The Pantheon (Rome, Italy) was built almost 1,900 years ago in times of the great Roman Empire. For about 500 years the Pantheon served as a temple to all the Gods. The temple was converted into the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs in 609. The Pantheon now contains the tombs of the famous artist Raphael and several Italian kings, including Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a united Italy.
A few interesting facts:
– The dome’s diameter equals the interior height of 43.3 meters (142 feet)
– The oculus or eye, a circular opening in the roof, is the only source of natural light. Its diameter is 8.2 meters (27 feet), a length of two sedan cars
– The walls at the base are very thick- 6 meters (20 feet)
– Before the current Pantheon was built in 118-125 AD, two other buildings occupied the same site. The first one was a temple dedicated to the gods Mars and Venus. It burned down in 80 AD, but was rebuilt, and in 110 AD struck by lightning and burned down again. The third one, today’s Pantheon, for whatever reasons is lucky to stand for almost 2,000 years. It is the only structure of its age and size that has successfully survived the time and gravity since fall of the Roman Empire. Can you imagine, the marble floor is still the ancient Roman original!
The Pantheon borders the Piazza della Rotonda, a rectangular square with at its center an 18th century fountain crowned with an obelisk.
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