Ancient Greece

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Landscape design of ancient Greece (VI B.C. - IV A.D.) was in essence garden design. The presence of a good combination of utilitarian, religious and aesthetical features was typical to the gardens of that time. The aggressive conquests of Alexander of Macedon played a basic role in the forming of the landscape design of this state and a substantial part of it underwent strong Asian influence - culture and the traditions of Egypt, India and Persia. But since the Greeks originally had characteristic tendency towards harmony with nature, use of a relief as by topographical component and the landscaping design of ancient Greece was characterized by considerably freer planning and structure of composition. Already in VI B.C. Greeks learned to harmoniously combine the construction of cities with the natural landscape, mutually supplementing each other. Gardens and parks became similar to living organisms, which have a close connection with the natural environment and man. Acropolises, theatres, forums, squares, seemingly grow from nature, harmonizing and merging with the surrounding landscape.

The most extensive characteristic exclusively for ancient Greek forms of re-planting ,such as Herron, are more commonly known as sacred groves, private and philosophical gardens:

Herron - the memorial garden - grove, planted on the spot of the burial of a hero. Gardens had a racetrack, a hippodrome, an area for gymnastic games and competition in the memory of heroes. With time Herrons began to be decorated with statues and colonnades which became the accents of parks. In the majority of cases Herrons had a memorial nature, they were made with the process of the creation of different architectural structures and forests. Over time these sacred groves ceased to bear a memorial nature and became sports parks.

Philosophical gardens were created specially so that philosophical conversations could be conducted in them. On the terraces were created straight, wide alleys with space for sports, statues, vases and fountains. In such gardens school and gymnasium lessons were conducted by the famous philosophers Plato, Aristotle, etc. Academy Garden on the Ilisos river in the outskirts of Athens (460 B.C.). Philosophical gardens were isolated from the public parks. The largest squares of all of the cities belonging to the state were surrounded with plants  which were also placed along the roads.

• The public garden appeared in the V B.C.  and was located in the main area of the city near temples and fountains.

• The private gardens of prosperous owners most frequently bore an exceptionally utilitarian nature.

Nymph - sacred oak, cedar or olive grove located in center of an artistic water source or grotto with a regular planning style. Over time  new decorations such as columns and sculptures appeared and enriched the nymphs. These places were thought to be inhabited by gods, nymphs and muses, because of this people brought sacrifices here. The flow of water, which fell into the pond, was the prototype of the water features in the parks of Western Europe.

• The pleasure gardens like those of the Persian's - appeared after Alexander of Macedon victoriously marched into Persia (336-323 B.C.). Such gardens were created for the aristocracy - "nobles".  In Alexandria, for example, they occupied ¼ of the city.

In the landscaping construction of ancient Greece a strict symmetry predominated. Alleys and parks were decorated with fountains, columns, vases, sculptures.  The public park has its origins here. In the gardens the Greeks widely used cypresses, fir trees, oaks, sycamores, palms, olive trees and other tree species, decorating temples and its dwellings with them. Here stepped gardens were also built, on which fountains were arranged and flowers and trees were planted. The Hellenic garden had many components: massive amounts of plants, spiral staircases and many decorations. In this context it should also be noted that the basic principles of city construction of Aristotle (IV B.C.), who considered that the design of populated areas and parks must be examined not only as a complex technical question, but also from an artistic point of view and that a city must be built so as to ensure the peoples safety and to make them happy at the same time.

Acropolises and theatres of the Hellenistic cities of the Peloponnese and Asia Minor (Athenian acropolis, the amphitheatres of Ephesus, Priene, etc.), made up the centers of urban composition, frequently look like the sculptural completion of those cliffs on which they are located. For example, relief  was used especially expressively in the special features of Priene, where the slope of mountain naturally forms a terrace for the areas and the public places. The Athenian acropolis looks like the sculptural completion of the cliff, on which it is located.

The geometric shapes of decorative gardening of the ancient world into the epoch of its bloom made a valuable contribution to the treasure-house of world culture and had a big impact on the development of landscape design in Europe.