Photo: National Geographic/YouTube
This week the Vatican’s papal conclave began the process of choosing the next spiritual leader of 1.18 billion Catholics worldwide.The majority of the 108-acre country — including towers, apartments, restoration labs, tombs and secret archives — is off-limits without a Vatican City passport.
The cardinals sleep and eat at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a residence in Vatican City, during the conclave process.
Each day, they walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Sistine Chapel, where voting is conducted.
The Council for the Proclamation of Saints decides who is canonized in this off-limits conference room.
The pope and his assistants will prepare letters and official documents in the study of the Papal Apartments.
The Swiss Guard, the world's smallest standing army, stocks its gear under the streets of Vatican City.
The garments that the guards wear under their 8-pound uniforms are made from scratch in the tailoring room.
Three restoration laboratories for marble, tapestries and paintings sit beneath the Vatican's museums and galleries.
The archives comprise over 50 miles of shelves that include invaluable artifacts, such as a note written by Michelangelo dated January 1550.
In a room near the secret archives, one man restores the thousands of wax seals from letters sent to the Vatican over the centuries.
The Vatican Printing Press, which was founded in 1626, handles over 5,000 orders per year printed in at least 15 languages.
The Vatican radio station broadcasts in 40 different languages (and costs $25 million per year to run).
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