The most complete information guide about Athens, Greece



Mycenae, the legendary home of the Atreides, is situated upon a small hill-top on the lower slopes of Euboea Mountain, between two of its peaks, on the road leading from the Argolic Gulf to the north (Corinth, Athens, etc.).Site map of Mycenae

The site was inhabited since Neolithic times (about 4.000 BC) but reached its peak during the Late Bronze Age (1350-1200 BC), giving its name to a civilization which spread throughout the Greek world. During that period, the acropolis was surrounded by massive cyclopean walls which were built in three stages (ca.1350, 1250 and 1225 BC) except on its southeast flank where a steep ravine provided natural defence.

A palace was built on the summit of the hill while the wall-painted cult center, the main gate or Lion Gate and grave circle A which contained the treasures now displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, lay towards the Argolic plain. On the northeast side, a tunnel leading to a subterranean fountain was built in cyclopean masonry in around 1225 BC. More tombs, grave circle B, and large tholoi as well as houses were discovered outside the walls.

Mycenae was occupied without interruption until 468 BC when it was conquered by the city of Argos and its population banished. It was reoccupied in the 3rd century BC for a relatively short period. It had been abandoned for some time when Pausanias visited the site during the 2nd century AD.

Mycenae reconstructedIn 1841, K. Pittakis cleared the Lion Gate and in 1876, Heinrich Schliemann started the excavations of grave circle A which were continued in 1877, bringing to light a sixth shaft grave. From 1864 to 1902, excavations at the palace, the subterranean fountain and many chamber tombs were conducted while restricted excavations were also carried out in 1909, 1911 and in 1917. Further excavations were conducted during three campaigns, in 1920-1923 on the acropolis and the tombs, in 1939 and 1950-1957 on the houses and tombs at the lower city.

Simultaneously, from 1952 to 1955, the Greek Archaeological Society, under the direction of G. Mylonas and J. Papadimitriou, investigated more houses as well as grave circle B, while G. Mylonas and N. Verdelis uncovered more houses. Finally, the cult center was revealed by the British School of Archaeology under the direction of Lord Taylour and was further investigated by G. Mylonas and Sp. Iakovides of the Greek Archaeological Society in 1959 and 1969-1974.

In 1950, the Restoration Service undertook works on the tomb of Clytemnestra, under the direction of An. Orlandos and E. Stikas. In 1954, E. Stikas consolidated and restored the megaron, the area south of the Lion Gate, and Grave Circle B and in 1955, the walls north of the Lion Gate as well as the courtyard of the palace. The Lion Gate

The Lion Gate was the only entrance to the citadel of Mycenae. As such, its opening was defended by a wooden gate covered with bronze plating. The center stone beneath the lions, which weighs over 20 tons, illustrates the massive capacities of Mycenaean architecture. Chariot wheel markings in the threshold of the gate and the existence of a granary next to it, give an idea of everyday life in the ancient citadel. Sadly, the fortifications at Mycenae did not prove impenetrable. The heads of the lions were probably taken by attackers who were resolved upon removing these symbols of Mycenaean power.

Info and booking this tour Info and booking an excursion to Mycenae
Openings hours Opening hours and admission
See our Greek glossary for explanation of typical words.



Bookmark Buttons
Bookmark with  Facebook Bookmark with  Oneview Bookmark with  Linkarena Bookmark with  Seekxl Bookmark with  Mr. Wong Bookmark with  Folkd Bookmark with  Digg Bookmark with Bookmark with  StumbleUpon Bookmark with  Blinklist Bookmark with  Technorati Bookmark with  Ma.Gnolia





















    © 2004-2009 - Athens Info Guide - All rights reserved - Disclaimer