Here I am walking into the Pantheon for the first time. . .
The pantheon is probably the best-preserved ancient building in Rome and is known especially for the occulous (round hole) that crowns the roof and ceiling and provides the only source of light for the building (which makes for some pretty amazing light when the sun is shining brightly). It was built orginially as a temple to all the Roman gods in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa, but was turned into a Christian church in 607 AD and rebuilt in 117 AD by Hadrian.. The single-shell dome is even bigger than the dome on St. Peter's which is pretty amazing, considering it was built hundreds of years earlier. In fact, I think it is the largest dome built with non-reinforced concrete. Also really interesting about the building is that the diameter of the dome is exactly the same as the height of the dome, so theoretically, an entire sphere could fit inside the building. . . One last thing about the Pantheon. . . now'a'days, the floor is just about at street level, but if you walk to either side of the building, you'll see huge ditches between the road and the building. These ditches show the discrepency between the ancient and modern levels of the street. So, back when the Pantheon was first built, it was several feet above street level - an even more imposing sight than it is now!
Anyway, here are some lovely pictures of the Pantheon. . .
Well! That's the Pantheon!!!! I'm in Rome, woo hoo!