Classical architecture is a term used to refer to buildings from the classical period of European history, spanning Greece’s rise into a great cultural powerhouse and ending with the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Many architects are influenced by the styles and themes of this style of architecture, and they revived these themes in the architectural style known as neoclassical architecture.
Many public buildings and important institutions use neoclassical architecture in their designs to allude to the greatness of the classical era.
Many of the principles of balance and form that are distinctive of classical architecture were developed in ancient Athens.
Historians tend to divide classical architecture into three periods, with a great deal of overlap between these periods. The first is Greek architecture, covering the period from around 700 to 400 AD.
After this period came Hellenistic architecture, architecture characteristic of the Hellenistic period that lasted from the death of Alexander the Great until the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Finally, Roman architecture from around the same period drew heavily on the styles of these two eras, but innovations were introduced, making the architecture uniquely Roman.
There are three periods in classical architecture: Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman.
Some well-known examples of classical architecture include the Parthenon in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome. One of its most distinctive themes is the simple, yet beautiful style, with clean lines and subtle accents in the form of decorations or metal carvings.
It was also often built on a large scale, with imposing columns and large arches to demonstrate the skills of the builders.
Roman architecture drew heavily on styles from the Greek and Hellenistic eras.
Archaeological excavations often uncover examples of classical architecture that are carefully preserved for future generations to enjoy.
In some cases, the architecture has been preserved well enough that people can see mosaics, wall paintings, and other decorative items, making classical-era citizens appear more approachable and humane.
These finds also provide important clues to the daily lives of the people who used these buildings, from formal temples to open-air theaters.
The Greek Parthenon is an example of classical architecture.
Because classical architecture is often formal and imposing, many public buildings have adopted it to add to their general air of office. Neoclassical design influences can also be seen in large country houses, colonnaded hallways of universities, and other large-scale structures.
Some very excellent examples of classical architecture can be seen in situ in many parts of the Mediterranean and in parts of Europe that were colonized by the Romans, such as Great Britain.
Many people enjoy visiting these architectural sites because classical science, arts, literature, philosophy, and culture have had a great influence on the Western world.
Renaissance architecture, which can be seen throughout the Vatican City, was heavily influenced by classical architecture.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC is an example of neoclassical architecture. Remains of the extensive network of aqueducts that the Romans used to transport water to their main urban centers can still be seen today.