branches:  Swiss Guards Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera)

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal
Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City to provide security
and protect the Pope

Transnational Issues Holy See (Vatican City)

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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