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The Vatican Museums
The collections in the Vatican Museums were built up gradually, despite wars, theft and destruction, by various Popes from the Renaissance onward and now constitutes one of the biggest museum complexes in the world. This is where the Sistine Chapel is located. It took us 2 ½ hours to reach the chapel after entering the museums! This is why it takes days to see all that the Vatican City has to offer.
The Egyptian Museum

The museum was founded in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and contains both Egyptian archaeological finds bought by the Popes in the late 18th century and statues brought to Rome during the Roman Empire.

This sarcophagi dates from 2500 BC.
This is a mummy of a woman from 1075-945 BC. Her hair is dyed with henna, and her left eye is closed by a piece of cloth, from where the brain was probably extracted.
Check out her hands.
Next we walked through a hall of sculptures.
Every room you went into had the ceiling entirely covered with paintings. This is the ceiling from the map room.
I call this one the gold ceilings.
The paintings on the walls were more spectacular every room you walked into.

This bowl is one solid piece of black onyx and is about 20 feet in diameter.
This is the ceiling in one of Pope Pius V's rooms of his apartment.
We thought we were getting close to the Sistine Chapel when we hit this room. Turns out we still had another ten minutes to go!
This is the edge of a table. Please note not only the mosaic flowers but the two inch ovals with the figures which are also mosaic.
The Apostolic Library was founded by Pope Sixtus IV in 1475, and was continually enlarged by his successors. Pictured is the grand reading room. The library contains about 50,000 manuscripts, 7,000 incunabula (books printed in the 15th century), thousands of prints and around one million printed volumes. Scholars must present a letter of recommendation in order to use the library.
A bible cover.
A beautiful stained glass.
The Sistine Chapel (no pictures allowed)

At last, the Sistine Chapel! It is so named after Pope Sixtus IV who decided to have a large room built where the "Cappella Magna" once stood. The "Cappella Magna" was a Mediaeval fortified hall used for assemblies by the Papal Court.

Building started in 1475, during the jubilee year and ended on August 15, 1483 when the Pope inaugurated the new chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.
After the structural part was completed, Pope Sixtus IV summoned various Florentine painters to work in the chapel: Botticelli, Ghirlandio, Cosimo Rosselli, Soignorelli and Umbrian artists such as Perugino and Pinturricchio. They were asked to paint the side walls which had been divided into three sections horizontally.
The upper section at window level is decorated with portraits of the early Popes from the 1st century to the beginning of the 4th century.
The middle section was painted with Biblical scenes from the lives of Moses and Christ. This picture contains the "Temptation of Christ" in the left corner and "Cleansing the Leper" in the middle by Botticelli, taken from Matthew's Gospel.
Michelangelo of course, painted the fresco ceiling. This took him four years, from 1508 to 1512. His theme was the history of mankind before the coming of Christ.
This shows the Fall of Man and the expulsion from Paradise.
Later, between 1536 and 1541, Michelangelo also painted the "Last Judgement." The theme represented is mankind's inevitable Fate and God as the absolute judge of man's destiny.
Bottom Line

I have been to the Vatican city five different days for pretty much all day and have not seen it all. There are still whole museums within the Vatican Museum I have not been to. Nor have I been to the gardens, This is one very large place. Plus, I haven't even told you about the covered walkway/wall that runs from St. Peter's to the Castle Sant Angelo. This will be included in the Castle Sant Angelo page coming up later. If you really want to see all of the Vatican City you should plan on 5 days.

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