New country souvenir, Vatican City, with Geocache of the Week: AGT 40: VATICAN OBELISK

by Alke04
Vatican City State
N 41° 54.134 E 012° 27.436

Today, we release a new country/regional souvenir for Vatican City. If you have found a geocache in Vatican City, you automatically receive the souvenir on your profile.

Situated within Italy’s capital city of Rome, Vatican City is a microstate with a massive history. As the administrative center and spiritual home of the Roman Catholic Church, the state was once a major seat of geo-political power in Europe, as well as one of Europe’s most notable art patrons.

Image by Kanaputz.

With its ornate churches, awe-inspiring history, and proximity to the Pope, Vatican City attracts masses of visitors every year. For geocachers, Vatican City is made all the more attractive because of the geocaches placed within its borders. With a total area of only 0.44 km² (0.17 mi²), Vatican City is the most geocache-saturated nation on the globe. Among the nine geocaches that exist within the official boundaries of Vatican City is the impressive EarthCache GC487RN AGT 40: VATICAN OBELISK, our Geocache of the Week.

Image by nicoo07.

This cache focuses on the iconic obelisk in the center of Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square, and gives geocachers a lesson in geology and history. The history of the obelisk goes back before the beginnings of Christianity to ancient Egypt, where the obelisk was created. In 37 AD, the obelisk was taken from Egypt and brought to Rome for the emperor Caligula. The obelisk did not make its way to Vatican City until 1685 when it was brought there at the order of Pope Sixtus V.  

Image by dg1980.

To log this EarthCache, cachers need to look closely at the pink granite that makes up the over 25 meter (82 feet) tall obelisk. Granite is formed when volcanic activity forces feldspar and quartz together to create new igneous rock formations. Because granite begins as hot liquid stone and has a long cooling period, it is especially dense and tough, making it an excellent material for constructing long-lasting monuments.

In addition to being a striking monument, the obelisk and square around it also act as a sundial. At noon the obelisk’s shadow lines up with a strip of granite in the square indicating the time. The square also has stones in the pavement which indicate the sun entering different signs of the zodiac when the obelisk’s shadow falls on them.

Image by joom.

The overwhelming qualities of GC487RN make it the perfect spot to start off a geocaching tour of this microstate. Add a little ambition to your visit and you can walk away having found every geocache in a single country. 

 We know geocachers love country and regional souvenirs and we do too! We are releasing at least one new country/regional souvenir per month starting in January 2019. These new souvenirs will be featured alongside Geocaches of the Week in each region and shared on the third Wednesday of each month. Check out all of the Geocaching souvenirs here.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

Genevieve is a Community Coordinator at Geocaching HQ.