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Domes of temples

Over the past two millenia, several temples have been built and have become shrines of various religions and architectural masterpieces included in the UNESCO cultural heritage lists.

The largest dome has the temple of the Pantheon in Rome. It was built in 126 AD. The Roman Pantheon is an exceptionally significant architectural and historical monument of Ancient Rome. For many centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire in the world there were built nothing as significant and complex from the architectural point of view..

The second most important dome is the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul. Most of the oldest surviving cathedrals in Europe date from the 11th-13th century, and in Constantinople such a huge Cathedral with a dome without support was built in the 6th century. Hagia Sophia was built in just 5 years in the period 532-537, by the Emperor Justinian. For more than 1100 years, Hagia Sophia remained the largest temple in the world.

Only in the 16th century Italian Renaissance sculptors were able to surpass the Byzantine architects Anthimos and Isidore by building the Church of Saint Peter in Rome. Today, St. Peter`s Cathedral in Rome is the largest religious building. Some of the bell towers of the Gothic cathedrals of Europe are taller than St. Peter`s, but there we are talking about the steeple of the bell tower, not the Cathedral itself.

Other large domes of cathedrals were built in the later periods of the Renaissance and Classicism. These are the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, St. Paul Cathedral in London, St. Isaac Cathedral in St. Petersburg, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and others.

We should also mention the Golden Dome of the most famous mosque in Jerusalem, which is called the Dome of the Rock. This is the most recognizable symbol of Jerusalem – the city of three religions. Caliph Omar conquered Jerusalem in the mid-7th century, and the Dome of the Rock mosque was built under Caliph Abd al-Malik in 687-691.

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