The magnificent temples that the Greeks erected for their gods are the principal examples of Greek architecture that exist today. The Greeks constructed the majority of their temples and administrative structures in three styles: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The sorts of columns they employed reflected these styles (also known as "orders"). In addition, the Greeks built with marble, stone, and bronze. They also used painting and sculpture to decorate their buildings.
Even after they became part of other countries' cultures, these traditions were preserved. For example, the Romans incorporated many aspects of Greek culture into their own building methods and design concepts. The Anglo-Saxons and French also adopted some Greek architectural practices over time.
Today, we recognize these buildings as being very important to religious and cultural beliefs in ancient Greece. Many modern architects have tried to revive some of these techniques and designs; however, none have been able to reproduce exactly what the ancients created.
Some features of Greek buildings that remain important today include: large openings for viewing rituals or exhibitions (such as doorways) along with a high roof for aesthetic purposes (so people could see inside during ritual ceremonies or public events); heavy ornamentation on roofs and walls to enhance beauty and indicate status (such as with sculptures and paintings); and large numbers of stairs with no elevator technology available to help people ascend and descend buildings easily.
A fourth style, called Aegean, used a different type of column.
The Doric order was used most often for buildings that were intended to be permanent, such as houses and temples built without mortar. It is characterized by smooth, polished stones held together only with metal straps or wood beams. The capitals of the Doric order are decorated with leaf patterns called acanthus. There are two types of Doric columns: the half-column and the full column. Half-columns have heights of about one third of a meter; full columns, about 1 meter tall. On older buildings, the Doric order is also distinguished by its entablatures and friezes made of stone or wood. These additions serve as supports for roofing materials like slate or tiles.
Ionia is an ancient region in Western Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) where many important monuments related to the Ionian culture were located. One of the most famous monuments from this area is the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae. Built around 450 BC, this temple was designed by Myson, who had been inspired by the Athenian Acropolis.
Ancient Greek architecture grew into three separate orders during its early ascent in the Classical period: the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. Each of these orders was distinguished by distinctive elements in its columns, which were used in formal, public structures like as stadiums and theaters. The Doric order was most common in southern Greece while the Ionic style was popular in Athens. The Corinthian order was developed in Corinth but is also found in other parts of Greece and on islands like Delos.
During the Hellenistic period, the influence of Rome began to appear in Greek architecture. The Romans adopted many features from the Greeks, including their appreciation for luxury items such as silver and gold. However, they also introduced some new styles that mixed Roman and Greek influences. For example, a type of column called a "monumental column" started appearing around this time that combined the strong vertical lines of Roman architecture with the horizontal plane of the Grecian Doric style column.
Rome's influence continued into late antiquity and even today there are areas of Greece where you will find buildings constructed using traditional techniques after the fall of Rome. For example, monks continue to live in monasteries built in the fifth century AD. They construct their own monastic homes without any help from outside builders or engineers.