All throughout Rome, architectural masterpieces standing for thousands of years can make anyone stop, stare, and linger. One of the top attractions in Rome is an iconic landmark that has been captivating everyone for two thousand years -- the Pantheon. This 2000-year old church is one of Rome’s most-well preserved landmarks, and among the most iconic structures in the Western world. It’s enormous size, rustic touch in its walls, and intricately-designed interiors are nothing short of breathtaking.
The name Pantheon -- which means “all the Gods” -- was a fitting name for a temple built in honor of the seven Gods of the seven planets revered by Ancient Rome. However, in the year 609 the Pope reconsecrated the Pantheon as a Christian Church -- a move that ensured its survival from rampant medieval plundering. Though its name has been changed to Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs, many still address it as the Pantheon.
Ever since the time it was built, its unique architecture has been both an amazement and a curiosity -- in fact, the Pantheon was the inspiration behind Brunelleschi’s cupola in Florence, Italy. Needless to say, the structure’s massive dimensions and breathtaking dome continue to draw tourists in. A famous feature of the Pantheon is the Oculus -- a hole at the center of the dome which symbolizes the temple’s connection to the gods. The Oculus also serves as a conduit where light and ventilation can come in. Inside this intricately designed, marble-clad interior, are the burial places of several prominent figures in Rome’s history such as kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, and artist Raphael.
Visiting the Pantheon is more than just seeing firsthand Rome’s greatest architectural achievements; it’s also about seeing Rome in a different light. When you’re in the Pantheon, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back to the past -- quite literally -- to take in Rome’s colorful history. The Pantheon’s beauty and the mark it leaves on you make it a must-see while you’re in Rome.