The Awe Inspiring Pantheon
Italy is a beautiful country that boasts many historic cities and sites. Rome is infamous for its architecture and history. The Pantheon is one of the top sites to visit when in Rome. It is a structure built for the gods, literally. It was an ancient temple that still stands today. In order to see this structure one needs to make sure their passport is in order or apply for a new passport so that travel to Rome possible.
Passports are documents that allow one to travel internationally. Anyone attempting international travel must have a passport in order to do so. Obtaining a passport used to be difficult, today with new technology and services it is a cinch. Before applying for it make sure you have all necessary documents including a travel visa if needed. This will ensure a smooth passport application process and allow for a timely delivery.
The Pantheon was constructed around 27 B.C.E., construction continued until 25 B.C.E. It was commissioned to honor the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra by Actium. The original building burned around 80 C.E., it was then rebuilt in 125 C.E. by the emperor Hadrian. It was built as a fully functional temple and remained that way for over two centuries.
The architecture of the Pantheon was very unique at the time of its construction. It was built as a rotund building with the only light entering from an opening at the center of the building. This opening was known as the oculus. When the Pantheon was used as a temple it housed the statues of various deities and the altar also featured animal sacrifices. The smoke from the burned animals ascended through the oculus and directly to the gods.
When Christianity took over Rome the Pantheon was abandoned. At the time it was illegal for any public worship of the pagan deities. However, later there was an order that decreed all buildings used. It eventually became a Christian Church. It was consecrated in the name of the Virgin Mary as the Church of Santa Maria Ad Martyers. It was dedicated to the saints and martyrs as well. This kept the theme of “pan” going.
The Pantheon went through many changes from function to the actual building itself. It was looted many times and stripped of its goods, including Bronze. In the early 16th century Michelangelo studied the Pantheon for inspiration. The Pantheon’s inspiration lead to the dome of St. Peter at the Vatican which is only two feet smaller than that of the Pantheon.
The Pantheon today is one of the most visited sites in Rome. It has been featured in popular books such as Holy Blood Holy Grail and Angels and Demons. It was deemed a World Heritage Site in 1980. The structure of the Pantheon has been the inspiration for many contemporary buildings. These buildings include the British Museum Reading Room, The Tomas Jefferson Rotunda at the University of Virginia, the Low Library at Columbia University and the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.