From the Parthenon to the Temple of Zeus, the history of Greek architecture is chock-full of beautiful buildings and wonders. With the Acropolis as one of the most well-known historic landmarks in the world, Greece has been a destination for architectural enthusiasts who want to tour its famous temples and visit its unique monuments. Here are five wonders of Greek architecture that you have to see with your own eyes.
The Parthenon is a temple to Athena. It was built in 438 BC on the Acropolis in Athens and it’s still there today. It’s even listed as one of the world’s most famous buildings, alongside the pyramids and Notre-Dame cathedral. The Parthenon is a well-preserved ruin, with only parts missing on some sections because they were pillaged by Venetian Crusaders around 1204 AD. The largest part remaining are the walls which still stand at 29 meters high and 17 meters wide. Despite its name, it has never been used as a Christian church but as an ancient temple.
The Temple of Zeus
It was built by Mnesicles, who took more than six years (438-432 BC) to complete it with great attention to detail. The temple features Doric columns made from marble from Paros and limestone from Mount Pentelicus which blend harmoniously with its sculptures and painted stucco. Today the ruins are a part of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture. Many festivals take place at this site throughout the year. One of them is the Olympic Games in honor of Zeus which date back to 776 BC. In Ancient Greece, athletes competed in contests that included running, jumping and wrestling. Every four years an Olympics would be held on behalf of the father of all gods where the champion could win olive wreaths, gold or silver vases or tripods while prizes for second or third places were copper or bronze vases or tripods. In 480 BC after winning at Olympia and Elis, King Leonidas led 300 Spartans against thousands of Persians but lost their lives and his statue still stands there as a reminder today.
The Temple of Athena Nike
One of the most famous Greek buildings is the Temple of Athena Nike. It was built in Athens, Greece around 425-420 BC on the Acropolis. The temple is still admired and studied today. At the time it was built, it was decorated with colorful paintings. It was a building dedicated to Athena Nike, goddess of victory who was worshipped by Athenians before they became followers of Christianity.
The temple has survived many wars and natural disasters such as earthquakes that have not always been kind to this ancient structure. In fact, in 1687 an earthquake caused a large part of the temple’s eastern section to fall down and most likely destroy some decorations from the original paintings.
If you’re in Athens, a visit to the Erechtheion is a must. The temple was completed in 421 BC and is one of the few original temples that still remain today. It’s also one of the most beautiful. The building is Doric style and it has six columns across its front on both sides and fourteen on each end. It’s an amazing piece of history that will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time just by looking at it. Inside there are two porches on either side with Ionic columns. One porch is decorated with statues representing the battle between Athena and Poseidon for patronage of Athens.
The Greeks have long been admired for their culture, language, festivals, music and architecture. Their contributions in the fields of music, literature and language are well documented. However less is known about their architectural history which still stands today as some of the most beautiful pieces in the world today. One such example is that of the propylaea at the Acropolis which is one hundred and sixty-four feet tall with two rows of six columns each facing one another. While this magnificent structure has stood strong against various earthquakes and other natural disasters throughout its many years it has also been changed by humanity in a variety (another three sentences)
The Acropolis Museum
The museum was designed by Bernard Tschumi, who also designed Parc de la Villette in Paris. At the foot of the Acropolis hill, the building is located. It was inaugurated in June 2009 after delays due to construction and financing problems. The project’s costs were reported to be 2 billion euros with 2.6 billion euros in total investment. September 20 marked the groundbreaking ceremony. The completion date for the final stage was set at April 2007. The final touches included a landscaped public park adjacent to the new museum – it opened to great acclaim in 2008-2009. The Museum of Cycladic Art: Built between 1983 and 1985 it houses one of Greece’s most important collections of ancient art from around 800 BC until 400 AD
The Stoa is an ancient Greek temple with a portico, a roofed colonnade. The term derives from the Ancient Greek στοῦς, stoa, meaning pavilion. The Stoas functioned as temples and meeting houses. They were used for teaching and holding court.
The long porch or hall on the open side of the building was called a portico (προθήκη, prothýke), and in large measure served as a public walk or promenade which contrasted with more restricted areas set aside for private functions. Originally the Greeks may have referred to it as a covered colonnade because it was covered with rows of columns so that only part of its surface consisted of windows at ground level. In contrast, though, it could be said that what really covered this architecture was actually the weight that these columned walls provided against strong winds or earthquakes.