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San Marino country profile

Map of San Marino

Landlocked San Marino is one of the world's smallest countries. Surrounded by Italy, it is an echo from an era when city-states proliferated across Europe.

Mount Titano, part of the Appennine range, dominates San Marino's landscape. Three defensive fortresses perch on Titano's slopes, looking out to the Adriatic coast.

Overview

San Marino is said to be the world's oldest surviving republic.

Tradition has it that the country was founded in the fourth century AD by a devout Christian stonemason called Marinus, who took refuge there and set up a small community. Its rugged isolation helped the enclave to develop and keep its independence.

An 1862 friendship and cooperation treaty with Italy, which has since been revised and expanded, reinforced San Marino's independence.

Fortresses perch on San Marino's Mount Titano

Tourism dominates the economy of the 61 square kilometre (23.6 square miles) republic, which plays host to more than three million visitors every year.

Postage stamps and coins - keenly sought by collectors - are important sources of revenue.

As one of Europe's tax havens, San Marino has traditionally attracted a large inflow of cash from non-residents, but in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008-9 this status has come increasingly under threat, and the republic has pledged to make its banking system more transparent.

Facts

  • Full name: Republic of San Marino
  • Population: 31,500 (UN, 2011)
  • Capital: San Marino
  • Area: 61.2 sq km (23.6 sq miles)
  • Major language: Italian
  • Major religions: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 84 years (women)
  • Monetary unit: euro
  • Main exports: Wine, ceramics, furniture, craft goods
  • Internet domain: .sm
  • GNI per capita: $50, 670 (World Bank 2009)
  • International dialling code: +378

Leaders

San Marino's constitution provides for a parliamentary style of government. The 60-member Great and General Council is elected every five years. It is headed by two captains-regent, who are elected by the council every six months and act as heads of state for that period.

The 10-member Congress of State is elected by the Great and General Council and exercises executive power.

Media

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Compiled by BBC Monitoring

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