Even after getting millions of tourists per year there are yet a lot of things that visitors don’t know about the architecture, history, and art of the Pantheon.
It is considered as the Eternal City’s most stunning ancient temple.
So let’s find out 10 most fascinating things about one of Rome‘s adorable landmarks.
- The name comes from Greek.
The word Pantheon is gotten from the ancient Greek words ‘pan’ (all) and theos (god). The temple was committed to the love of all gods. You can see this still today in the name of the present-day church which is Santa Maria e Martiri.
- It’s a church.
In the year 608, Emperor Phocas gifted this church to Pope Boniface IV who evacuated all remnants of paganism and consecrated it as St Mary and the Martyrs church, however initially it was developed as a pagan temple which was committed to all the divine. The structures well-preserved state owes a lot to its Christian lifestyle as it simply implies the Pantheon got away a greater part of the plundering abandonment which destroyed a considerable lot of Rome’s ancient structures during medieval times.
- The Oculus is open.
The only source of light when the Pantheon was built was the oculus in the center of the dome. ‘The Eye of the Pantheon’ measures 8.2m in diameter/ The founding date of Rome is 21 April and on his date, a clever lighting trick was played out. You will see that at midday the sunlight hits the metal grille over the entryway which fills the entrance way with the light. Maybe this would have lit up the ruler in ancient times also by representing his appearance as divine on earth.
- Saved from Destruction.
As this represents the city’s historic center with a large archaeological site scattered with ruins, it’s unbelievable to see that the Pantheon has been perfectly standing after 200 years yet after suffering big damages in marbles, metals, and sculptures during the Medieval and Renaissance eras. Therefore, the Pantheon has turned into the best preserved old landmark to be in continuous use since its commencement in 127 AD.
- It was once covered in bronze.
The skyline of the city sparkle in the sunlight because of the Pantheons bronze covered dome. Although with time passing, the materials gradually stripped away to be used elsewhere. The bronze was also taken by the Pope Urban VIII who was a member of the Barberini family to build cannons for the Vatican for offering to ascend to the saying ‘quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini.
- Record-breaking concrete dome.
The marvelous 142 ft dome was developed using concrete mixed with materials like tufa and pumice to decrease the weight as the dome rises. The coffers in the roof likewise help to minimize the weight. This considered as the biggest dome worldwide for over 1300 years until Brunelleschi, motivated by the Pantheon, developed his renowned Duomo in Florence.
- The big hole in the ceiling.
The Oculus gives the only source of light, besides from the entrance door. It would likewise enable smoke to escape when the Pantheon was utilized for pagan functions in ancient times. In the rainy season, the water drains away from the Pantheon because of its slightly sloping floor and 22 well-camouflaged holes.
- It is not the first Pantheon.
You’ll actually be shocked to hear but this is not the first Pantheon, It is actually the third structure on the same site. The first Pantheon was created by Marcus Agrippa in 27 BC but it was burned out then Emperor Domition reconstructed with lighting. However, it was also burned down again. The current version was built by Hadrian between 118-128 AD which was almost 2000 years ago. He reused the original engraving building he Agrippa which for some time created confusion for the exact date of construction.
- Perfect sphere inside.
You will see the dimensions of the Pantheon follow the great rules spread out by top Roman architect Vitruvius which still inspires many. A perfect sphere fit exactly inside the Pantheon with the height and diameter of 142 feet.
- There’s a link with food.
You’ll be able to find the touch of the first two kings of Italy named Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I along with Umberto’s wife in the tombs. Umberto’s wife Margherita has now increased global fame as the motivation for the Margherita pizza. The story behind the Margherita pizza follows like this, when the royal couple visited Naples in 1889 a local pizzaiolo made them a pizza with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes to add the colors of Italian flag thus the pizza named after Margherita Queen.
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