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Vatican City Geography and Population

Vatican City - architecture and museums

The large building complex Palazzo Vaticano contains the pope's residence and the rich Vatican museums.

Vatican City Geography

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The papal residence, originally in the Lateran, was 1309-77 in Avignon; then the pope lived in Rome in the Vatican, 1592-1870 however in the Palazzo del Quirinale. Paverne Innocens 3. (1198-1216) and Nicolaus 3. (1277-80) was responsible for the construction of some of the oldest buildings, expanded by Nicolaus 5. (1447-55) and Sixtus 4. (1471-84), who had the Sistine Chapel built near St. Peter's Basilica.

Close by, Giovanni Lorenzo leads Bernini's staircase Scala Regia (1663-66) from St. Peter's Square up to Sala Regia with the adjoining Sala Ducale used for official ceremonies, and Cappella Paolina, adorned by Michelangelo 1542-50.

In this part of the palace, the residence of Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) Appartamento Borgia (the Borgia rooms, decorated by Pinturicchio) with the tower Torre Borgia was also built.

Above, Julius got 2. (1503-13) arranged his living and representation rooms, the stanzas, completed under Leo 10. (1513-21) and from 1508 decorated by Rafael; Julius II also had Bramante begin the arcades, the loggias, which were completed and decorated by Raphael and Giovanni da Udine (closed with glass in 1813).

The palace Palazzo (or Villa) del Belvedere further north was built 1485-87 for Pope Innocent 8; Julius II had it connected to the old Vatican Palace with two long, parallel corridor buildings, built by Bramante.

The adjoining garden was converted into the Cortile del Belvedere farm; the 300 m long courtyard was later broken by two transverse buildings: the Vatican Library, started in 1586 by Domenico Fontana, and the museum building Braccio Nuovo (1817-21). Fontana built 1589-90 Sixtus V 's residence towards St. Peter's Square, where the pope also lives today.

The Vatican's extensive gardens include Pius 4.s Casina, built approximately 1555 by Pirro Ligorio; it is the seat of the Society of Papal Sciences and has had a memorial plaque for the Danish naturalist and bishop Niels Stensen since 1988. South of St. Peter's Church are a number of newer buildings, including the Pope's Mighty Auditorium, built in 1971 by Pier Luigi Nervi.

The Vatican Museums, Musei Vaticani, houses some of the world's finest antique and art collections. The spiral entrance staircase was built in 1932.

Vatican Museums

Next to the Belvedere Palace, the Museo Pio-Clementino for Clemens 14th and Pius 6th was built in 1771-94 with the old papal collections of ancient Roman and Greek art, among others. The Laokoon group and Apollon Belvedere, who had previously stood in Belvederegården.

In 1802, Pius VII had the Museo Chiaramonti decorated in the east of Bramante's corridor buildings and the later erected Braccio Nuovo with antique art, especially finds from the Roman Forum in Rome.

In 1837 Gregor opened the 16th Museo Gregoriano Etrusco with Etruscan art, and in 1839 the Museo Gregorio Egizio with Egyptian art, both in the Belvedere Palace; Galleria Lapidaria houses the world's finest collection of inscriptions. The Museo Gregorio Profano features antique caches and bronzes that, like the ancient Christian and medieval art of the Museo Pio Cristiano and the ethnographic collections of the Museo Missionario Etnologico, were transferred from the Lateran in the early 1970's.

The painting collection, La Pinacoteca, opened in 1932 in a new building by Luca Beltrami; it contains mainly Italian paintings from the 1000's-1700's, Raphael's Transfiguration.

A collection of religious visual art from the 20th century opened in 1973 in the Borgia rooms.

Vatican City State - Architecture and Museums - Vatican Library

Vatican Library, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, is a research library with very significant collections of manuscripts, especially European from the Middle Ages and Renaissance with theological and humanistic content. The initiative for the library was taken by Pope Nicolaus 5; the official founding took place in 1475 under Sixtus 4.

The original core of the Vatican Library has been expanded over time with large special collections. In 1622 the Bibliotheca Palatina was incorporated; in 1657 the dukes of Urbino's library were included, and in 1690 the collections of the Swedish queen Kristina; the growth has since continued through private and papal donations. The Vatican Library is estimated (2000) to hold approximately 150,000 manuscripts, approximately 8300 incunabula and 1.6 mill. printed books.

The papal administration has at times restricted access to the Vatican Library. Since Pope Leo XI (died 1903) had the library reorganized and expanded, it has been open to scholars regardless of their denominational background and scientific purpose.

Vatican City State - Architecture and Museums (Vatican Archives)

the Vatican Archives, the official archive of the papacy, was established in 1611-12 as the central archive of the various bodies of the papal curia, which during the Middle Ages had developed into a real governmental power in the Western European Church and had built up an extensive bureaucracy. When it was created, it was named Archývio Segreto Vaticano 'the secret Vatican archives', as it was considered the private archives of the popes. In 1881, however, Pope Leo XI left the Vatican Archives open for research, and since then it has been among the most important historical archives in the world.

In addition to extensive collections to shed light on medieval church history in all countries in Western Europe, the archive contains source material regarding. the catholic church's many activities around the world since approximately 1500. Furthermore, the Vatican Archives contain a large amount of material for the history of the Church State and Rome from the 1400's. to the 1800's, the period when the popes were Italian local princes, and the papal center the center of their power and splendor.

 
 
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