I've always wondered how to feel about monuments and the reverence they gain as time and the skill set needed to create them passes us by in each lifetime - especially since there is no agreement on present day human rights abuses that occur to create fascinating places that are oft playgrounds for the rich. On one hand the grandeur always elicits the question of why they were built, for whom and by whom in the back of my mind. Generalizing history, I always feel that the price paid is usually in blood more than any currency of the past. Again adding complexity to my enjoyment because I have a really hard time when trying to separate the suffering of the past from awe inspiring scale represented in the present. I don't want to forget to reconcile current inequalities and discrepancies between groups with the associated historical pursuits.
I will say that seeing as the history of the Vatican has been good enough to read, write and watch for at least the last 30 years - I couldn't stop myself from seeing sights within the city. My personal fascination began once my eighth grade teacher introduced us to the legends of backroom dealings via storied families such as the Medici's and the Borgias via the renaissance. It's dwindled in past years, but seeing many masterpieces and views I'd only ever googled has certainly reignited some passion and a few more questions in my hears and mind. The best part about seeing it all was that despite the crowds, growing as the day went by, I still felt like I was having a moment all by myself before each piece of art and every new building I encountered. I walked through the halls with my breath constantly being taken away. It is so resplendant in real life. Approaching pieces done by my rennaissance faves, Michealangelo and Da Vinci (hashtag nerd alert) - I almost squealed but had to keep my composure lest any of the guards think me too over excited and kick me out. Attending mass the next day revealed just how much people are moved by their faith no matter the language.
In the contemporary setting we see states such as the UAE coming into question for the brutal contracts migrant workers are tricked into signing. This doesn't stop cities such as Dubai from being heralded as proof of human ingenuity in the modern age. Tourism is rife and there's always something mind boggling going on there (ie helicopter uber's). Of course there is nothing sacred about Dubai in relation to the expanse of history. But I digress, there is questionable holiness associated with the Vatican. When entering the Sistine Chapel, guards sushed us and warned us not to take pictures in order to preserve the holiness of the church. However after one quick google search I found out that the chapel had been rented out by Porsche a year ago. Money still moves minds in those walls.
But to conclude my little diatribe, I left the city feeling that I had to allow myself to be penetrated by the awe and admiration I felt. I still want to remember those who were born on the wrong side of history. But I will never experience the Vatican for the first time in this life and so the bitter and sweet have to be swallowed as one. That and I saw black Jesus in the vatican, so amen to that.