As cardinals from all over the world gather for the papal conclave in order to choose the next pope to lead Roman Catholics, the Sistine Chapel has been closed to the public, UPI reported on March 5. Tourists will not be permitted to tour the most famous room in the world any time soon, unless the cardinals can reach an agreement quickly as to who will be the new pope.
The Sistine Chapel contains the most famous frescos in the world, including Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment” and "Creation of Adam." The chapel was closed to public traffic on Tuesday as the Vatican prepares for the papal conclave. The papal conclave will choose the man who will succeed Pope Benedict XVI. Other public spaces in the Vatican will remain open, but tourists will not have access to the Vatican’s grandest room of all, the Sistine Chapel.
In addition to Michelangelo’s “The Last Judgment” and “Creation of Adam,” the Sistine Chapel contains frescos by Botticelli, Perugino, Pinturicchio and other important, influential Italian Renaissance artists. It is estimated that 4 million tourists pass through the Sistine Chapel each year. The chapel was completed in 1541 and restored between 1984 and 1994.
Vatican insiders have said it expects the new pope to be chosen and installed by Easter Sunday, which falls on March 31 this year.
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