Mausoleum of Theoderic

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Mausoleum of Theoderic
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mausoleum of Theoderic.JPG
LocationRavenna, Italy
Part ofEarly Christian Monuments of Ravenna
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iii, iv
Inscription1996 (20th Session)
Area0.014 ha
Buffer zone21.6 ha
Coordinates44°25′30″N 12°12′33″E / 44.42500°N 12.20917°E / 44.42500; 12.20917
Mausoleum of Theoderic is located in Emilia-Romagna
Mausoleum of Theoderic
Location of the mausoleum
Mausoleum of Theoderic is located in Italy
Mausoleum of Theoderic
Mausoleum of Theoderic (Italy)

The Mausoleum of Theoderic (Italian: Mausoleo di Teodorico) is an ancient monument just outside Ravenna, Italy. It was built in 520 AD by Theoderic the Great as his future tomb.


The current structure of the mausoleum is divided into two decagonal orders, one above the other; both are made of Istria stone. Its roof is a single 230 tonne Istrian stone, 10 meters in diameter. A niche leads down to a room that was probably a chapel for funeral liturgies; a stair leads to the upper floor. Located in the centre of the floor is a circular porphyry stone grave, in which Theoderic was buried. His remains were removed during Byzantine rule, when the mausoleum was turned into a Christian oratory. In the late 19th century, silting from a nearby rivulet that had partly submerged the mausoleum was drained and excavated.

It was inscribed with seven other "Early Christian Monuments and Mosaics of Ravenna" buildings as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1996. According to the ICOMOS evaluation, "the significance of the mausoleum lies in its Gothic style and decoration, which owe nothing to Roman or Byzantine art, although it makes use of the Roman stone construction technique of opus quadratum, which had been abandoned four centuries before" and in the fact that "it is the only surviving example of a tomb of a king of this period."[1]

An approximate replica of this tomb was constructed in the US in 1925 when the Taplin Gorge Dam was constructed north of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The designer (Vernon Wright, who was also the president of the dam's owner, the Otter Tail Power Company) based the design of the powerhouse on this mausoleum.


See also[edit]

Taplin Gorge Dam's Powerhouse is a rough replica of Theodoric the Great's tomb outside of Ravenna, Italy

Further reading[edit]

  • Weitzmann, Kurt, ed., Age of spirituality: late antique and early Christian art, third to seventh century, no. 109, 1979, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 9780870991790; full text available online from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries

External links[edit]