Take a Look Inside the Smallest Country in the World

Hint: You've definitely heard of it—but never thought it was a country.

Anton-ChalakovOften, the biggest things in the world get the most attention (the biggest airport in the world, anyone?), so we say it’s time to take the opposite approach.

Welcome to Vatican City, the smallest country (by area AND population!) in the world. Surprised? You might have heard of it, but you might not have guessed that many consider the Vatican a country.

While it could be argued that the Vatican isn’t technically an independent nation—it doesn’t have a seat at the United Nations—others would dispute that claim. The Vatican abides by the 1933 Montevideo Convention’s definition of a country, after all. Article One of the Convention says: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

According to that definition, the Vatican meets all of the criteria for statehood. It has a permanent population of around 1,000 people, a defined territory, a government, and relations with many other states. Thus, experts say, we can confidently call it a country. (Still, it doesn’t have the rarest passport in the world—but this place does.)

If you still don’t believe that Vatican City is a true nation, the runner-up title is split between Monaco (the smallest country by area) and Nauru (the smallest by population). Both are full members of the UN and are therefore unquestionably countries.

Whether you buy the Vatican argument or not, this place is worth a visit. Vatican City hosts a wide array of iconic art and architecture, from ancient Roman sculptures to the Sistine Chapel. The Pope and the Catholic Church also call the Vatican home. But before you make the trip, brush up on these surprising things you didn’t know about the Pope.

Source: Mental Floss

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for RD.com.