Ancient Origins

The Pantheon was originally built between 27 and 25 BCE by the Roman statesman and general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.

Unfortunately, the original structure was destroyed by fire in 80 CE. The Pantheon that we see today is a reconstruction commissioned by Emperor Hadrian and completed around 125 CE.

Perfect Symmetry

One of the most astonishing facts about the Pantheon is its architectural perfection. The building is a true marvel of symmetry and proportion.

The dome has the same diameter as the height of the building, which means that a perfect sphere could fit inside the structure. This harmonious design is a testament to the architectural and engineering prowess of the ancient Romans.


At the apex of the Pantheon’s dome is the oculus, a circular opening that allows natural light to filter into the building.

The oculus also serves as a ventilation system, helping to regulate the temperature and humidity inside. It is open to the sky, which means that the Pantheon is exposed to the elements, making the fact that it has stood for almost two millennia even more remarkable.

World’s Largest Unreinforced Concrete Dome

The Pantheon’s dome is not only a masterpiece of design but also an engineering marvel. It remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.

The dome’s thickness tapers from 6.4 meters (21 feet) at its base to just 1.2 meters (4 feet) at the oculus. This architectural innovation was groundbreaking for its time and remains awe-inspiring today.

Influence on Architecture

The Pantheon’s design has left an indelible mark on architectural history. It has inspired countless buildings, including the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. 

Its use of a massive dome with an oculus has been emulated in various architectural styles and periods.

Raphael’s Tomb

Located within the Pantheon is the tomb of the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael.

The great painter’s final resting place is fittingly in a building that has been a source of artistic inspiration for centuries.

Structural Stability

The Pantheon’s structural stability is due, in part, to the composition of its concrete.

The ancient Romans used a unique formula involving volcanic ash and aggregate to create a durable and resilient material. This mixture has contributed to the Pantheon’s longevity and endurance.

Iconic Portico

The grand entrance to the Pantheon is marked by a portico with 16 massive granite columns.

These columns were quarried in Egypt and transported to Rome, a testament to the scale and grandeur of the Roman Empire. The portico is adorned with inscriptions and statues, adding to the building’s overall majesty.

Continuous Use

Remarkably, the Pantheon has been in continuous use since its construction in the 2nd century CE.

It was initially dedicated as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. Today, it serves as a Catholic church, Santa Maria ad Martyres, but retains its historical and architectural significance.

Historical Connections

Over the centuries, the Pantheon has been the site of various historical events and connections.

The tomb of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy is also housed within the building. The Pantheon’s remarkable history includes connections to Italian royalty, popes, and notable individuals from different periods.

Acoustic Marvel

The Pantheon boasts impressive acoustics. Stand near the entrance, and even a soft whisper can be heard by someone on the opposite side of the dome.

This phenomenon is a result of the building’s perfect circular shape and the reflective properties of its walls.

Pagan to Christian Transformation

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Pantheon was consecrated as a Christian church in the 7th century.

This transformation helped to preserve the building, as many other Roman temples were destroyed during this period.

Annual Rose Petal Shower

Each year, on June 4th, the Feast of Pentecost, the Pantheon experiences a beautiful tradition known as the “Pentecost Rose.”

During this event, rose petals are dropped through the oculus, filling the interior with a stunning shower of red and yellow petals.

The Pantheon is more than just an ancient building; it’s a symbol of architectural brilliance, engineering innovation, and the enduring spirit of Rome. From its perfectly symmetrical design to its remarkable use of concrete, the Pantheon has left an indelible mark on the world of architecture. Visiting this iconic structure not only offers a journey into the past but also a chance to witness one of the most remarkable buildings ever constructed by human hands. The Pantheon remains a testament to the genius of the ancient Romans and continues to inspire and awe visitors from around the world.