Founded, according to legend, by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC, Rome was first the centre of the Roman Republic, then of the Roman Empire, and became the capital of the Christian world in the 4th century. The World Heritage site, extended in 1990 to the walls of Urban VIII, includes some of the major monuments of antiquity such as the Forums, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column, and the Column of Marcus Aurelius, as well as the religious and public buildings of papal Rome. At the centre of the image is St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, pilgrimage goal of Roman Catholic Christians and the heart of Vatican City State. To the right, on the shore of the River Tiber§ is Castel Sant'Angelo, and still further east can be found the dome of the Pantheon with its characteristic round rooftop hole. Thanks to the high image contrast, even road markings are visible.
The image was taken on 5 May 2003 by the Ikonos satellite and has a resolution of one metre. It covers an area of two by four kilometres.
Credit: European Space Imaging / DLR.