We have a lot to thank the ancient Greeks for—the Olympics, Western medicine, democracy. The field of architecture also owes a great deal to the pioneering Hellenics. The ancient civilization, which encompassed the mainland, the Greek islands, and other areas along the Mediterranean from modern-day Slovenia to western Turkey, produced precise and monumental buildings that have influenced thousands of years of architecture. The Greeks paid particular attention to proportions and used post-and-lintel construction. These designs emphasized perfection over innovation, creating simple yet beautiful structures that are still referenced in modern designs.

Author: Elizabeth Stamp

The ancient city of Paestum or Poseidonia, which was founded on the coast of Southern Italy around 600 B.C., is home to a number of well-preserved Doric temples, including the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Athena, and a second Temple of Hera (also called the Temple of Neptune or Poseidon).

Located at the lower slope of Greece’s Mount Parnassus, the sanctuary of Delphi was one of the most important places in the ancient world. The site comprises the Temple of Apollo, constructed in 510 B.C.; the Athenian Treasury; the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, which includes the circular Tholos; a theater; and a gymnasium.

The Acropolis is a fortified complex of buildings built in the fifth century B.C. atop a hill in Athens. The site includes the Propylaia, the Erechtheon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Parthenon—a temple to the goddess Athena, considered one of the finest examples of the Doric order. A number of architects and sculptors contributed to the area, including Iktinos, Kallikrates, and Pheidias.

In Greek mythology the island of Delos was the birthplace of the gods Apollo and Artemis. The ancient commercial center was notable for its elaborate homes, the Temple of Apollo, and the Terrace of the Naxian Lions.

The site of the ancient games, Olympia, on the Peloponnese, features several important buildings, including the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Zeus, the Philippeion, and the Bouleuterion, as well as a stadium and a gymnasium.

The Temple of Apollo Epicurius is set amid the rocky landscape of Bassae in the Greek region of Arcadia. Combining Archaic and Doric styles, the temple also includes the oldest example of Corinthian capitals.