The Pantheon, in classical architecture, was a Roman temple dedicated to all the Gods, or possibly, in this case it was devoted to those Gods with no distinct temple created to honor them. The Pantheon, also known as the rotunda, is a circular building with a domed roof. The rotunda is lighted by a circular opening about 27 feet wide, in the crown of the dome. The oculus gives an opening to the sky and may exist to allow the prayers to be unobstructed from ascending freely, as well as to connect the room with heavens, which looks down into the place of worship. The walls of the Pantheon are covered with colorful marble and contain large niches that were once shrines to Roman deities. The Pantheon is perfectly simple, exquisitely beautiful and yet of great majesty. The great simplicity lies at the foundation of its beauty, while the grandeur is present in its great size.
Later Pantheons or Domes were built to commemorate the lives of famous men. A notable example is the Pantheon in France. It was originally called the church of Ste. Genevieve and is in the shape of a cross, with a domed rotunda at its center. In the building there is a sculptured frieze that depicts famous French heroes and the symbolic figure of France. This temple is now a resting place to honor the great men of France. Another prominent building influenced by the Pantheon is The Dome of the Rock in Israel. The shape or dome is a symbol of ascent to heaven by the prophet and by man. The octagonal or square structure is a step from the fixity of earthly manifestation to a circle, symbolizing the perfection of heaven. This structure even stretched far enough to reach many sights in San Antonio, including the St. Anthony's Main... [continues]
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