In the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire is cut in two pieces, the Eastern and the Western Roman Empire. While the Western Roman Empire was gradually invaded by barbaric North-European tribes, the Eastern Roman Empire with Constantinople as capital developed and became the Byzantine Empire that lasted for about 1,000 years.
In 1453 BC, the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople and gradually the rest of Greece, which had already been dominated by the Venetians. The country suffered a lot under the Ottoman occupation and people tried to rebel many times. However, all rebels were suspended, until March 1821 when the Greek War of Independence started. The country finally got its freedom in 1829, when the first independent Greek state was formed and Ioannis Kapodistrias was set as governor.
After Kapodistrias was assassinated in 1831, prince Otto from Bavaria became the first king of Greece, followed by George I from Denmark in 1863. That time, the Ionian islands were given to Greece by Britain and then Thessaly was attached to the Greek state by the Turks. In the early 20th century, Macedonia, Crete and the Eastern Aegean islands were also attached to the Greek state. This was the time when the figure of an important Greek politician raised, Eleftherios Venizelos.
Greece resisted a lot the Axis forces during the Second World War, but it eventually lost the war. Most of the Greek territory was conquered by the Germans and some parts by the Italians. After the Second World War, the Dodecanese islands also became part of the Greek state. Three decades of political turmoil followed, including a military junta from 1967 till 1974. Since 1975, the regime of Greece is Parliamentary Republic.
Greece Architecture has influenced all architectural movements of the world along centuries, as for example the movement of Renaissance and the Neoclassical style. Many of the architectural masterpieces of the world were influenced by the Greek architecture, using some elements such as the Doric, Ionic or Corinthian ancient style.The Greek and Greek Islands architecture can be divided in several periods.
The Doric Architecture
The greatest monument that was ever built in the Greek world is definitely the Parthenon on the sacred site of the Acropolis, Athens. This is the most brilliant example of Doric architecture and it has the reputation of the most perfectly angle calculated temple. Apart from Doric architecture, the Parthenon also has elements of the Ionian style.
The temple was built in the 5th century BC by Ictinus and Callicrates, with the collaboration of sculptor Phedias, and after the order of Pericles.
The temple of Parthenon stands on the conventional three steps and has two cellar rooms with porches of six columns. Inside the temple, colonnades and a huge ivory and golden statue of the goddess Athena were creating an awesome scenery. According to archaeologists, the temple's ceiling was made of wood and covered with painted decorations.
Other examples of Doric architecture were the temple of Hera in Olympia. the temple of Hephaestus in Ancient Agora and the temple of Poseidon in Sounion Attica. The characteristic of the Doric style is the austerity of the building.
The Ionic Architecture
The Ionic order is much different from the austere Doric style. It has an ornamented necking, a base in several tiers and more flutes. The Ionic style is much more graceful than the heavy Doric architecture.One of the best examples of this order is the Temple of Athena Nike at the Acropolis of Athens. This is the earliest Ionic temple built on the Acropolis. Another famous example is the Erechtheion, opposite the Parthenon. This is the temple where the famous Caryatids stand and support the heavy roof.The Ionic style has much influenced the Neoclassical architecture, as it is more elegant and permitted more artistic freedoms to the artist.
The Corinthian Architecture
This is the last type of 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 most interesting 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, as this was one of the least popular style in the ancient times.
The most important architectural period of Greece is visible by the period of the construction of the first monumental marble temples from the Archaic and classical periods. Those temples were characterised by three different orders: the austere Doric style, the elegant Ionian style and the Corinthian style.
The Neoclassical architecture
After the Greek War of Independence of 1821 and especially during the reign of king Otto, Athens was embellished by buildings of Neoclassical style, a combination of modern and classical style. Some of the best examples of the Neoclassical style are the National Library along Panepistimiou avenue, some hotels in the centre of the Athens (Grande Bretagne) and museums.The Neoclassical Greece architecture can be described by the simplicity of the geometrical forms teamed with a great inspiration from the Hellenistic period. Inspired architects, like Hernst Tziller and Theophil von Hassen, designed the most important Neoclassical buildings in the country.
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