This week the Vatican's papal conclave began the process of choosing the next spiritual leader of 1.18 billion Catholics worldwide. White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday, indicating a new pope was elected. The conclave voted amid Michelangelo's imposing frescoes imagining the beginning and the end of the world.
The majority of the 108-acre country (Vatican City is the world's smallest independent state) -- including towers, apartments, restoration labs, tombs and secret archives -- is off-limits to people without a Vatican City passport. For a rare look inside the Holy See, we pulled up exclusive videos by National Geographic and History Channel.
AOL Real Estate contributed to this report.
See the Parts of the Vatican Off-Limits to Tourists
As Papal Conclave Vote Comes, Go Inside the Vatican Tourists Don't See
The next pope will prepare to engage the masses in his private office above St. Peter's Square.
The cardinals sleep and eat at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a residence in Vatican City, during the conclave process.