The successive styles of Neoclassical architecture and Greek Revival architecture followed and adapted Ancient Greek styles closely.
The mainland and islands of Greece are rocky, with deeply indented coastline, and rugged mountain ranges with few substantial forests.
The art history of the Hellenic era is generally subdivided into four periods: the Protogeometric (1100–900 BC), the Geometric (900–700 BC), the Archaic (700 – 500 BC) and the Classical (500 – 323 BC) The first signs of the particular artistic character that defines ancient Greek architecture are to be seen in the pottery of the Dorian Greeks from the 10th century BC.
Already at this period it is created with a sense of proportion, symmetry and balance not apparent in similar pottery from Crete and Mycenae.
In this characteristic environment, the ancient Greek architects constructed buildings that were marked by precision of detail.
During the earlier Hellenic period, substantial works of architecture began to appear around 600 BC.
Other architectural forms that are still in evidence are the processional gateway (propylon), the public square (agora) surrounded by storied colonnade (stoa), the town council building (bouleuterion), the public monument, the monumental tomb (mausoleum) and the stadium.
Colonnades encircling buildings, or surrounding courtyards provided shelter from the sun and from sudden winter storms.
The tiny stylised bronzes of the Geometric period gave way to life-sized highly formalised monolithic representation in the Archaic period.
The Classical period was marked by a rapid development towards idealised but increasingly lifelike depictions of gods in human form.
The climate of Greece is maritime, with both the coldness of winter and the heat of summer tempered by sea breezes.
This led to a lifestyle where many activities took place outdoors.