The Pantheon – Rome – 126 AD

The Eye — Sunlight beams through the Pantheon’s oculus, down upon a throng of tourists.

The Eye — Sunlight beams through the Pantheon’s oculus, down upon a throng of tourists. (Jan Kraus)

Pantheon – 17th Century — This drawing by Giovanni Battista Falda dates back to the late 17th century. The Pantheon was defined as a temple to all gods. Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) added the two bell towers designed by Bernini. They were removed in 1833.

Pantheon – 17th Century — This drawing by Giovanni Battista Falda dates back to the late 17th century. The Pantheon was defined as a temple to all gods. Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) added the two bell towers designed by Bernini. They were removed in 1833.

Visitors from all over the world visit the Pantheon, one of the oldest intact buildings of antiquity.

Visitors from all over the world visit the Pantheon, one of the oldest intact buildings of antiquity. (Jan Kraus)

Map — A 1625 map by Giovanni Maggi shows the Pantheon within its environment.

Map — A 1625 map by Giovanni Maggi shows the Pantheon within its environment.

A lasting attraction — Every day hundreds of visitors enter the Pantheon through its grand doors and into its exquisite symmetry.

A lasting attraction — Every day hundreds of visitors enter the Pantheon through its grand doors and into its exquisite symmetry. (Kalervo Koskimies)

Memorial niches — Along the interior walls, marble columns frame niches with memorial portrait busts.

Memorial niches — Along the interior walls, marble columns frame niches with memorial portrait busts. (Kalervo Koskimies)

Elaborate crowns — Corinthian capitals crown the columns in the alcoves.

Elaborate crowns — Corinthian capitals crown the columns in the alcoves. (Kalervo Koskimies)

High altar — Using the design of Alessandro Specchi, Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) rebuilt the high altar and apse in the sanctuary.

High altar — Using the design of Alessandro Specchi, Pope Clement XI (1700-1721) rebuilt the high altar and apse in the sanctuary. (Kalervo Koskimies)

Chapels — The Pantheon, dedicated as a Catholic church and renamed Santa Maria ad Martyres (Our Lady and the Martyrs) has several small chapels, each decorated with priceless artwork.

Chapels — The Pantheon, dedicated as a Catholic church and renamed Santa Maria ad Martyres (Our Lady and the Martyrs) has several small chapels, each decorated with priceless artwork. (Kalervo Koskimies)

Admired through the ages — No one knows the Pantheon’s exact age, but people – including notables such as Michelangelo – have admired it for centuries.

Admired through the ages — No one knows the Pantheon’s exact age, but people – including notables such as Michelangelo – have admired it for centuries.