The establishment of the modern Greek state in the late 1820s, after four centuries of Ottoman rule, marks a crucial advance in the long history of the Greek nation. Inspired by their new sense of nationalism, the Greeks turned to their own rich architectural heritagethe physical ruins of whose glories stood all around themfor inspiration in building the towns and cities of the new Greek state.
The development of this Neoclassical architecture in Greece had distant roots in the Enlightenment and within the climate of Western humanismincluding a predilection for the ancient world that pervaded eighteenth-century European thought. Before the war of independence, Greek architecture exhibited a number of attributes drawn from this broader classical tradition. But, in the free Greek state of the nineteenth century, the earlier spontaneous forms gave way to an "official" architecture that projected a monumental style based on the aesthetic theories and hierarchy of orders of classical antiquity. This Neoclassical architectural style soon spread to many urban areas throughout Greece. The outcome was unique: a Neoclassical style of exceptional quality that remained in vogue up until the early twentieth century.
Maro Kardamitsi-Adami and Manos Biris are both architects and professors at the National Technical University of Athens.