The Vatican’s history as the seat of the Catholic Church began with the construction of a basilica over St. Peter’s grave in Rome in the 4th century A.D. The area developed into a popular pilgrimage site and commercial district, although it was abandoned following the move of the papal court to France in 1309. After the Church returned in 1377, famous landmarks such the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel and the new St. Peter’s Basilica were erected within the city limits. Vatican City was established in its current form as a sovereign nation with the singing of the Lateran Pacts in 1929.
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