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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Pantheon is a temple whose outside would not quite suggest the impressive and awe-inspiring interior. Completed in 126 AD by the Roman Empire, the temple was built for worship and remains one the best preserved pieces of ancient Roman architecture. Its name, “Pantheon”, is derived from Greek and means “All the Gods” as it was designed as a temple for all the Gods of ancient mythology, whose statues would have placed inside. The structure’s initial construction date is debated; much of the building is believed to have been destroyed and rebuilt, and repaired several times.
On the façade, it reads an abbreviated form of “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made this building when consul for the third time”, which suggests the date was as early as 31 BC. Research suggests that the façade was the only part to survive destruction after several fires, and the rest of construction was started in 114 under Trajan . The then modern and innovative use of concrete allowed the dome to become the largest unreinforced dome in the world. In 609, the Pantheon was given to Pope Boniface IV by the Bryzantine Emperor, Phocas. Pope Boniface consecrated the building as “Santa Maria dei Martiri”, converting it to a Christian church, as it remains today.
While the massive structure may impress you from the outside, it is the interior that will leave you breathless. The walls are covered in various shades of colored marble, and when you tilt your head you will find the concrete dome decorated with coffered squares. In the center is an open oculus (a large circular hole, in this case nearly 30 feet in diameter). The oculus acts as the only source of natural light and is never covered. After rain, any water which entered through the oculus is removed by sporadically placed drains in the floor. At its tallest, the Pantheon is 142 feet tall which is the same measurement as its width.
Around the edges are Christian monuments made of gold and marble in the niches of the wall, surrounded by columns. There are several monumental tombs for notable Italians, including the artist Raphael, and Italian royalty. The Pantheon has had a lasting impression on architecture, having inspired countless domed and columned buildings, including the Panthéon of Paris and the Duomo Cathedral (Florence Cathedral).
Visiting the Pantheon, and Nearby AttractionsAdmission to the Pantheon is free, tours are self-guided, and there is no queue or security screening. A quick tour of the interior can last as little five minutes and is well worth the visit. The Pantheon is open daily from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM, except for on national holidays and during mass. The Pantheon sits in the Piazza della Rotonda (named after the informal Christian name of the structure), where there is a fountain and obelisk surrounded by outside dining and tourist shops. It is just a seven minute walk from the Trevi Fountain or, in the opposite direction, a seven-minute walk to Piazza Navona. Because of the narrow and complicated streets of Rome, it is often quicker to walk to nearby attractions than to take a taxi or use public transportation.
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Author: workwoman. Last updated: Feb 24, 2015