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Great Domes Around the World

Sport Domes, Government Domes, Church Domes, and More


From African beehive huts to Buckminster Fuller's geodesic buildings, domes are marvels of beauty and invention. Join us for a photo tour of some of the world's most interesting domes, including sport domes, capitol domes, church domes, ancient classical domes, and other domes in architecture. Did we leave one out? Tell us your favorite dome.

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

An oculus illuminates the interior of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy
Photo © Mel Curtis / Getty Images

Twice destroyed and twice rebuilt, the Pantheon in Rome evolved into a domed building so famous that it inspired architects for 2,000 years.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Press photo © 2000-2006 NewOpenWorld Foundation

Three hundred thirty-six columns support a grand vaulted brick roof at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. With magnificient Byzantine mosaics, the iconic domed building combines Christian and Islamic architecture.

National Stadium in Beijing, China

National Stadium in Beijing, China
Photo © Guang Niu / Getty Images
Architects Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei used a mesh of steel bands to form a complex dome for the National Stadium, built for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China

Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, Israel

Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, Israel
Photo: ArtToday.com
Built in the seventh century, the Dome of the Rock Mosque is the oldest surviving example of Islamic architecture, and long praised for the breath-taking beauty of its golden dome.

Millennium Dome in Greenwich, England

Millennium Dome Photo
© National Audit Office
Richard Rogers Partners designed the odd-looking porcupine-shaped Millennium Dome as a one-year, temporary structure, but it eventually became the centerpiece for the O2 entertainment district.

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC

US Capitol Building in Washington DC
Photo © Jeff Hunter / Getty Images
The cast-iron neoclassical dome by Thomas Ustick Walter wasn't added to the Capitol building until the mid-1800s. Today it's an enduring symbol of the United States.

The Reichstag Dome in Berlin, Germany

New German Parliament, Reichstag, Berlin, Germany
Photo © Richard Davies, courtesy the Pritzker Prize Committee
Architect Sir Norman Foster transformed the 19th century neo-Renaissance Reichstag building in Berlin with a high-tech glass dome.

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
Photo © Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas is one of the largest domed sports structures in the world. Soaring 292 feet above the playing field, two monumental arches support a retractable roof that spans 660,800 square feet.

St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England

Sir Christopher Wren designed the new St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London.
Photo © Ulf Sjostedt/Getty Images
After the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren designed St. Paul's catherdral, giving it a high dome based on the architecture of ancient Rome.

The Water Dome at Florida Southern College

Restored Water Dome at Florida Southern College by Frank Lloyd Wright
Photo courtesy of Florida Southern College
This great dome isn't a building at all, but a circular array of fountains designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Florida Southern College water dome was dismantled in the 1960s but later restored according to Frank Lloyd Wright's vision.
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