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  • 5/3/2004


Greece has influenced all the architectural movement through the world: the movement of Renaissance of Italy and the British Greek revival. Many of the architectural masterpieces of the world were influenced by the Greece architecture. They used some elements such as the Doric, Ionic or Corinthian order.
The Greek architecture can be divided in several periods.

The Minoan Civilization
(1800-1300 BC)

The Minoans are civilizations which prospered in the island of Crete. This period is the first known from an architecture point of view. The most famous achievement of this period of architecture of Greece is definitely the impressive Palace and Residential complex of Knossos. It is also the best preserved. The palace is situated on a hill, surrounded by pine forests and with an easy access to the sea.
According to the palace's remains and the lack of defensive walls in the architecture, the Minoans had peaceful relations with the other civilizations of the Aegean.
Around the Palace are located many residential buildings like the "little palace", the "Royal Villa" and the "South House", forming the large city ofKnossos. According to the remains, the city must have had a population of about 100 000 inhabitants and the city was built giving a great importance to space.
The Palace is divided in two courts: the west wing where you can visit the religious and official staterooms and the East Wing which was used for domestic and workshop purpose.
According to history, the destruction of Knossos would be connected to the huge volcanic eruption of Santorini in 1450 BC.
Many things can be seen today with an architecture importance: the palace of Knossos, the little palace, the Royal Villa, the house of the Frescoes, the caravanserai, the Temple tomb….

The Mycenaean (Achaean) civilization architecture (1300-1000 BC)


 Mycenaean architecture ofGreece is completely different than the Minoan's. As the architecture of a city follows the need of the civilization, according to the remains, the Mycenaean civilization was turned to wars. They built compact citadels, orderly plan and fortified by huge walls. These walls took the nameof "Cyclopean" for the reason that people thought that only Cyclopes could lift them.
The Palace was destroyed and the only remains you're going to find are walls and tombs.

Archaic and Classical Greek architecture

The most important period of architecture of Greece is visible by the period of the construction of the first monumental marble temples
from the Archaic and classical periods. Those temples are characterized by different orders.

The Doric architecture

The greatest monument that was ever built in the Greek world is definitely the Parthenon of the sacred site of the Acropolis, in Athens. It is the most brilliant example of Doric architecture and has the reputation of the most perfectly angle calculated temple.

The temple was built in 477-438 BC by Ictinus and Callicrates, with the collaboration of Phidias, under the rule of Pericles.
Thetemple ofParthenon stands on the conventional three steps and has two cella rooms with hexastyle prostyle porches. Inside the temple, it had colonnades and a huge ivory and gold statue of the goddess Athena.
According to the archaeologist, they temple's ceiling was made of wood and covered with painted decorations.
Another interesting example of the Doric architecture is the temple of Hera in Olympia. It is the earliest monumentaltemple of Greece and has 14 Doric columns.

The Ionic architecture

The Ionic order is much different of the austere Doric architecture style. It has an ornamented necking; a base in several tiersand has more flutes.
The Ionic order is much more graceful than the heavy Doric architecture.

One of the best examples of this architecture is the Temple of Athena Nike at the Acropolis of Athens. It is the earliest Ionic temple built on the Acropolis. On other famous example is the Erechtheion, opposite the Parthenon.
It is the temple was the famous Caryatids stands and supports the heavy roof.

The Corinthian architecture

It is the last order of the classical order. The columns of the Corinthians temples were by a single or double row of leafy scrolls, usually acanthus. This order was mostly used by the Romans. One of the mostinteresting examples of the Corinthian architecture is the Roman temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. This temple was an enormous structure of 104 columns of 17 meters high. Today, only 15 of these columns are still standing. The Greek classical order is also the period characterized by the construction of the many theatres: Theatre of Dionyssus, the theatres ofEpidaurus, Dodoni, Megalopolis, andArgos.

Taken From: http://www.greeka.com/greece-architecture.htm

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