Mycenae and Tiryns

The Peloponnese is the homeland of one of the most important civilisations known in the ancient Hellenic world: the Mycenaean civilisation.

The so called ‘Golden Mycenae’ reached the height of their rule during the Late Bronze Age (1350 – 1200 BC). The surviving records and remaining monuments show their architecture was impressive as were their artefacts and other cultural aspects of their communities. The oldest ruling clans were formed as early as 1700 BC and the first monumental tombs were built at that time. In the following years, the Palaces, the Cyclopean Walls [huge fortifications], the "Tomb (Treasure) of King Atreus”, the large arched doorways, fountains and ramparts have earned Mycenae a place among the greatest towns in antiquity.

Tiryns was a town located 8km off Argos town on the road towards Nafplio town, East Peloponnese. It was built on a hill and the fortifications around the palace were so imposing that ancient Greeks refused to believe they were built by humans; instead they considered Tiryns to have been constructed by the Cyclops (mythical huge man-like beings). Great heroes with supernatural powers, namely Bellerophon, Perseus, and Hercules have been associated with Tiryns.

The circular building [diam. 27m.] on the hilltop overlooks the area below, a reminder of Tiryns’ once great power. The town’s fortifications were raised in stages, for the protection of the palace, the worship areas, and burial sites. Warehouses, workshops and residences fill in the picture of a town that flourished for almost 2000 years, until the 5th century BC.

The "golden" city of Mycenae, the city of the legendary king Atreus and Agamemnon, the one that was cited by Hommer and excavated by Eric Sleeman, is one of the most important and most famous archaeological sites of Greece. The Dorian migration was the outset of the decay of Mycenae, which was destroyed by the people of Argos in the 5th cent. B.C. and was abandoned in the 10th cent. The Mycenaean citadel is still a fascinating place.

The rich finds from the area (crowns, wall paintings, the golden mask of “Agamemnon”, and others) are hosted in the Archaeological Museum of Athens. The modern village of Mycenae is 2 km away from the archaeological site. It is located 24 km North from Nafplion.

Sightseeing

  • The impressive, majestic, Lions Gate, at the entrance of the Mycenaean citadel.
  • The royal complex.
  • The six royal tombs, in the 1st tomb ring (16th cent. B.C.), the grenary, temples and houses, in the citadel.
  • The 2nd tomb ring, with the vaulted tombs (14 royal and 12 private), outside the citadel.
  • The treasure of Atreus or the tomb of Agamemnon (13th cent. B.C.), a grandiose tomb, near the citadel.
  • The Heraion of Argos, a pan-Hellenic worship centre of the goddess Hera.
  • The church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, in the village Chonikas (8 km. to the south).

 

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