Today the Vatican is a city with a population of just under two thousand people, and only clergy and Swiss guards are allowed to settle on its territory.
You cannot become a citizen of this state by birth or inherit it - a passport is given only to representatives of the clergy and only in the case of labor activity in the Vatican. Therefore, it is not surprising that this city of treasures is in no hurry to publicize its secrets.
Paradise for numismatists, or where to find all the money in the world
It is curious that ordinary euros are used as a means of payment in this country. But in addition to this, the Vatican also issues its own coins, which previously depicted a portrait of the ruling pontiff, and now the coat of arms of the Pope. Commemorative coins are also minted. And ... money is sold, being a significant source of income for the country. In addition to its own mint, where, of course, only a select few are open to access, a huge collection of old and rare coins can be found in the Munich Cabinet at the Vatican Library.
The funds of this museum only officially count 300 thousand of various coins and medals, and how many are hidden in hiding places - you can't count. After all, the possibilities of the Catholic Church were endless, especially during the period of wars and the great geographical discoveries. Many wealthy Christians donated their wealth to the church. And the pontiffs themselves bought valuable artifacts. Thus, Pope Benedict XIV made a huge contribution to the collection of coins. By his order, the collection of Greek and Roman coins belonging to Cardinal Allesandro Albani was bought (and this was the second largest collection of coins, second only to the collection of French kings).
So the history of today's civilization can be easily traced back to these truly ancient coins. This is a collector's dream come true, however very few people have ever seen the entire magnificent collection.
BC Manuscripts and the Solid Gold Bible
You can study history not only by coins, but also by reading real primary sources - manuscripts and manuscripts. And there is a huge amount of this most valuable material in the Vatican Apostolic Library - more than 150 thousand. Some of these rare manuscripts date back over 2,000 years. There are old recorded texts with illustrations of the works of Homer, Cicero, Aristotle and Euclid, fragments of Virgil's manuscripts, Carolingian books, the Barberini collection, the Borgiani collection ...
The collection of manuscripts is divided according to the language of their writing: there are manuscripts in many languages, both European and Asian, as well as in Ethiopian, Indian and Chinese. And of course, the Vatican Library cannot but contain the oldest and most unique Bibles. So, here you can find the most ancient text of the Gospel of Luke, the rarest Greek Bible of the 4th century, as well as a piece of jewelry art - a hand-made Bible, which contains sheets of real gold with thin handwritten text. It was created in 1476 by order of the Duke of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro.
The first books of the new format - printed using a machine - appeared in the Vatican Library in the 20-30s of the 17th century. And now their collection has more than 2 million copies. Rumor has it that here you can find books in all human languages. It is curious that in this library there is a rule according to which printed publications may be available for viewing only when they are at least 75 years old. Yes, and ordinary visitors are not welcome here - only 150 scientists and specialists are allowed to receive a day. Employees associate this with the special value of books and the need to preserve them, although who knows - after all, knowledge has been valued at all times.
70 thousand works of art that simply have no value
And the thing is that these masterpieces are so unique that their loss can cause irreparable damage to the cultural heritage of mankind. For example, the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican contains one of the most valuable and famous works of art on the legendary ceiling, painstakingly and expertly painted by Michelangelo over four years, starting in 1508. But in the Apostolic Archives (a secret room in the Vatican) there are 70 thousand carefully preserved works of art. Like some books and manuscripts, only the Pope has the right to view or use these masterpieces as he sees fit. The rest only have to imagine what kinds of inspirational art are hidden in the secret rooms.
We can only talk about these treasures, since rarely anyone can see these miracles of jewelry art with their own eyes. For many centuries, royal and powerful dynasties hastened to enlist the support of the Pope, giving him the most exquisite jewelry. The Portuguese royal family donated a unique red diamond ring from India. Somewhere there are figures of the holy apostles, who were finely carved out of ivory and adorned with clothes of gold and large diamonds. Lapis lazuli and turquoise - stones that symbolize the purity of heaven for religious people - also became the basis for the manufacture of a huge number of unique things.
Well, pomegranate, ruby and spinel, as a symbol of the torment and blood of Christian martyrs, adorn more than one hundred works of the most talented jewelers. It is noteworthy that each new Pope orders himself a special signet ring, which is completely impossible to wear on his fingers. It is made of gilded bronze and decorated with rock crystal. The mission of this massive decoration is the personal seal of the head of the church. After the death of the Pope, the crystal with the personalized ornament carved on it breaks.
The Antichrist's Notes and Love Letters
When we talk about the treasures of the Vatican, it would hardly occur to us to think that the Holy Church will keep the notes of a man in love or a preacher-reformer who has been publicly excommunicated from the church. Nevertheless, such artifacts lurk behind the walls of the vaults.
So, in the archives of the library there are several letters from Martin Luther, whom the Catholic Church anathematized for a new look at Christian teaching (and has not yet rehabilitated). But love notes are not just pieces of paper explaining passionate desires, but love letters from King Henry VIII. In them, he confesses his tender feelings for Anne Boleyn. Moreover, they say that these are very frank and not at all modest letters. In them, the English ladies' man is not stingy in epithets and calls the parts of the girl's “divine” body by original names, laments his royal “great loneliness” and draws a heart.
The strangest thing about these love letters is that there is no concrete evidence of how they ended up in the Vatican. Romance and mystery - all in one!