The Vatican is the centre of the Roman Catholic Faith
Story and photographs BY SULTAN JESSA
VATICAN CITY: It is the smallest independent state in the world, but tourists in increasing numbers are flocking here to view a trove of iconic art, architecture and absorb spiritualism.
This city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of Argentina-born Pope Francis, the first pope ever from the Americas.
The Vatican has been thrust into importance ever since Pope Francis assumed control and dramatically changed direction of how things were done in the past. Pope Francis is now in the category of a world leader, speaking out loudly and clearly on climate change, the plight of refugees, wars and conflicts, poverty etc. He has signaled willingness to devote power within the church and to listen to critical voices.
The 266th pope at one time worked as a chemical technologist and a nightclub bouncer. He is noted for his humility and straight forwardness. Pope Francis took over when Pope Benedict XVI, who reigned from 2005 until 2013, announced his resignation on the grounds of old age.
The new pope signaled a willingness to devote power within the church and to listen to critical voices. Many critics have openly said the Vatican’s social policy was out of step with modern reality.
The Vatican’s territory is home to more than 900 priests and nuns of many nationalities.
Until recently, the Vatican City was a popular destination especially Christians wishing to see the Pope or learn more about their faith. The Vatican City packs imposing buildings into its small area. These include St. Peter’s Basilica. Completed in the 17th century, the domed edifice is a pilgrimage site.
The Vatican Museums and Art Galleries house the art collections of the popes. The other main attraction is the Sistine Chapel.
Tourism is one of the principal sources of revenue in the economy of the Vatican City.
The Vatican City packs imposing buildings into its small area.