What Did Buildings Look Like in Ancient Greece?

Buildings in Ancient Greece are a testament to the architectural genius of the Greeks. Their buildings were not just structures for dwelling or worship but were also a reflection of their culture and beliefs.

The Greeks had a unique style of architecture that is still admired and replicated to this day. Let’s take a closer look at what these buildings looked like.

Types of Buildings

The Greeks built various types of buildings, including temples, theaters, and public buildings.


Temples were the most significant type of building in Ancient Greece. They were used for worshiping gods and goddesses. Greek temples had distinct features like columns, friezes, and pediments.

The columns used in Greek temples were of three types: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric columns were simple and plain with no decorations. The Ionic columns had spiral scrolls at the top while Corinthian columns had intricate leaf patterns.

Friezes were decorative bands that ran along the top of the walls inside the temple. These friezes often depicted scenes from Greek mythology.

Pediments were triangular sections above the entrance to the temple that would feature sculptures or reliefs.


Theaters were another essential type of building in Ancient Greece, where people gathered for entertainment purposes. Greek theaters had excellent acoustics and could seat thousands of people.

Greek theaters consisted of three parts: the orchestra (the circular area where actors performed), the skene (a building behind the orchestra where actors could change costumes), and the audience seating area.

Public Buildings

Public buildings in Ancient Greece served as political centers, markets, or administrative offices. These buildings often had courtyards surrounded by colonnades with rooms off them for specific purposes.

  • Stoa – A covered walkway used as a marketplace
  • Bouleuterion – A building used for meetings of the city council
  • Prytaneion – A building that served as a town hall and had a sacred fire that was never allowed to go out

Ancient Greek Architecture Style

Ancient Greek architecture had a unique style characterized by its use of columns, symmetry, and proportion. The Greeks believed in the harmony between man and nature and used mathematical ratios to create aesthetically pleasing buildings.

The Greeks used three types of columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These columns were used in various combinations to create different styles of buildings.

Greek architects also used symmetry to create balance in their buildings. They would often divide their buildings into two equal parts and mirror them across a central axis.

Proportion was another essential aspect of Greek architecture. The Greeks believed that the size of each element should be in proportion to the whole building. They often used the golden ratio (1:1.618) to determine the correct proportions.


In conclusion, Ancient Greek buildings were not just structures but were also works of art that reflected their culture and beliefs. Their unique architectural style has influenced Western architecture for centuries. By using columns, symmetry, and proportion, the Greeks created some of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings in history.