The Vatican opens its Secret Archives to dispel Dan Brown myths
After centuries of being kept under lock and key, the Vatican has started opening its Secret Archives to outsiders in a bid to dispel the myths and mystique created by works of fiction such as Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.
Nick Squires - 27 May 2010
The archives, until now jealously guarded from prying eyes, provide one of the key settings in Brown’s thriller, in which Harvard “symbologist” Robert Langdon, played in the 2009 film by Tom Hanks, races against time to stop a secret religious order, the Illuminati, from destroying Vatican City.
In the movie, the Secret Archives are portrayed as a hi-tech cross between the Pentagon and the lair of a James Bond baddy, complete with bullet proof glass and swish steel elevators.
In reality, the archives rely on disarmingly old-fashioned technology, with a creaking metal lift connecting different floors and millions of documents catalogued in 1,300 parchment-bound inventories dating back centuries.
They have been open to carefully vetted academic researchers for more than 100 years, but in the last few months the Vatican has granted tours to select groups of journalists and members of the public, allowing a glimpse into one of its inner most sanctums.
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