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.

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.

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.

The Daily Telegraph was invited on the most recent tour this week, along with about 25 enthusiasts from around the world who earned their places by buying a recently published, lavishly illustrated book on the archives.


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