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(Video) Did You Know? This Small European Country Was Founded By Refugees

San Marino is the third smallest country in the world with a crazy history to boot. This is one of the world’s best hiding spots because it was not found through war and conquest. But because a man was running away from prosecution.

Sometimes called ‘the most serene republic’ is true to its name. The country managed to avoid almost every major war in the past millennia simply because of its size.

Picture: Google

Other countries, especially their neighbor involved in big battles did not find them threatening in any way. Hence, they were mostly left alone in peace. In essence, they managed to keep their sovereignty tight in their grip based on their founder’s last words.

“I leave you free from both men.” – Saint Marinus

They are completely landlocked in Italy with the size of 61 sq-km, making them the third smallest country after Vatican City and Monaco. They are divided into nine municipalities with the capital, The City of San Marino in the hillside. The capital only has a population of 4,000 people.

Picture: Google

It is the oldest sovereign in the world with the oldest constitution and the smallest republic. As a landlocked nation, it means they have no seaports. In order to get there, travelers need to fly to the closest airport in Italy. They do have one small airport in Torraccia but it is for private planes only. But commercial flights have to go through Rimini at Federico Fellini International Airport.

San Marino was named after its founder, Saint Marinus. He was a stonemason from Rab, Dalmatia. Historically, the Roman emperor used to actively hunt and kill Christian. In order to avoid, prosecution, Saint Marinus escaped to Rimini. His life was peaceful by the seaside land until some women approached him and claimed him to be their estranged husband.

This caused him to go to the mountain which is now the capital of the country. He met Lady Felicita, who originally owns the land. She asked him to heal her son. Because of his success, the mountain was given to him and from there he built a monastery. Many Christians who heard of the safe haven went there for protection. And the monastery eventually becomes a fort.

Saint Marinus’s last words are what drives the people to maintain their independence. And it worked. That principle managed to prevent them from being absorbed into Italy. They survived Mussolini’s regime and major wars. They are very proud of that achievement. Despite most of them are descendants of Italians and still maintained many Italian cultures, they do not appreciate being called Italian. It shows their absolute pride in their identity as Sammarinese.

Although, they have the worst football team in the world. They only have won one game since their foundation in 1990.

Despite being a small country, it still has everything they need. The country thrives on tourism and sales of quirky items. Although, the items are mostly illegal outside the country like weapons. They even have museums and attractions related to werewolves, vampires, and witches.

The good news for shoppers, the tax in San Marino is half less than in Italy. It is also a tax haven for foreign brands since they have lots of factories here for manufacturing.

Picture: World Atlas

Interestingly, they are one of the rare countries that have no debt. Which is in line with their principles of staying independent. The number of tourists visiting the country is around 3.2 million people every year which is significantly higher than their population of 34,000.

They also have the highest rate of car ownership to the point there are more cars than people thanks to their population. Despite the small lands but they still have interesting natural landscapes like grasslands, creeks, and rivers. But also interesting fauna like the adorable least weasel.

Maybe once travel is lifted, you can go to this elusive country and escape as Saint Marinus did.

Source: Geography Now

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