Friday, October 28, 2022

Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is a place with multiple personalities; the population is mainly Cantonese Chinese but British influence is quite visible. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City.

Hong Kong has been a major destination for tourists and business people from around the world for at least a century. Today it is also a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent mainland population. It is an important air hub with connections to many of the world's cities.

Hong Kong is much more than a harbour city with crowded streets: this territory with its cloudy mountains and rocky islands also offers rural landscapes with breathtaking views. Much of the countryside is classified as Country Park and, although 7.4 million people (2021) are never far away, it is possible to find pockets of wilderness that will reward the more intrepid traveller.

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with at least one season to match your comfort zone. Boasting one of the world's best airports, it is the ideal stopover for those who wish to travel deeper into Asia.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Peru lima never rain

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The only rain-free city in the world, some houses have no roofs, and the streets have no sewers. Lima has a tropical desert climate. It has the lowest rainfall among all countries in the world. The annual rainfall is only 10 to 15 mm, so it has the title of "rainless city".

A large number of residential houses in the city are adobe houses. Some houses are simply made of cardboard. What's more, some houses do not have a roof. Furthermore, Lima citizens never buy umbrellas, raincoats and other rain gear, and there are few drainage channels in the streets of the city. These "strange" phenomena are actually not strange to Lima people.

There are many ruins from ancient times. For example, there is a library built in the tomb. It is said that tens of thousands of people were buried in this cemetery, but now it is here. All you can see are some scriptures.

This situation in Lima is because the prevailing wind direction (southeast trade wind) is basically parallel to the sea level, which is not easy to raise water vapor; there is a strong Peruvian cold current flowing off the mainland, and coastal air In contact with the cold water surface, the lower layer cools down and forms a stable temperature inversion layer. The water vapor can only form fog, and it is difficult to transport upward into clouds and cause rain.


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Laos vientiane

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Laos is a mountainous country with a rich history that stretches back 10,000 years. With Buddhism as its main religion, there are hundreds of Buddhist monasteries, temples and stupas in just about every city in Laos, with the most popular ones scattered across Luang Prabang.

This Southeast Asian country also attracts travellers looking to take it slow and enjoy a relaxing view of mountains and untamed natural beauty. If you’re an adventurer at heart, Laos’ lush jungles are home to miles of scenic trails, underground river caves, and waterfalls. A holiday in Laos is always full of surprises, spirituality, generous hospitality, and of course, breathtaking photo opportunities. 

Vientiane, located on the north-eastern bank of the Mekong, serves as the capital of Laos. It has a relaxing atmosphere you won’t find in many capitals across the world – many travellers enjoy a relaxing riverside break with a cold beer and sunset views over the Mekong.

Vientiane also has a diverse range of hotels, restaurants, and cafes, some of which occupying French-style villas dating back to colonial times. The city has plenty of Buddhist temples that serve the local community – you’ll see devotees offering gifts and getting blessed by monks year-round. If you’re travelling to the Lao capital for the first time, check out this guide on everything you need to know about Vientiane. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


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Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Arabian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the Arabic أكوات ākwāt, the plural of كوت kūt, meaning a fortress built near water. The country covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 sq mi) and has a population of about 3.9 million.

Kuwait 's early beginnings go as far back as the early 17th century, known at the time as al-Qurain. It appeared in a Dutch map dated in the mid-17th century, the earliest known map showing present-day Kuwait as al-Qurain. At the time, it was under the control of the house of Khaled, who dominated the eastern part of the Arabian peninsula.

The name Kuwait, which is derived from Kout (fort), came about when the sheik of the house of Khaled, Barrak, built a fort in al-Qurain in the latter part of the 17th century as a summer house In the early 18th century, several clans from the Al Aniza tribe migrated to the northern shore of the Gulf from the Najd, their famine-stricken homeland in central Arabia, and settled in Kuwait, a small village at the time.

With the rule of the house of Khaled weakening, the Al Sabah emerged as the dominant clan, and were formally established as rulers of Kuwait in 1752. These new settlers combined to create an oligarchic merchant principality, whose economic prosperity was based on fishing, pearling, and trade.

On June 19, 1961 Kuwait gained full independence from Britain. Iraq initially refused to accept Kuwait's independence and threatened to annex its neighbor, falsely alleging that Kuwait had once been part of Iraq. Iraq's military threats resulted in a deployment of British troops, which were soon replaced by an Arab League force, and the crisis subsided. In 1963 Kuwait became a member of the United Nations, and later that year Iraq agreed to abandon its threats and recognize Kuwait's independence and borders in a treaty signed by both governments.

Since they established diplomatic relations upon Kuwait’s independence in 1961, the United States and Kuwait have enjoyed a long history of friendship and cooperation, rooted in shared values, democratic traditions, and institutional relationships. In August 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. A U.S.-led multinational coalition subsequently liberated Kuwait in February 1991. The United States has continued to support Kuwait’s sovereignty and security, as well as its multilateral diplomatic efforts to build greater cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. From 2003, Kuwait provided the main platform for U.S. and coalition operations in Iraq, and has played a similar role in the fight against ISIS. A member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, it hosts the headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. Kuwait is also an important partner in U.S. counterterrorism efforts, including efforts to block financing of terrorist groups.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Australian wildlife

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Kyabram Fauna Park is open every day 
(except Christmas Day and Good Friday) from 10am – 5pm.  No bookings necessary.

Get up close to iconic Aussie animals at Kyabram Fauna Park  including koalas, dingoes, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, echidna, emus, flying-foxes, southern cassowary and quolls.  Kangaroos, emus and wallabies are free-ranging.

Our reptile collection includes native snakes, crocodile, lizards and turtles and our insect display is home to fascinating mini-beasts. The Park’s aviaries are a bird-lovers paradise where visitors can get up close to cockatoos, parrots, brush turkeys, satin bower-birds, owls and endangered bush stone-curlew. 

There are lots of opportunities to get up close to Australian native wildlife at Kyabram Fauna Park.
• Free daily animal interactions
• Daily wildlife encounters where you go behind-the-scenes with our keepers to interact with cassowaries, dingoes or koalas – $30pp
• Free-ranging kangaroos, wallabies and emus
• Feed our parrots, kangaroos, emus, wombats, wallabies and waterfowl – feed $2 per bag at reception
• Zoo Keeper for a Day program for kids 8-12 years – $70 per child (school holidays)
• Creatures of the Night Tours – $60 adult $30 child (seasonal)

The Park encompasses 55 hectares of open woodland, wetlands and lakes.  Our wetlands are home to hundreds of waterfowl and visitors can view them via the lookout tower and two bird hides. The Park is open from 10am – 5pm every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday. 

Visitor facilities include picnic shelters, Café and gift shop.  A children’s playground and free BBQs are located at the Park’s entrance. We suggest you allow at least 90 minutes for your visit. The Park will be closed on Code Red days for the safety and well-being of visitors and animals. 

We appreciate your support and your entry fee is used to maintain and improve the Park.  We are also grateful for the support we receive from the Kyabram community including community groups, volunteers and businesses. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Dream home for poor foreigner

rent room per day&month More information view here

From $70_... 

Go straight download 

This website and book or buy dream home online avoid other privacy increase price 

Go straight and discuss better than service online. 

From 170.000 usd  you can own apartment in city style Japan. USA. European. A lot more modern and service like small country all in one. 

Foreigner  poor in your country try to come Vietnam buy  this apartment spend your King life. 

VINHOMES GOLDEN RIVER is a convenient green space – with Marina, Outdoor pool system, Landscape, Villas, Shophouse, Square with fountain playground, School systems, Shopping mall, Hospital, Social public space and 5ha of riverside Park.

+ Property Name: VINHOMES GOLDEN RIVER, Nguyen Huu Canh/Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam.

+ Property Type: Complex: Villas, Shophouse, Resident condo building, Office-tel, Service apartment, Vin School, International Hospital…

+ Location: Located in the Central Business District in HCM City, connected to a modern highway and Subway system under the project.

+ Driving time to City Center: 0 minutes.

+ Price: $3.000 – $4.000/sqm. From $170.000 – $600.000/unit.

+ Rental return: 7-10%/year. Expect added value: 5-10%/year.

+ Build up area: 15%.

+ Status: Under construction. Estimate handover: 3rd 2017 – 2nd  Quarter 2018.

+ Address: Vinhomes Golden River, Nguyen Huu Canh street, District 1, HCMC.

+ Unit size: 45 – 200sqm.

+ No. of Storey: 35 – 60.

+ No. of block: 14.

+ Facilities: Vinmec hospital, Vinschool, Shopping mall, Outdoor BBQ, Shophouse, Commercial services, and other provided services…

+ Air Condition Spec: Cassette.

+ Legal Ownership: Freehold for Vietnamese, 50-100 years for Foreigners.

+ Developer: VinGroup.

Information about the property and its availability are subject to change, please contact us for update information

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Louisiana usa
Louisiana is a southeastern U.S. state on the Gulf of Mexico. Its history as a melting pot of French, African, American and French-Canadian cultures is reflected in its Creole and Cajun cultures. The largest city, New Orleans, is known for its colonial-era French Quarter, raucous Mardi Gras festival, jazz music Renaissance-style St. Louis Cathedral and wartime exhibits at the huge National WWII Museum

The Maestri Bridge or Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana


The Maestri Bridge, also known as Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, carries US Route 11 over Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana. Lake Pontchartrain is a brackish estuary north of New Orleans; it is the second-largest saltwater lake in the United States after the Great Salt Lake.

The Sabine River forms two-thirds of the border with Texas, the Mississippi and the Pearl River define sections of the border with the state of Mississippi.

Louisiana originally designated the vast region of the Mississippi basin, which the French explorer La Salle claimed for France in 1682. The French sold the land to the USA as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The smaller area now known as Louisiana became the 18th state of the USA in 1812.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sahara Morocco


Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. Marrakesh’s medina, a mazelike medieval quarter, offers entertainment in its Djemaa el-Fna square and souks (marketplaces) selling ceramics, jewelry and metal lanterns. The capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas is a 12th-century royal fort overlooking the water

Morocco does, however, have two regions that conform to the mental image most Europeans have of the Sahara Desert: Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga. The Arabic word Erg means “dune field” and describes vast, flat areas of the desert containing sand dunes created by the wind, with little or no vegetation.

The Sahara Desert covers a large part of the African continent – more than 3.5 million square miles, in fact. But only a small part of it is in Morocco. The Moroccan Sahara is located in the south and east of the country, mostly along the border with Algeria.

Snow in Morocco is not unusual. Two ski resorts in the Atlas Mountains—one near Marrakech and the other near Ifrane—experience fairly regular snowfall each January and February. ... Algiers received the “heaviest snowfall in living memory. 

Friday, October 15, 2021



Austria, largely mountainous landlocked country of south-central Europe. Together with Switzerland, 

 Austria conjures up images of snow-capped peaks of the Alps and crystal blue lakes surrounded by thatched roof houses. While this picture of natural beauty is accurate, Austria is also steeped in imperial history and wildly famous for its classical music and performing arts. Age old handicrafts continue to be an important part of Austria’s culture and make popular souvenirs. There is plenty to be explored and enjoyed in this small land-locked country in Europe.

Summer or winter, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of Austria. During the summer months, exploring the many lakes and mountains, especially in the salzkammergut Lake Region, is a must. The picturesque towns have resisted the pressures of modernization and have remained almost unchanged for centuries. During the winter months, some of the best skiing in Europe can be found in the Austrian Alps. Whether it’s skiing at the Arlberg Mountains or in kitzbuhlvisitors will find a nice combination of beautifully-groomed runs and exciting backcountry options.

It is not only Austria’s natural beauty that visitors seek out, but also its history, cuisine, culture, and arts. From the timeless city of Innsbruck with its famous Golden Roof , to the musical capital of Salzburg, and the famous sacher  cake in Vienna, there is much to see and experience in Austria. Known for their hospitality and kind demeanor, visitors who don’t speak German will get along here just fine, as most Austrians speak some, if not fluent english

Austria offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxury to affordable. Cities offer large international hotel chains, whereas in the smaller Alpine towns, it is nice to stay at a pension – a family-run bed and breakfast. These well-maintained, clean, and affordable lodgings offer tourists the chance to enjoy real Austrian hospitality and great home-cooked meals. In fact, if visiting remote villages, staying at a pension may be the only accommodation option available.

Most international visitors arrive in Austria via one of the country’s many international airports. However, those who are already traveling around Europe can easily access Austria by train. The country is well-connected to the European railway network, as well as the region’s motorway network. Traveling inside Austria can easily be done using the efficient train system, but some of the remote Alpine areas are best accessed by car. Self-driving is easy on the highways of Austria, which are well-maintained and well-signposted. However, care needs to be taken while driving on winding Alpine roads, especially in winter.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Bahamas island



Bahamas consists of a chain of islands spread out over some 800 kilometres (500 mi) in the Atlantic Ocean, located to the east of Florida in the United States, north of Cuba and Hispaniola and west of the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands (with which it forms the Lucayan archipelago).

The best kept secret of The Bahamas is the country’s sheer size and diversity. With 16 major islands, The Bahamas is an unmatched destination, a heart-pounding adventure across 100,000 square miles of the world’s clearest ocean spend a day in The Exumas with the world-famous swimming pigs. Then snorkel through an underwater cave, find a secret sandbar, and spot stingrays and starfish through crystal-clear waters its fishing for the big catch, and the stakes are high. It’s a competition against the world’s best with a grand prize on the line– a blue Marlins island hopping through the Exuma Cays is a truly extraordinary experience. Cruise the crystal clear waters to visit the swimming pigs, snorkel an underwater cave, and pet mellow nurse shark tuckeds away at the end of a winding unpaved road in Great Abaco is the creative world of The Johnston Art foundry .there are over 180 blue holes in Andros—natural wonders centuries in the making. And at Blue Holes National Park, there’s one that’s just right for an epic afternoon Androsia Batik has been called the unofficial fabric of The Bahamas, and it’s been handmade on Andros Island since the very beginning ...Junkanoo's standing as one of the Caribbean's most celebrated and spirited carnivals is undisputed.

From colourful costumes to exuberant dance routines, participants spend months preparing for the pageantry of this street parade accompanied by the steady beat of whistles, cowbells, horns, and goatskin drums that starts in the wee hours after midnight. Catch this celebration of Bahamian culture and history on Boxing Day—aka the day after Christmas—as well as on New Year's Day and many Saturdays throughout the summer. The largest Junkanoo celebration takes place on Bay Street, in downtown Nassau, but Bahamians across the 16 islands celebrate this joyful tradition.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Grete greek

As Greek islands go, Crete is the largest, located far south near the Libyan sea. Its location means it has good year-round temperatures averaging from 52 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months to 79 degrees in the summer, sometimes much hotter, reaching over 100 degrees.

This means there’s no bad time to visit.

Because of its varied geography with mountains inland, a selection of popular sandy beaches, and much quieter hideaways, Crete has a wide variety of day trips to suit all tastes. Some of the best have been curated here for you.

1. Hiking In Samaria Gorge

Nestled within the White Mountains National Park lies the most famous and longest trekking gorge in Europe, the 10-mile Samaria Gorge.

It starts fromi south of the island — meaning “wooden staircase” as there is a wooden staircase that descends into the gorge.

The trek itself goes through beautiful scenery all the way to the small seaside town of Africa  Roumeli on the coast of the Libyan Sea.Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with many different species of flora and fauna and wild Cretan goats.

Pro Tips

It’s open from May 1 to October 31 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are no facilities in the Gorge. Although there are occasional spots to sit and rest, there’s very little shade, so take water to drink (there are standpipes to refill your bottle), light food, sunhat and lotion, and sturdy walking shoes.

July and August can reach very high temperatures, sometimes over 100 degrees, so hike it early morning or in the spring or fall. A reasonable level of fitness is advised, and take your time; the trek can last upwards of 7 hours. Rangers are available throughout the route to help if anyone should get into any trouble, such as a sprained ankle or fall.

Regular local bus services run from the Cretan port town of Chania to the entrance at Xyloskalo and also from the exit at Agia Roumeli. Or your hotel can arrange local transport.

Just over 50 miles southwest of the harbor of Chania lies Elafonisi, a small islet with aqua waters and coral creating a pink effect. When the sea is calm, you can walk from the beach out to the islet — connected by a small reef. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Left untouched for many years, its beauty caught the eye of locals who semi-developed it into what you’ll see now.

It’s quite flat, but anyone with mobility issues should bring a stick to help them walk over the sand. As an organized beach with sunbeds, umbrellas, and a canteen, high summer is very busy with families, so it’s best to visit late spring/early summer or early fall when the weather is still warm, but children have returned to school.

You can drive, but as the road is single tracka lot of the way once off the national road, it’s not for the faint-hearted, especially when meeting a bus. Therefore, public transport from Chania or an organized tour is best.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Iguazu falls (Argentina &Brazil)

Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1984, Iguazu Falls is often revered as the world’s most spectacular waterfall. Situated on the border of the Brazilian state, Parana, and the Argentine province of Misiones, Iguazu Falls spans 1.7 miles (2.7km) in width, and features 275 individual waterfalls, with heights ranging from 196-270ft (60-82m). The name ‘Iguazu’ is loosely translated from the indigenous Guarani language as “big water”. Unsurprisingly, former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, reportedly exclaimed “Poor Niagara” upon seeing Iguazu Falls for the first time. Iguazu Falls is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular treasures of our natural world

The falls form part of both the Iguacu National Park (Argentina) and the Iguazu National Park (Brazil), which have both been declared World Heritage sites. Approximately, 80% of the falls are located in Argentina and 20% in Brazil.

Crossing over from one side of the falls to another is not difficult. The footpaths on the Brazilian side tend to focus more on reaching good vantage points to see the panorama, whilst the Argentinean side allows visitors to see the waterfall up-close. It is said that the Brazilian side is for viewing the falls and the Argentinean side is for experiencing them.

The Argentinean side of Iguazu Falls offers tourists a number of vantage points to see incredible panoramic views, as well as the opportunity to view the falls from above.

There are two different trails available on the Argentinean side of the falls; the upper falls, and the lower falls. The trail to the upper falls provides the opportunity to walk across several of the falls via catwalk, and to overlook the water flowing over the edges. The lower falls trail, on the other hand, offers some of the best close-up views of the falls. Both trails on the Argentinean side are best taken in the morning hours, when the sun is rising from behind and providing excellent lighting conditions.

Brazilian Side

The Brazilian side offers the most complete panoramic views of Iguazu Falls. Ideally, you should visit in the morning, whilst the sun is behind you, lighting the falls. It is possible to cover the Brazilian side in just a few morning hours.

As such, it is possible to visit both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides of Iguazu Falls, covering all vantage points, in just a day and a half. However, a visit to Iguazu Falls is certainly not an experience to be rushed, and so allowing for more time is recommended.

Devils Throat

The Devils Throat (or, Garganta del Diablo) is a U-shaped cliff, marking the border between the two countries. It is often considered to be the most impressive thing about Iguazu Falls. At over 260ft (80m) high, and 1.7mi (2.7km) wide, about half of the Iguazu Rivers water flow spills into the Devil’s throat. With water flowing from 3 sides, it offers visitors a 260-degree view of the waterfall.

It is advised to view Devils Throat in the afternoon, as the sun will have risen above the falls by then. If you visit Devils Throat in the morning, the view will be disturbed by the glare of the sun.

Things to do at Iguazu Falls

There is a lot to do at Iguazu Falls, and therefore a 1-day trip is not recommended, particularly when taking into consideration its remote location.

One of the most exciting ways to experience the falls is by taking a jet boat tour. Jet boat tours take you really close to the Falls, so visitors should be prepared to get very wet. You can also get a helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls, to get a spectacular birds eye view. Jungle safari tours offer tourists the opportunity to be educated about the subtropical rainforests of the national park in a fun environment. For adrenaline junkies, rappelling is available at Iguazu Falls. This involves a controlled descent using rope down the vertical cliff face on the Brazilian side of the Fall

Portrayals in film

The Iguazu Falls have had the honor of featuring in many Hollywood movies, including Mr. Magoo (1997), Miami Vice (1996) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

When is the best time of year to Iguazu Falls?

The weather at Iguazu Falls is quite consistent throughout the year, meaning that there isn’t really a bad time to visit, per se. However, there are a few factors that may impact upon your decision.

January and February are the peak visitation periods, as both the Brazilians and Argentineans are on holiday. During the local summer, the water volume is high, and the sky tends to be bluer. However, the heat, humidity and hotel occupation are at their highest. Easter week also sees a vast increase in local tourism.

Some people prefer visiting the Falls during the rainy season (May and July) due to the high water levels and strong flow. However, the months of September and October may provide the best opportunity to experience iguazu Falls, as the temperature is more moderate, hotel prices are more economical and there are fewer people around.

The best (quickest & easiest) way to get to Iguazu falls is by air. In Argentina, you will need to catch a flight from Buenos Aires’ domestic airport, El Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, to Puerto Iguazu airport. From the airport, you will then need to drive, or take a taxi/shuttle to your accommodation. In Brazil, you will need to fly into Foz do Iguassu airport, from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or another major Brazilian city. If you are travelling to Iguazu Falls from Paraguay, you can drive to the falls via the Friendship Bridge.

Friday, June 18, 2021


Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.

Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy, Vatican City is an independent city-state that covers just over 100 acres, making it one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park. Vatican City is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head. The Vatican mints its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets and has its own flag and anthem. One government function it lacks: taxation. Museum admission fees, stamp and souvenir sales, and contributions generate the Vatican’s revenue.

St. Peter’s Basilica sits atop a city of the dead, including its namesake’s tomb.

A Roman necropolis stood on Vatican Hill in pagan times. When a great fire leveled much of Rome in A.D. 64, Emperor Nero, seeking to shift blame from himself, accused the Christians of starting the blaze. He executed them by burning them at the stake, tearing them apart with wild beasts and crucifying them. Among those crucified was St. Peter—disciple of Jesus Christ, leader of the Apostles and the first bishop of Rome—who was supposedly buried in a shallow grave on Vatican Hill. By the fourth century and official recognition of the Christian religion in Rome, Emperor Constantine began construction of the original basilica atop the ancient burial ground with what was believed to be the tomb of St. Peter at its center. The present basilica, built starting in the 1500s, sits over a maze of catacombs and St. Peter’s suspected grave.

Caligula captured the obelisk that stands in St. Peter’s Square.

Roman Emperor Caligula built a small circus in his mother’s gardens at the base of Vatican Hill where charioteers trained and where Nero is thought to have martyred the Christians. To crown the center of the amphitheater, Caligula had his forces transport from Egypt a pylon that had originally stood in Heliopolis. The obelisk, made of a single piece of red granite weighing more than 350 tons, was erected for an Egyptian pharaoh more than 3,000 years ago. In 1586 it was moved to its present location in St. Peter’s Square, where it does double duty as a giant sundial.

For nearly 60 years in the 1800s and 1900s, popes refused to leave the Vatican.

Popes ruled over a collection of sovereign Papal States throughout central Italy until the country was unified in 1870. The new secular government had seized all the land of the Papal States with the exception of the small patch of the Vatican, and a cold war of sorts then broke out between the church and the Italian government. Popes refused to recognize the authority of the Kingdom of Italy, and the Vatican remained beyond Italian national control. Pope Pius IX proclaimed himself a “prisoner of the Vatican,” and for almost 60 years popes refused to leave the Vatican and submit to the authority of the Italian government. When Italian troops were present in St. Peter’s Square, popes even refused to give blessings or appear from the balcony overlooking the public space.

Benito Mussolini signed Vatican City into existence.

The dispute between the Italian government and the Catholic Church ended in 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Pacts, which allowed the Vatican to exist as its own sovereign state and compensated the church $92 million (more than $1 billion in today’s money) for the Papal States. The Vatican used the payment as seed money to re-grow its coffers. Mussolini, the head of the Italian government, signed the treaty on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III.

Popes did not live at the Vatican until the 14th century.

Even after the construction of the original St. Peter’s Basilica, popes lived principally at the Lateran Palace across Rome. They even left the city altogether in 1309 when the papal court moved to Avignon, France, after King Philip IV arranged for a French cardinal to be elected pope. Seven popes, all French, ruled from Avignon, and the papacy did not return to Rome until 1377, by which time the Lateran Palace had burned and the Vatican started to be used as a papal residence. Much repair work needed to be done, however, because the Vatican had fallen into such disrepair that wolves dug for bodies in the cemetery and cows even wandered the basilica.

The Swiss Guard was hired as a mercenary force.

The Swiss Guard, recognizable by its armor and colorful Renaissance-era uniforms, has been protecting the pontiff since 1506. That’s when Pope Julius II, following in the footsteps of many European courts of the time, hired one of the Swiss mercenary forces for his personal protection. The Swiss Guard’s role in Vatican City is strictly to protect the safety of the pope. Although the world’s smallest standing army appears to be strictly ceremonial, its soldiers are extensively trained and highly skilled marksmen. And, yes, the force is entirely comprised of Swiss citizens.

At several times during the Vatican’s history, popes escaped through a secret passageway.

In 1277, a half-mile-long elevated covered passageway, the Passetto di Borgo, was constructed to link the Vatican with the fortified Castel Sant’Angelo on the banks of the Tiber River. It served as an escape route for popes, most notably in 1527 when it likely saved the life of Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome. As the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V rampaged through the city and murdered priests and nuns, the Swiss Guard held back the enemy long enough to allow Clement to safely reach the Castel Sant’Angelo, although 147 of the pope’s forces lost their lives in the battle.

The majority of Vatican City’s 600 citizens live abroad.

As of 2011, the number of people with Vatican citizenship totaled 594. That number included 71 cardinals, 109 members of the Swiss Guard, 51 members of the clergy and one nun inside the Vatican walls. The largest group of citizens, however, was the 307 members of the clergy in diplomatic positions around the world. With Benedict XVI residing as a pope emeritus in the Vatican, the population will increase by one when a new pope is named.

The Vatican Observatory owns a telescope in Arizona.

As Rome expanded, light pollution from the city made it increasingly difficult for astronomers at the Vatican Observatory—located 15 miles from the city at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo—to view the night skies, so in 1981 the observatory opened a second research center in Tucson, Arizona. The Vatican conducts astronomical research with a state-of-the-art telescope that sits atop Mount Graham in southeast Arizona