The Vatican City State, also briefly Vatican, Vatican City or Vatican called, is the smallest generally recognized state of the world. He is an enclave in Italy within the urban area of Rome, has an area of 0.44 square kilometers and about 830 inhabitants. On the territory of Vatican City include the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Saint Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican palaces and gardens within the walls.
The Vatican City is an absolute elective monarchy, the head of the Pope’s. This is supported by the cardinals elected for life. The Holy See as a non-governmental, independent from the Vatican City to distinctive subject of international law represents the tiny country on the international level. Of the current (2011) 993 people who live in the Vatican, 572 have the Vatican citizenship, which is awarded only temporary and bound to a function. They never replaced the “natural” citizenship.
The official residence of the popes until the 14th Century, not the Vatican, but the Lateran Palace. “Vatican” designated first one on the right bank of the Tiber nearby hill (mons Vaticanus). There was in the ancient world of the circus of the Emperor Nero, in the martyrdom and executions of many Christians and Jews are said to have taken place. North of the circus was a small cemetery, where supposedly the apostle Peter was buried. Soon afterward, a memorial was built there, and the 4th Century, Emperor Constantine erected in its place a large tomb church – the first St. Peter’s Church. The Vatican became the central shrine of worship Peter. In the following centuries caused more buildings on the hill, above all so-called scholae, the pilgrims of different nationalities offered accommodations, chapels and cemeteries, but who also have military installations. Under Leo IV were in the middle of the 9th Century, larger fortifications erected around the entire sanctuary (Leonine city).