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Little country, big world (Part 1)

Little country, big world (Part 1)

There are huge countries, continental-sized ones, and there are hot tourist destinations that are made “big” by their name, but I guess we have neglected small countries for too long. Little country, big world is a chance to celebrate the proud cultural heritage of the tiny states that still make a world of difference.

Incorporated actually in the mega-metropolis of Rome, Vatican City, with its 0.2 square miles, is officially the smallest country in the world. Despite its size, it welcomes thousands of visitors from all around the globe and is the “political” center of Christianity. Home of the Pope of Rome, Vatican is an independent ecclesiastical state and most importantly, is the preserver of invaluable cultural riches, such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, not to mention the lavish Vatican Museums.

Measuring a meager 0.7 square miles, Monaco stretches along the picturesque French Riviera. It has been independent ever since the 13th century and its most famous symbols are the Monte Carlo casino and the elegant figure of Princess Grace, with her heartwarming story of love and tragedy.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island-country in the Caribbean, famous both for its exotic beauty and for its reduced size. Actually, there are two small islands: the larger St. Kitts, guarded by the high peak of Mount Liamuiga, and the circular Nevis, made up mostly of a mountain, Nevis Peak, and surrounded by multicolored coral reefs. Definitely an idyllic get-away!

Barbados (in the Lesser Antilles, in the Atlantic Ocean) de is another interesting mini-country. Uninhabited when the Brits first settled here in 1627, the island was soon colonized with African slaves forced to work on the sugar plantations until 1834, when they were freed after the abolition of slavery. Nevertheless, the British and European cultural influence is still very prominent here: cricket is the national sport and English is the national language. Barbados is also the birthplace of pop singer Rihanna.