Travel to Greece With These 19 Famous Landmarks of Greek Architecture
Some of the most culturally important structures were erected in ancient Greece, and they continue to influence architecture to this day.
The list of ancient Greek inventions is pretty long and encompasses important discoveries in sports, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, politics, geography, and the arts. But they carried out some of their most significant achievements in architecture. The ancient Greeks were fervent builders. They constructed markets, stadiums, temples, and theaters—all structures that would become staples in cities big and small for millennia to come. But they were also logical builders—they used their expertise in mathematics and engineering to carefully plan the construction of buildings. Nothing was added at random—even the smallest elements of ancient Greek architecture played a role in the overall structure.
Classic Greek architecture consists of five orders: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite. Doric, Corinthian, and the Ionic are the ones you’ll encounter most often. The easiest way to distinguish structures from these periods is to look at the columns, the most important feature in a Greek building. A column from the Doric order is the most minimal of all—it has a fluted shape, no base, and a simple capital below a square abacus. The Ionic column is a little more elaborate—with bases, palm-leaf ornaments at the top, and a frieze. The Corinthian columns are the most ornate ones with an incredible detailing. These orders would influence modern Western architecture, with examples of them popping up in every modern city around the world. Elements of it were later incorporated in neoclassical and Greek Revival architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Here, we’ve rounded up the most outstanding examples of ancient Greek architecture that to this day are considered extraordinary achievements of Greek planning and engineering.