A Tour of the World's Most Delightful Domes - Atlas Obscura Lists

A Tour of the World's Most Delightful Domes

17 half-spheres that do round right.

Architects looking to create spectacular structures have many tricks up their sleeves, but one particular feat of engineering has captivated onlookers since antiquity, right up to today: the majestic dome.

Employing massive hemispherical roofs first became popular with the ancient Romans—most famously the iconic Pantheon, built in the 2nd century. Since then, the feature has taken many forms across the globe, providing cover for everything from ancient tombs to futuristic houses. The circular nature of domes has special significance in religious houses such as churches and mosques, where it represents the eternal, with no beginning and no end.

Be it a simple stone edifice or a half-sphere intricately decorated with mosaics or glass, domed roofs are visual wonders that often steal the show. Here are 17 domes that take the ancient form and add a special stamp to create stunning architecture, inside and out.