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The cradle of Western civilization


Do you thing that what we build today, would be wonders in the future ? Think of Acropolis, temple of Poseidon, Greeks elegant and massive temples, palaces, and public buildings. Even though most ancient buildings that survive today are in ruins, the structures are still impressive.By studying ruins and ancient writings, we have learned much about how the people of Greece constructed their buildings.

The ambition of the Greek architects was to discover eternally valid rules of form and proportion: to erect buildings human in scale yet suited to the divinity of their gods, to create in other words, a classically ideal architecture.

Their works have been copied on and off for some 2,500 years.Though severely damaged ‘The Parthenon’ remains the most nearly perfect building ever erected. It’s influence stretches from the immediate followers of it’s architects to le Corbusier, a 20th Century architect who died in 1966.

Monumental construction included all the elements we now regard as characteristic of Greek architecture, such as columns, stone platforms for large buildings, shallow peaked roofs, and decorations of statues or carved panels. The Greeks introduced this style in the 600s B.C., having invented new building techniques and designs, as well as borrowing others from the Egyptians. The Greeks first applied this style to temples, but by the 400s B.C. they also used it for other public structures, including treasuries, council halls, and walls of cities.

Stone, especially marble, was the main material of monumental architecture, and the Greeks became experts at building with finely cut stone. Stonecutters carved blocks of different sizes and shapes from quarries: rectangular blocks for paving, square ones for building walls, and thick cylinders that formed columns when stacked on top of one another. From the Egyptians, who had been building large stone monuments for centuries, the Greeks learned how to move large, heavy blocks of stone using rollers and ramps. Each block was delivered to the building site a little larger than necessary, in case the stone was chipped during transport. Masons at the site trimmed the blocks to exact size.

Greek builders developed techniques for fastening blocks of stone together. Dowels (thin rods of wood or metal) secured sections of columns. Builders also used wooden pegs or metal clamps to lock each block of stone in a wall to the blocks around it. The clamps, sunk into the centers of the blocks, were invisible when the wall was finished.

The roofs on monumental structures were made from tiles of terracotta, baked clay that was usually reddish-brown in color. These tiles, which may have been a Greek invention, are still used throughout the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Laid in overlapping patterns, with channels to carry off rainwater, they create a sturdy, waterproof roof.

Architectural tradition and design has the ability to link disparate cultures together over time and space—and this is certainly true of the legacy of architectural forms created by the ancient Greeks.