Along with the Coliseum, the Pantheon is a very significant architectural monument of the 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 Pantheon was built in 126 AD, under the emperor Adrian, as the «temple of every god». In 608 the Eastern Roman emperor Phocas gave the Pantheon to the Pope Boniface IV who converted it into a Christian temple. This saved it from destruction. And it is just for this reason that most buildings of the Ancient Rome are now lay in ruins while the Pantheon is still in a very good condition.
The architectural value of the Pantheon is in the harmony of its inner space and the diameter of its dome. The height from the floor to the dome is 43 meters and the diameter of the dome is also 43 meters. The Romans created the temple with the inner space of perfect shape, which symbolized the universe. The dome is an embodiment of heaven lighted by the sun through the hole in its center. The temple was very big for that time. But of course against the background of the Coliseum, with the height of modern 16-floor building, it was less impressive.
The Pantheon still has the largest dome in the world. The following generations were able to create no such thing. In theory, modern technologies allow to construct domes of such size but these domes will be reinforced ones while the dome of the Pantheon is not reinforced.
The width of the walls of the Pantheon reaches 6 meters. The walls have a very complex structure allowing to withstand the weight of the dome. The lower tiers consist of concrete with travertine chippings and the upper tiers consist of lighter materials, such as tufa or pumice.
Beginning from the period of Renaissance they began to bury famous people in the Pantheon. At the Pantheon there were also buried several famous painters including Raphael. In 1878 at the Pantheon there was buried Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, the king who united Italy, as well as his son, the king Umberto I. The royal tombs are guarded by the volunteers from the National Institute of Ceremonial Guard founded in 1878.