Vatican City, with its unmatched influence, is the holy city in the heart of nearly 1.3 billion catholics and also the home of the Catholic Church's highest authority and supreme leader the Pope. "Vatican" means “the land of prophecy” in Latin. It is the smallest and least populated country in the world and attracts millions of worshippers and tourists each year. In March 2019, the BIGPIXEL team visited Vatican City and climbed onto the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica, aiming at showing the world every detail of Vatican City.
In a sign of piety, the BIGPIXEL team did not take the elevator to the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica. Instead, the team members laboriously climbed the narrow spiral staircase step by step with all photographic equipment on their shoulders. We spent more than 4 hours taking thousands of photos from the dome and took 45 days to put together the photos, finally creating the panorama of Vatican City, the so-called “City of God”. We hope that the panorama can offer an alternative experience to those who have never been Vatican City, making up for their regret of not being able to visit the holy city. We are very proud that we can do this.
Click the panorama of Vatican City, and you will have a panoramic view of the city. The square in front of us is St Peter’s Square, which took eleven years to be built under the supervision of the world famous architect Bernini. It is the place where the Holy See holds major religious events. The square is surrounded by 284 columns divided into four rows, on which there are 140 images of saints with different and lifelike expressions. At the center of the square stands an obelisk with a bronze lion and an eagle inlaid in the middle part. You can zoom in on to see the details of the words on the obelisk.
The building below is Saint Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world. The interior of the church was incomparably ornate with magnificent reliefs. The dome of the church was designed and built by Michelangelo, and is regarded as the most beautiful dome in the world.
On the left side of St Peter’s Square, you can zoom in to find the 800-meter-long Passetto leading to the Castel Sant' Angelo, the secret passage that the popes can take refuge from Vatican city to the Castel Sant' Angelo. Can you find it? Looking to the left, you will see the Vatican Museum not far away. It was formerly the palace of the Pope and was later converted into the Vatican Museum. In addition to the rare treasures collected by the Holy See, it has some collections donated by believers. The museum has collected artistic works created in the past thousands of years and is the soul of western civilization. The museum, best known for Michelangelo's giant ceiling painting The Genesis, is always crowded with visitors except on closed days.
Behind the church is the seat of the Vatican government. If we zoom in on, we can see a mosaic of flowers on the door. Do you know what it is? To the left of the seat of the government is the world's shortest "rail network" as you can see by zooming in on. The railway is 852 meters long, with only 10 railway workers and one station. The railway is commonly used for freight, but it sometimes will be used for passengers symbolically or ceremonially. Daily life in Vatican City is intensely religious. Every Sunday, catholics gather at St Peter’s Square, and at 12 p.m., the bell rings and the Pope addresses them from the central window of the top floor of the church. Every year on May 6, thousands of catholics come to visit the city, the so-called “City of God”.