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Countries > Holy See (Vatican City)

Languages   2 languages are spoken in Holy See (Vatican City). We have 186 products available for those languages.

Capital: Vatican City
Population: 850
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Holy See (Vatican City) Map


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

Geographic coordinates: 41 54 N, 12 27 E

Map references: Europe

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

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

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%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 100% (urban area)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements:
party to: none of the selected agreements
signed, but not ratified : Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

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


Population: 900 (July 2002 est.)

Population growth rate:1.15% (2002 est.)

noun: none
adjective: none

Ethnic groups: Italians, Swiss

Religions: Roman Catholic

Languages: Italian, Latin, various other languages


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

Data code: VT

Government type: monarchical-sacerdotal state

National capital: Vatican City

Independence: 11 February 1929 (from Italy)

National holiday: Installation Day of the Pope, 22 October (1978) (John Paul II)
note: Pope John Paul II was elected on 16 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 (Karol WOJTYLA; since 16 October 1978)
head of government: Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo SODANO (since 2 December 1990)
cabinet: Pontifical Commission appointed by Pope
elections: pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; election last held 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:
chief of mission: Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Gabriel MONTALVO
chancery : 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-7121

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador R. James "Jim" NICHOLSON
embassy: Villa Domiziana, Via Delle Terme Deciane 26, Rome 00153
mailing address: PSC 59, APO AE 09624
telephone : [39] (6) 46741
FAX: [39] (6) 5758346, 57300682

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 - 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.

Labor force: NA
by occupation: dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers who live outside the Vatican

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 - capacity: 5,000 kW standby
note : electricity supplied by Italy

Electricity - production: NA kWh
note: electricity supplied by Italy

Electricity - consumption per capita: NA kWh

Currency: euro (EUR); 1 Italian lira (ITL) = 100 centesimi

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


Telephones: 2,000

Telephone system: 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: 0

Televisions: NA


total:0.86 km ;
note - connects to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station
standard gauge: 0.86 km 1.435-m gauge

Highways: none; all city streets

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: none


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

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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