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The Architecture Of Ancient Greece

 

The architecture of Ancient Greece is the architecture that was created by people who spoke the Greek language (Greek group of dialects), their culture flourished in mainland Greece and the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands and in colonies in Asia Minor and Italy in the period from approx. 900 BC to I century ad the earliest remaining architectural works Dating to about 600 BC

Ancient Greek architecture is best known for its temples, many of which are located throughout the region, mostly as ruins but many of them have survived virtually intact. Another known type of buildings, Dating from the Hellenic world is the open – air theatre, the oldest of them were created about 350 BC Other surviving architectural forms: monumental arch (propylon), market square, and the place for popular assemblies (Agora), which was surrounded by a multi-tiered colonnade (Stoa), the town Council building (bouleuterion), the public monument, the monumental tomb (mausoleum) and the stadium.

Ancient Greek architecture is distinguished by its highly formalized characteristics in relation to both the structure and the decorations.

This is especially true in the case of temples where each the building seems to have been conceived as a sculptural unit within the landscape, most often they were built on a hill to the elegance of their proportions and light effects on the surface can be viewed from all angles. Nikolaus Pevsner says “the plastic shape of the [Greek] temple. which appears before us in his physical presence more impressive, more alive than any other later buildings”.

The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, in particular, parts of architectural style into three defined orders (architectural composition): Doric order, ionic order and Corinthian order – they have had a profound influence on Western architecture of later periods. The architecture of Ancient Rome grew out of the architecture of Greece and maintained its influence in Italy until the present day.

With the Renaissance the period of Renaissance classicism have kept alive not only the precise forms and ordered details of Greek architecture, but also its concept of architectural beauty based on balance and proportion. Later styles of neoclassical architecture and Greek revival classical style in architecture borrows a lot from ancient Greek styles.

Factors of influence

Geography

For the mainland and Islands of Greece characterized by rocky terrain with deeply indented coastline, and rugged mountain ranges with few wooded areas. The most available building material here – the stone. Limestone was readily available and easily worked. In abundance was also available high quality white marble both on the mainland and on the Islands, particularly Paros and Naxos. This fine-grained material was a major contributing factor to precision of detail, both architectural and sculptural, adorned ancient Greek architecture. Deposits of Potter’s clay of high quality were located throughout the continental and island territory of Greece, the major deposits were in the Athens area. Clay was used to produce not only ceramic vessels, but also roof tiles and architectural ornaments.

The climate of Greece is Maritime, with cold winters and hot summers, tempered by sea breezes. As a result, the lifestyle of local residents suggests many of the outdoor events. Therefore the temples were placed on hilltops, their exteriors designed as a visual focus of gatherings and processions, while theatres were often built not as protected structures, they were created by refining naturally inclined area where people could sit. Colonnade surrounding a building or courtyards provided shelter from the sun and sudden winter storms.

The light in Greece was probably another important factor that influenced the development of the special nature of ancient Greek architecture. The light here is often very bright, and the sky and the sea is bright blue. Clear light and sharp shadows give a precision to the details of landscape, pale rocky ledges and sea coast. This clarity is alternated with periods of light fog that changes color when struck by light. In this characteristic environment, the ancient Greek architects created buildings that were marked by precision of detail. Gleaming marble surfaces were smooth, curved, fluted or carved figure to reflect the sun, cast graded shadows and change color in a continually changing light of the day.

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