Vatican City

Swiss Guard, Vatican

A soldier of the Swiss Guard standing guard at one of the gates into the inner sanctum of Vatican City. This famous body of Swiss soldiers grew out of a group of 250 Swiss who were picked to guard the pope in the late 1400's. In 1506 Pope Julius II secured this position by a treaty with the Swiss cantons of Zurich and Lucerne, where these two cantons supplied 250 men to serve as the pope's bodyguard from that time on. Over the years their number has been reduced and their type of service has changed. They however still wear their medieval uniforms.

Photo by Ludo Kuipers, Sat Nov 05, 1994
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