Sistine Chapel Closes For Conclave Preparations Upsetting Visitors

Category: Society / Mar 05, 2013 1:34PM EDT
Tourists arriving at the Vatican Museums on Tuesday (March 5) were greeted with the news that the Sistine Chapel had been closed to prepare for the conclave. Signs at the entrance to the museum advised visitors that the Sistine Chapel would be closed from 1300 local time (1200 GMT) on Tuesday until further notice. "It's necessary, we need a new pope but it's ugly for us because we wanted to go in," German tourist, Anke, said. "I think if it's history, it's acceptable. Some people will miss it but that's part of history," Peter Wallace, a tourist from the United States added. "We were actually thinking of going to the Musei Vaticani yesterday and we are sort of regretting a little bit that we didn't do that so now we don't know whether to go in or not," German tourist, Florian, said. Some said the conclave was a good enough reason for them to get over their disappointment. "We are happy about the conclave," said Maria Myers. "It's for a great reason. It's disappointing not to see it but it's a great reason," David Sheehy added. At a briefing earlier on Tuesday, Vatican press officers said the closure was necessary to carry out important preparations ahead of the conclave. "In addition to the famous stove where the ballots will be burned, a whole floor has to be put in the Sistine Chapel. It's an elevation of the floor to make it all level, that will extend up to the first step of the altar area, and the floor then provides the space where the tables will be put that you've certainly seen in the pictures," Vatican press secretary, Thomas Rosica, said. Cardinals are holding meetings at the Vatican this week to get to know each other and decide when to start the conclave to choose a new pontiff. Video Source: Reuters