Pantheon is an ancient Roman temple, now turned church, in the city of Rome, Italy. Agrippa, the right hand to Emperor Augustus, built the first temple around 27 BC. However, it burnt down in 80 AD, and then was rebuilt in 120 AD. The Romans used it as a temple until 609 AD, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated it as a church. Since then, it has been a place of worship for Catholics in Rome.
Despite being nearly 2,000 years old, the temple is still a breathtaking site. In fact, it is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman monuments, having survived several raids and wars. The original design and decorations are still intact, with their beauty and elegance, serving as a reminder of ancient Roman architectural superiority.
The temple’s dome is the most breathtaking feature of this historic monument. The dome, which has a diameter of 43.4 meters, is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. At the center of the dome, there is a massive Oculus (8.7 meters in diameter), which is famously referred to as the eye of Pantheon. The Oculus brings in the sun by the day, while creating a breathtaking view of the sky during the night.
The dome is one of the greatest architectural achievements of ancient Romans. Its design has influenced the construction of other buildings, including the US Capitol, the St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Renaissance Cathedral. This makes it one of the most influential architectural structures in the world.
The original temple was built with steps leading up to its entrance. However, due to several modifications over the years, the steps now lead down to the portico. Here, you will find 16 large Corinthian columns surrounding the portico, making it another breathtaking structure of the temple. Each of the columns stands at 39 ft tall and weighs 60 tons. They are from Egypt, and their transportation to Rome involved a huge amount of slave labor.
The temple’s interior is another great attraction you should check out. Its beauty and elegance is mostly due to the effect of the dome. During the day, the light from the sun enters the interior through the Oculus of the dome, creating an overwhelming sight. The interior also features several beautiful decorations, which help to add to the beauty and elegance of the temple.
The Pantheon features tombs, which are the burial place of several important figures. Notable among them are Italian royals, including Umberto I and his wife, and Victor Emmanuel II. Other figures in the tomb include painters and architects such as Raphael (a famous Renaissance painter), Flaminio Vacca (architect), and others. These tombs are a walk down the memory lanes of important figures that helped to shape the future of Italy.
The temple is home to a number of historic artworks. At the main altar, you will find the iconic 7th century painting of Madonna and Child. Other artworks you can find in the temple include the semi dome of the apse as well as several second century paintings and decorations.