The Pantheon (meaning 'temple of every god') is a former Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa's original inscription, which has confused its date of construction as the original Pantheon burnt down so it is not certain when the present one was built.

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres.

Pantheon is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. The Pantheon's large circular domed cella, with a conventional temple portico front, is 'unique' in Roman architecture. Nevertheless, it became a standard exemplar when classical styles were revived, and has been copied many times by modern architects.

Pantheon was converted into the church of St. Mary of the Martyrs in 608 CE. In 1270 a bell tower was added to the porch roof and later removed. Also, at some time in the Middle Ages the left side of the porch was damaged which necessitated the replacement of three columns. The first came from Domitian's villa at Castelgandolfo and was added in 1626. The other two columns came from the Baths of Nero and were added in 1666. However, these additions were rose-pink in colour whilst originally the front eight columns of the porch were all grey and only the internal four were pink Aswan. Also in 1626 Pope Urban VIII removed all of the bronze girders from the porch roof and recast the metal into 80 canons for the city's Castel Sant'Angelo. The presence of these girders suggests that the porch roof originally had heavy marble tiles.

Despite these changes the Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient monuments in the world and it still has an important function and status today as within it are the tombs of the Italian monarchy from 1870-1946 and another notable tomb is that of Raphael (1483-1520 CE).

Pantheon is visited by over 6 million people annually. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Rome.

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Founded: 126 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Henrique Leme Orsi (2 years ago)
It's very intriguing: a building with a huge hole on the ceiling. How the sun hits inside, the oval structure, how the rainwater is drained because it actually rains inside! Tip: there are some places identified on the ground that you can put your cell/camera that allow you to take a perfect picture with two people aligned and the hole in the middle. It's fun! :)
Satish s.s (2 years ago)
This is very nice place to visit. Good view and nice crowd outside the Pantheon and surroundings. With guided tour or if interested in listening to audio guide available there then it can up to one or 2 hours depending on your interest. This is free of charge to visit. The roof is excellent and nice place
Diego Torres (2 years ago)
I've seen this place on a Discovery Network documentary before I went to Italy and saw it in person. Pictures do not adequately express the grandeur, scale or beauty of this amazing structure. It is enormous and majestic. I believe it is still has one of the largest unsupported cement roofs in the world. There is a wonderful plaza just outside the entrance with restaurants to eat al fresco, and little shops as well.
Mojca Galun (2 years ago)
Absolutely magnificent. Rome has a lot of lovely things, but I really recommend visiting Pantheon. It's so grandiose that is hard to imagine that it was built in ancient Rome. I don't know if it is just me, but I had this feeling like history was made here. Also interesting from architectural view point: it has a hole in the middle of the roof and drainage shafts at the bottom. Fascinating!
Palak Gupta (2 years ago)
You should definitely visit this place if you are visiting Rome. The most important thing you should know that it's entry is free. Here, there is the tomb of one the greatest painters, Raphael. The dome of pantheon is the largest unsupported dome in the world till date, meaning there are no pillars or beams to support the dome. The dome has a circular opening on the top. During rain, the waters comes inside through the opening but there is proper drainage system maintained to not let water accumulate inside.
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