About the Temple of the Roman GodsThe Pantheon is one of the symbols of the Roman Empire, so popular, in fact, that it is always immediately associated with Rome. Pantheon means "all gods," since it was dedicated to the 12 Olympian gods.
The 16 Corinthian pillars were brought directly from Egypt and weigh no less than 60 tons each. They stand at the height of 12 meters and have a 1.5 meter diameter. These columns support the triangular roof of the structure, where an inscription explains how this building was built by Marcus Agrippa.
You will also see the graves of some Italian kings and that of the artist Raffaello Sanzio.
If you want to enhance the experience, come to Pantheon when it is raining. It is special to see the water entering through the holes in the ceiling before trickling down to the center of the building. In case you were wondering what happens to the water here, the floor is slanted in such a way that the water gathers quickly in the drainage holes. Another interesting point is that on April 21, when the sun rays hit the metal plate above the door, the entrance to the temple is quite a spectacular sight.
Opposite the Pantheon stands the impressive Pantheon fountain, built by the architect Giacomo della Forte in 1575 and carved by Leonardo Sormani. Later on, pharaoh's obelisk from Egypt, dolphin carvings and a new base were added.
The Ceiling of the PantheonOne of the most interesting things about the Pantheon is its amazing ceiling, which is constructed as a dome on the roof of the building. Its diameter is 43 meters and at its center you will see a skylight called Okulos. Through this opening, light showers down into the building creating a beautiful atmosphere. This is the only light source in the structure and its diameter is 8 meters.
This dome of the ceiling is the largest in the world without support. Do not take it for granted, as it was a rather challenging architectural feat. Due to the massive weight of the dome, and in order to avoid its collapsing, the Roman engineers tried to make it weight as little as possible as they designed the ceiling to be higher. This was also the reason that the upper parts of the dome are made of lighter materials and have more internal spaces. Due to this interesting construction, the dome looks flatter from the outside than it really is.
The Pantheon's HistoryThe Pantheon was built in the year 27 AD following an order by Marcus Agrippa, commander of the Roman army and consul during the reign of Augustus. Following a fire that took place 60 years later, the building was completely burned down. It was rebuilt in 125 AD by Emperor Hadrian. The Pantheon was a temple, and in 609 it was converted to a church called Santa Maria Rotonda, though this was subsequently destroyed during the Middle Ages. It was the first time in history that a temple of idolatry became a Christian place of worship.
What is the Pantheon? (Courtesy of Eureka.com)The Pantheon in Rome is the most preserved building in the world, left over from the Roman period. It is the most ancient building in the world, still covered by its original ceiling and roof. This is one of the most impressive places in the city of Rome, a city with many fascinating archaeological sites.
Architecturally speaking, the Pantheon is a significant achievement in the ancient world, since the dome is made of concrete, from soil from Pozzolana. It is the largest domed structure in the ancient world and is so strong that it has survived to this day.
The word "Pantheon" means "rule of the gods" in Greek. In various ancient mythologies, such as Sumerian and Greek, this word described a temple. And indeed, the ancient Roman structure that remains intact to this day was originally used as a temple for all the gods - Pantheon.
However the Romans later changed its use to the court of the emperor, a law court, and after Christianity took over, it became a Christian church called Santa Maria Rotunda. It must be admitted that this is an interesting use of a structure originally intended for idol worship and contained a number of altars dedicated to the many gods of the ancient world.
The date of the inauguration of the Pantheon as a gift to the Pope, by Emperor Phocas, is celebrated to this day by the Christian world as "Halloween Night." Among those buried in the floor of the Pantheon is the painter Raphael and the kings of Italy.
TipsThere are guided tours of the Pantheon free of charge. There is no need to book a spot in advance.
The Pantheon is one of the most popular sites in Rome. Still, it is not very crowded here. If you want to see it in a pleasant way, it is best to arrive after 4:00 pm.