Civilisation is the total sum of the material and cultural achievements of a group of people. Culture and art are two concepts closely interwoven, as art is the characteristic expression of the culture of a given period. Arts such as architecture, sculpture, pottery, weaving, music, jewelry making and painting have a long-term tradition in Greece, where civilisations had already developed in Prehistoric Years.
Little is known to date to the Paleolithic Era in Greece, but quite a lot is known about the Neolithic Period that followed (approx. 7th – 4th Millennium B.C.) and its civilisation, which is traced mainly in areas that included Thessaly and Macedonia.
Civilisations with impressive achievements developed during the Bronze Age (approx. 3000 – 1150 B.C.) in the Northeastern Aegean, the Cyclades (its trademark being the large-sized marble figurines), Crete and the Greek Mainland. The civilisations that flourished during the 2nd Millennium in the two regions, known as the Minoan and the Mycenean Periods respectively, are considered to be the first of the great civilisations in Greece. Architectural remains (e.g. palaces), as well as pottery work, stone carving (vessels, sealstones), metallurgy (vessels, weapons), jewelry making and paintings (murals) were impressive and representative works of these civilisations.
During the historical years, the civilisations of the Geometric Period (9th – 8th Century B.C.) and the Archaic Period (7th – 6th Century B.C.) were considered to be the forerunners of the culture found in the Classical Period (5th – 4th Century B.C.). The Classical works of art, with their ideal proportions and beauty, expressed the philosophical ideals of their times, and were the model of the European Renaissance Era of the 15th Century A.D. Greek civilisation developed during the subsequent Hellenistic Years (3rd – 1st Century B.C.) and the Roman Years (1st Century B.C. – 3rd Century A.D.), within the framework of large kingdoms and an empire respectively.
Greek civilisation again flourished -within the framework of an empire- during the Byzantine Years (early, middle and late - 4th – 15th Century A.D.), while civilisation in more recent times was marked by the Ottoman occupation and the emergence of the new Hellenic State after the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830).
A visit to archaeological sites, museums and monuments throughout the country provides a vivid picture of the civilisations in Greece and their accomplishments in arts and technology from the Prehistoric Era to modern times.
The traditional heritage of a country is the sum of the cultural and material achievements bequeathed by previous generations.Folk culture for the Greek people, rich in music, dances, poetry and theatre, is part of their every day life. All over the country have been created many specialized museums and cultural organisations aiming to preserve and study the Greek traditional heritage.