What You Need to Know About the Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most famous buildings and is known across the globe for its magnificent pillars and iconic dome. With a name that in Greek means “honor to all Gods”, this building’s story dates back to 27 BCE and the reign of Augustus and is just one strand in the rich tapestry that is Roman history. That being said, this building has a truly fascinating past.

Designing the Pantheon

Marcus Agrippa was the first to commission the construction of a Roman Temple on this site under the reign of Augustus. The original Pantheon was built and dedicated to Romulus, the mythological founder of Rome, in 27 BC. However, the structure was not long for this world, and burned to the ground in 80 AD. Emperor Domitian then took charge of the project to rebuild this temple. A mere 30 years later the very same building was struck by lightning and burned once again. Finally, Emperor Hadrian, beside Apollodorus of Damascus, a famous Greek architect, worked together in 120 AD to produce the Pantheon that is still standing today, almost 2000 years later. Unfortunately, this duo didn’t work well together, and when an argument about the design of the temple arose, Emperor Hadrian had the architect executed and continued with his own vision.

Building the Pantheon

Though the Pantheon was originally a Roman Temple, it was converted into a church in the early 7th century. Many say that this has a lot to do with its phenomenal preservation. In fact, it is the best preserved ancient Roman monument on earth. Barbarian Raids and the countless battles that were fought over Rome’s history saw every other monument shattered or damaged, but the Pantheon remained intact. A rather ironic outcome considering the fate of the two previous Pantheons. What makes this building such an anomaly, though, is the fact that the exact composition of materials is still unknown. However, through testing of small samples of the building, it seems that the materials resemble a modern-day concrete mixture, which means the construction methods were significantly ahead of the Pantheon’s time.

To visit the Pantheon and to cast your skies to the magnificent Rome above your head, with the hole in the center known as the eye of Pantheon illuminating the room around you is really a unique experience. To witness the sheer size of this dome is an experience like no other, and to this day the Pantheon holds the record for the largest unsupported dome in the world.

Explore the Pantheon on our Rome City Tour with Colosseum.

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