The Pantheon

The Pantheon is the best preserved Roman temple from Antiquity. It is one of the main historical symbols of the city and is considered the largest unreinforced concrete structure in the world. Its construction began in 27. BC by order of one of the most famous Roman generals – Mark Agrippa, a close friend of Octavian Augustus. Its name literally means “all the gods” and this is associated with the fact that the Pantheon was erected as a temple to all ten deities worshiped by the Romans during the pagan period. The temple was finally completed in its current form before 128. by the emperor Hadrian. In the 7th century, it began to be used by Christians, but it retained its function as a temple throughout its existence.


Description: the Pantheon /picture source: Shutterstock/;

With its large marble columns and brick walls, the Pantheon instantly makes a strong impression on its visitors. The sixteen massive columns that support the pediment weigh 60 tons and were carved in Egypt, then transported to Rome. The pediment is empty today, but in the past it was decorated with gilded bronze statues, which were removed by order of Pope Urban VIII to make a canopy in St. Peter’s Basilica. Another portion of the melted figures were used to cast the cannons of the Fort San Angelo. At the entrance to the Pantheon, the original dedication can still be read, which reads as follows: “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time, built this” (“M.AGRIPPA.L.F.COSTERTIUM.FECIT”). Although we owe the current appearance of the temple to Emperor Hadrian, who modified the original building after it burned down in 80 AD, the emperor did not leave his name, but that of Marcus Agrippa. In fact, it is an interesting fact that despite the many temples he built, Hadrian left his name on only one of them – the temple of his father Trajan. Large bronze doors, formerly covered with gold, mark the entrance to the temple. The most impressive element of the Pantheon is undoubtedly its dome. Its diameter is 43 meters and for a long time it was the world leader until the construction of the Cathedral “Santa Maria del Fiori” in Florence. It has a spherical shape and a hole in the middle. The distance from the floor to the top of the dome is 43.3 m. The opening allows light to enter the temple and illuminate its interior. The dome is supported by a series of arches that run horizontally in a circle. Lighter materials are used for its top. At the base, travertine was used, higher up a mixture of travertine and tuff, then tuff and bricks. Only bricks were used for the drum of the dome, and pumice stone for its ceiling.


Description: the cupole  the Pantheon /picture source: Shutterstock/;

Today, the Pantheon is still used as a church and religious rituals are held there during major holidays. The remains of the painter Raphael, the Italian King Victor Emmanuel II and his wife Margarita, as well as other dignitaries were laid there.

Address:Piazza della Rotonda;

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