Greek Architecture For Kids

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Greece is a beautiful place, with many islands and an impressive mainland with an interesting architectural history. You may know Greece best as a holiday destination as thousands of European, American and other nationalities head to either mainland Greece or islands such as Crete and Corfu every year, but the stunning buildings you will see while you’re there didn’t just spring from nowhere. So what is the history of Greek Architecture?

In around 6000 BC, Greek people started to move out of caves and natural dwellings into man made homes, but they weren’t anything special. The civilians at the time made modest homes out of wattle and daub or just wood and thatched grass roofs. Nothing special, but not many of the homes you saw at the time were!

Later on, at around 4000 BC, with the influence of western Asia, who had made their way to much of Greece, people began to make slightly more advanced houses, a ‘megaron’ (which means big room) was, quite literally, a big room made out of stone and wood, with a porch like area at the front. As weather conditions are quite sunny most of the time in Greece, they didn’t have to worry about shelter a lot of the time so this open plan design suited them well.

By the time Greek civilization reached roughly 1700 BC, architecture in the whole of the world had come a long way, and because of the Asian influence, the people of Greece had begun to build much more impressive buildings. A few palaces had already been built, but they became a lot more common and were now made of stone and were much bigger than their older buildings. Many were destroyed due to their flimsy nature, but were rebuilt as technology evolved and the Greeks entered the Iron ages. The Greeks believed in gods and goddesses, and many of the most impressive buildings were temples created in tribute to their gods.

Greek Temples

The first temples date back to around 800 BC, and often feature the ‘column’ design that the Greeks claim to have invented. You will probably have seen Greek Temples before, and their stereotypical look is a large rectangular building supported by these round columns, which are cylindrical, and look like big stone kitchen rolls. A photograph of a Greek temple is below.

800px Hephaisteion 2 300x220 Greek Architecture For Kids

The Romans also had a big influence on a lot of Greek architecture, and much like the coliseum in Rome, the Greek civilians also built impressive amphitheaters, where they would host plays and festivals which often were again dedicated to their gods. The theatres were one of the earliest examples of a rich cultural history in Greece, with many play writers and other early Greek cultural figures still studied and admired around the world today.

Up to the modern day, you will see many of the amazing historical buildings well preserved in Greece, many have become hotspots for tourists and have even become museums or paid attractions, whilst some are still used as places of worship and admiration.

Modern settlements in Greece are often made of white stone and are influenced by western styles rather than the more Asian styles you may have seen thousands of years ago. Greek architecture is well celebrated and even studied by people looking to go into restoration or using Greek styles and methods to build modern housing.

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