JLL 01 - 27 - 2010

Thus far on World Tour, we have seen some of the largest and most magnificent churches in the world. Beauty and size aside, one of the most impressive things about these churches is their history; how they evolved from their original purpose, into the cathedrals they are today. On our second day in Rome, our tour guide mentioned that the previously pagan Roman Pantheon was used as a poultry market in the middle ages. Caught some of the students off guard; imagining the Pantheon as a chicken market, but this building has gone through numerous changes. Eventually the Pantheon became the Christian Cathedral we see today. Of course, we have seen many such examples of the urban re-use of buildings on our trip: the Alhambra was once an army barracks, and the Roman Forum was once a shepherd's pasture. Seeing these examples in such number drives home (to me) two points: A - Building use changes and B - Change is not a bad thing. Although we like to think of the Pantheon as a pagan Roman temple, the building really owes its survival to its Christian history. We owe what we have of it today to Christianity and we should not be so quick to disregard this part of its history. If the temple had not been transformed, it would have fallen in to disrepair and been destroyed. People and places change, and buildings must change as well.

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