The land of Greece is the cradle of Western civilisation that gives birth to democracy, Western philosophy, literature, and art. The landscape, including three dominant elements: the sea, the mountain, and the lowland, has contributed to the complex and variety of Greek architecture. Philosophy and religion also influenced buildings in Greece from the dominion of different groups of people in the course of history. The list below shows the fifteen architectural marvels ranging from ancient to modern times.   

The Palace of Knossos | Buildings In Greece

Knossos is Greece’s second most visited archaeological site after the Acropolis at Athens. This 9000-year-old city on the north central coast of Crete has undergone changes in cultural civilisation from Neolithic through Byzantine. It is also home to the palace built during the Minoan period, whose remain has become a tourist attraction today. There are three phases of the structure. Protopalatial or Old Palace Knossos emerged around 1950 – 1800 B.C.E. Due to a destructive event, arguably an earthquake, the palace was renovated around 1700 B.C.E, later referred to as Neopalatial or New Palace Knossos. Another reconstruction took place in 1450 B.C.E and lasted approximately 150 years. The palace interior was mostly repainted during this Postpalatial or Final Palatial Knossos period. Despite the damages, much of the remnant reflects the culture of the historic civilisation of the Minoan.

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Minoan palace of Knossos_©Mark Cartwright


Resting high atop the Acropolis of Athens is the Parthenon, the symbol of Ancient Greece’s peak in philosophy, literature, art, and architecture. The temple, devoted to the goddess Athena, was built between 447 and 438 B.C.E, with marble being the main material. There is an estimation of 13400 stones being used to build the temple, including the structure, sculpting, and decorative work. Although this Doric-style temple appears symmetrical, the Parthenon contains no straight lines and no right angles; the building is subtly curved, beginning at the base, running over the perron, through the row of columns and up to the roof. Not only the structural plan, but visitors are also impressed by the meticulosity of decorated marble sculptures representing scenes from the Athenian cult and mythology of Parthenon.  

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East facade of Parthenon_©Mark Cartwright

Theseum | Buildings In Greece

Completed between 421 – 415 B.C.E, Theseum is also known as the Temple of Hephaestus, the god of fire. The name “Theseum” has been used since the Middle Ages as some of its sculptures represent the exploits of the hero Theseus. The building is located on the northwest side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. The structure is made of marble from Mountain Pentelicus, except for the bottom step of the krepis or platform, while most of the sculptures and decorations are made of Parian marble. Similar to Parthenon, this temple is also built in the Doric order. Nowadays, Theseum is among the most well-preserved temples in Greece. This condition resulted from the building being converted into a Christian church by the Byzantines centuries later. 

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Theseum_©Mark Cartwright


Constructed between 421 – 406 B.C.E, Erechtheion was the final piece to complete the magnificent complex of temples on the Acropolis of Athens. The building owes its name to the Demi-god Erechtheus, the mythical Athenian king. The main building material is a Pentelic marble with traces of iron that have oxidised over time, making the temple appear in a soft honey colour. Unlike Parthenon, Erechtheion’s floor plan celebrates asymmetry. Due to other empires’ domination in Greece, this Ionic-style temple has been used for different purposes throughout history, such as the Christian church, Franks’ small palace, and a harem for the Turkish governor in 1460 C.E.   

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Erechtheion_©Mark Cartwright

Odeon of Herodes Atticus | Buildings In Greece

Built-in 161 C.E. by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone Roman theatre located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. The original theatre was constructed with a three-story front wall and a wooden cedar roof of Lebanon timber. It was used for music concerts with a capacity of up to 5000 people until being destroyed in 267. Today’s site was restored in the 1950s, utilising Pentelic marble as the main building material.

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The theatre of Herodes Atticus_©Mark Cartwright

Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki

The present building of Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki, Greece, was constructed later in the 7th century after the previous church had collapsed, most likely because of an earthquake. The structure is based on the Hagia Sophia in present-day Istanbul, Turkey. The church served as a cathedral from 1205 to 1224 after the attack from the Fourth Crusade and as a mosque under the rule of Ottoman Sultan Murad II in 1430. Its floor plan of a domed Greek cross basilica represents one of the main architectural examples of the typical style from the Byzantine middle period.

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Hagia Sophia in Thesssaloniki_©Andrew Zorin

Palace of the Grand Master of the Knight of Rhodes

The castle, frequently appertained to as the Katselo, is located in the city of Rhodes on the same name island. The Palace of the Grand Master is a rare representative of Gothic architecture in Greece. The citadel was built on its foundation by the Byzantine empire in the late 7th century, while the palace was not constructed until the 14th century after the Knights Hospitaller occupied Rhodes and other Greek islands. The castle had suffered from many destructive events, mostly natural disasters. It remains as what is seen today thanks to the architect Vittorio Mesturino who reconstructed the palace using the original building’s delineation. 

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The entrance of the palace of the Grand Master_©I,Sailko

Monasteries of Meteora

There are six monasteries on the landscape of Meteora, known as the miracle of Greece. The Great Meteoron Monastery, or the Holy Monastery of the Metamorfosis, is the oldest and largest among them. Saint Athanasios, the Meteorite founded this male monastery shortly before the middle of the 14th century. The Holy Monastery of Varlaam comes second in the race of size, located on an imposing rock opposite the Great Meteoron Monastery. The monastery is named after the hermit-anchorite Varlaam. Its history started in the early 16th century. The Monastery of St. Barbara Roussanou, just Roussanou for short, is perched on a high rock from Kastraki to Meteora. It was founded in the 14th century but took its present form in the 16th century.

Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery was placed on the rock of Anapafsas in the 14th century. The monastery was renovated in the first decade of the 16th century. The frescoes decorating the little church of the monastery are said to be the most important sets of post-Byzantine paintings. Saint Stephen Nunnery is located on the southern edge of the cluster of Meteora, just above Kalabaka. Monks inhabit it in the late 12th century. Lastly, the Holy Trinity Monastery was built in 1488 under the vision of a monk named Dometios. However, sources argue its existence since 1362.

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Roussanou monastery in Meteora_©Ava babili

Bourtzi Castle

The castle, located on the small island of Bourtzi in Nafplion, was designed by an architect from Bergamo, Antonio Gambello, in 1471. Bourtzi castle is one of the finest among its type in Greece. The structure was specifically built to fit the narrow shape of the islet. The castle has served many purposes throughout its lifetime, such as a fortress and prison until the early 20th century, a hotel after alterations by the German architect Wolf Schaeffer until 1970, and now one of the most popular medieval sites in the Peloponnese.

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Castle of Bourtzi_©Murray Geddes

Santorini Blue Domes | Buildings In Greece

If there was a prize for the most photographed site to advertise Greece’s travel, Santorini Island would come first with the picture of the blue domes standing out from the white-building background. Santorini blue domes churches include Agios Spiridonas, Anasteseos, and Panagia Platsani. They are all located on the streets of Oia. Agios Spiridonas and Anasteseos are built at the edge of the cliffs, right next to one another. Panagia Plastoni, dedicated to the Akathist Hymn of the Virgin Mary, was rebuilt at the centre of Oia after an earthquake in 1956 destroyed the previous one inside the castle of Oia.

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Blue domes of Santorini_©wallpapercave

Town Hall of Ermoupoli

The construction of the Town Hall of Ermoupoli started in 1876 and was completed in 1898. It was located in Miaouli square. A Bavarian architect, Ernst Ziller, was responsible for designing the building. The structure combines classical ancient Greece’s vibe with the West’s Romanticism. The central part is made of marble. There is also a marble hanging ladder leading to the first floor. Additionally, this Town Hall hosts the Archaeological Museum of Syros, the Court of Law, the Land Registry, the Public Archives, and some other public services.

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Town Hall of Ermoupoli_©Teodoraki

Achilleion Palace

Achilleion is a summer palace located at Gastouri, a village to the south of Corfu, for the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It was built in 1889, a year after the tragic loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city of Corfu to the north and the southern part of the island framed by the Ionian Sea to the east. An ancient palace of mythical Phaeacia inspires its architectural style. The design expresses the Empress’s admiration for Greece’s language and culture. 

Achilleion palace_©Marc Ryckaert

Athenian Trilogy

“Athenian Trilogy” refers to the University of Athens, the Academy, and the National Library. These three buildings represent neoclassical architecture in Athens. Neoclassicism is the artistic movement that sprouted in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its architectural aspect is to revive the classical styles of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The project of the Athenian Trilogy, funded by King Otto after gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire, connects the modern capital city of Athens and ancient Athens. The construction began around 1864.

The Academy of Athens_©Thomas Wolf
The Academy of Athens_©Thomas Wolf
University of Athens_©Thomas Wolf

Acropolis Museum

The museum, located in the historic Makryianni district, opened to the public in 2009. The entrance is at Dionysios Areopagitou street, which links the building to the Acropolis and other key archaeological sites in Athens. The rich collections at the Acropolis Museum, united from multiple institutions, tell the life story on the Athenian Acropolis and its surroundings. The structure is designed with spare horizontal lines and utmost simplicity to allow visitors to focus on the displayed works of art. The collection of sculptural pieces is shown in ambient natural light. The circulation is created clearly for visitors when strolling through the space.

The Acropolis Museum_©

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center | Buildings In Greece

The construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), designed by the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop, was completed in February 2017. The project aimed at restoring the natural and conceptual connection between the land and the sea. SNFCC, together with Stavros Niarchos Park, has contributed to the revitalisation of Athens’ Kallithea neighborhood and the Faliro Delta waterfront area after years of neglect. This is a public space in Greece where everyone is welcome to access and participate in a multitude of cultural, educational, athletic, environmental, and recreational activities and events.

Starvors Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center_©Michael Denance


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Vy Nguyen, is a senior student majoring in interior design, in love with East Asian architecture and philosophy. She is full of passion for art, literature, film and cats. The ocean is her home at heart and the whale is her spirit animal. Her latest focus includes architectural illustration, building material science and instant photography.