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The Pantheon Rome oculus | Where stories and stars align

What is the Pantheon Rome Oculus?

The Pantheon Oculus, a 25-foot-wide circular opening at the top of the dome, is the sole source of natural light inside the ancient Roman temple. It also serves as a sundial, casting changing beams of sunlight onto the interior floor during the day. During the spring and fall equinoxes, a particularly bright light spectacle occurs, captivating visitors.

Quick Facts about the Pantheon Rome Oculus

Pantheon Rome Oculus
  • Opening date: Originally built in 27 BC, rebuilt in 126 AD.
  • Architect: The original architect is believed to be Apollodorus of Damascus, but the rebuilding in 126 AD is often attributed to Emperor Hadrian.
  • Architectural style: Roman, specifically Roman Doric.
  • Latin name: "Oculus" means "eye" in Latin.
  • Function: It is the main source of natural light within the Pantheon. It also acts as a sundial, casting light patterns inside.
  • Special phenomena: During equinoxes, it creates stunning interior displays.