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A dome is an architectural element consisting of the hollow upper half of a sphere, or of a shape close to this; the dome may be elliptical, stretching upwards or shallow rather than spherical.
Although there are earlier examples of dome, its breakthrough came with the Roman invention of concrete. One of the most famous Roman domes is that of the Pantheon in Rome, now the church Santa Maria ad Martyres.
On top if the dome there is usually a lantern, a tower-like structure, so called because it has openings that give light into the church.