Greece is widely considered to be the cradle of Western culture and democracy. Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history, philosophy, and physics. They introduced such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, and comedy. In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.
Ancient Greek architecture is best known through its temples and theatres.
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine architecture emphasized a Greek cross layout, the Byzantine capitol style of column (a mixture of Ionic and Corinthian capitols) and a central dome surrounded by several small domes
During the Ottoman conquest, the Greek architecture was concentrated mainly on the Greek Orthodox churches of the Greek diaspora. These churches, much like other intellectual centres (foundations, schools, etc.) built by Greeks in Diaspora, were heavily influenced by the western European architecture. After the independence of Greece and during the nineteenth century, the Neoclassical architecture was heavily used for both public and private building. The 19th-century architecture of Athens and other cities of the Greek Kingdom is mostly influenced by the Neoclassical architecture, with architects like Theophil Hansen, Ernst Ziller and Stamatios Kleanthis. Regarding the churches, Greece also experienced the Neo-Byzantine revival.
In 1933 the Athens Charter, a manifesto of the modernist movement, was signed, and was published later by Le Corbusier. Architects of this movement were among others: the Bauhaus-architect Ioannis Despotopoulos, Dimitris Pikionis, Patroklos Karantinos and Takis Zenetos. After World War II and the Greek civil war, the massive construction of condominiums in the major Greek city centres, was a major contributory factor for the Greek economy and the post-war recovery. The first skyscrapers were also constructed during the 1960s and 1970s, such as the OTE Tower and the Athens Tower Complex.