Back to intro The Sistine Chapel Papal Apartments St. Peter's Square St. Peter's Basilica St. Martha's House

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Built in the late 15th Century, the chapel is famed for its ceiling and wall paintings by Renaissance master Michelangelo. It is also where the "princes of the Church" elect a new pope. Cardinals meet daily until they reach a decision, signalled by white smoke from the chapel's chimney.


white smoke from Sistine chapel indicates pope’s election in 1978 Onlookers wait to see smoke rising after each vote

Cardinals take part in ceremonies in 1978 at the Sistine Chapel Only cardinals under the age of 80 can take part in a conclave


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