Mycecae (read as Mikini) was one of the main center of the Greek civilization in the 2nd millennium BC.The period around 1600-1100 BC was called Mycenaean.It was the "Kingdom of Agamemnon",the ruler of the greeks in the war against Troy.
It is just a small place but worth visiting.Don't forget to stop at the museum as well,they showed the things that they have excavated from the place.
This place is actually a tholos tomb,(tholos is a dome like structure,resembles a beehive) it is also known as the "Tomb of Agamemnon".Agamemnon was the king of Myceanae,and a son of Atreus where the name of the tomb came from. Heinrich Schliemann gived the name of the place & was used since then.
The tomb is about 300 m away from the acropolis.
The Lion Gate is the main monumental entrance to the citadel,the name derives from the two confronted lions covering the triangle.This is part of the Cyclopian wall.
Cyclopian wall is the wall covering the whole citadel which is about 900 m long and 5-7 m thick and 12 m high built with a huge rocks, believed to had built by the Cyclops( in the greek mythology, they are the giants with an eye in the forehead).
The largest and most recent tholos tomb at Mycenae is called the Tomb of Agamemnon, although it was built at least 200 years earlier. Today its dome projects above the sloping hill that protects the lower tomb deep in the its hill. It no longer has any important content, however it rise by 33 courses of stone without mortar in a sloping flat top with a final capstone. The floor is of natural large stones.
The Mycenaen citadel is set upon a hill of a plain surrounded by two mountains, Mount Zara to the south (600 m) and Ayios Ilias to the north (750 m). It is only 10 miles from the sea. The famous bee hive tombs are here on the plain.
The main part of the palace is set upon a plateau at the top of triangular hill, 278 m high. The plateau is roughly 320 m long with each of the other sides about 180 m. The palace was built about 1350 BC and lasted until 1200 BC. Only bases of buildings still remain. There is a fine view down to the Bus park.
The Circle A was built in the northwest area of the fortress. It was created as a burial place for royalty. It was initially built just before 1500 BC. There are two concentric rings of vertical large flat stones. forming two rings. Within the area are six shaft graves which together contain seventeen adults and two children as well as grave goods including 31 lbs. of gold (which are on view in Athens at the National Museum).
The entrance to the palace complex is made through a monumental gateway that is topped by two tall lionesses which were erected in the 13C BC. The lions stand above a lintel of a single giant stone that overlaps the vertical ones. The heads of the lionesses have been destroyed during the centuries. The front paws are set upon a row of heavy stones. Between the beasts is a relief of a pillars topped with four balls.
This is a really nice museum, containing items found on the site. One of the most important items is a gold death mask dating from the 16th Century BC, one of 5 that have been found. The masks were all of men, and were probably kings.
The museum has some very nice pottery, and cooking utensils, including tripod cauldrons and a big bronze dish. Fragments of a painting are accompanied by a modern drawing of how it looked originally.
The Mycenaeans had a written script by then, and a copy of it was in the museum. It's interesting that they didn’tuse it to leave inscriptions in the tombs they built centuries later.
Pictures without flash are allowed. Site admission includes the museum.
The Treasury of Atreus is a large beehive tomb built in the 14th Century BC. There were no inscriptions, so they don’t know who was buried there—but it was somebody important. The entryway to the tomb was covered with earth to conceal it.
The tomb is 30 feet high, and the lintel weighs 120 tons. The wall is cracked from the weight above it, but the triangular opening above the lintel kept it from cracking down the center and collapsing. It is an interesting engineering solution. There are a number of other beehive structures in the area, but some are in ruins. (There is a ruined one right by the Mycenae site entrance.)
Ah, Greek Mythology, how confusing. Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae. It is said that she plotted and murdered Agamemnon for having their daughter Iphigenia sacrificed, but was she guilty. Different accounts of the tragedy have Clytemnestra born of Leda and Tyndareus, married to Tantalus who was slain by Agamemnon who then wed Clytemnestra, as just a bystander to Agamemnon's murder. Enough of that. As I said Greek tragedy.
What should be of interest here is the Tomb of Clytemnestra at Mycenea. Built with the same triangle shaped stones as the Lion Gate, it stands outside the walls of the Citadel at Mycenae, a good example of the architectural type known as the tholos or beehive.
This site was uncovered by the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1874, having been driven on by his belief that Homer's epics had a factual basis to the legend of Agememnon and his palace here 'of well built Mycenae, rich in gold'.
Schliemann went on to find brilliantly crafted gold and sophisticated tomb architecture, which is in the National Archeological Museum in Athens and regarded to be amongst the richest that archeology has yet unearthed! (so I have to go back to Greece to yet see the museum!!)
The citadel here comes from about 1550 to 1200 BC! and the rocks that seem so perfectly shaped to make the walls and tombs are huge! The Greeks after them referred to these as Cyclopean in attribute to the only beings thought capable of of the constructions. (huge men such as these were also referred to in the Old Testament in the bible from similar time periods)
What I found interesting was that apparently only the ruling Mycenaen elite could live within the citadel itself and so the main part of the town lay outside the walls of which extensive remains of merchants houses have been uncovered.
The main entrance through the circuit wall was made grand by the best known feature of Mycenae, the Lion Gate, through which passed a stepped ramp leading past circle A and up to the palace. The Lion Gate was built in the form of a 'Relieving Triangle' to support the weight of the stones. It dates back to 13th century BC and located right at the entrance to the Mycenae archaeological site where Henry Shlimann found so called "Mask of Agamemnon" (you can see the mask in the Athens Archaeological Museum).
A large central building, a second funerary enclosure (Grave Circle A) and the first tholos tombs were erected on the hill.
Included in the newly fortified area were the city's religious centre and Grave Circle A, which was refurbished and used for ancestral cults.
In 1874, Heinrich Schliemann began excavating Grave Circle A, where he uncovered five graves.
Learn more odysseyadventures
You may watch my high resolution photo of Mycenae on Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 43' 50.12" N 22º 45' 22.47" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Mycenae Grave Circle .
From the hill on which the palace was located one can see across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulf.
It was a pity I couldn't make a full 360 degrees panoramic view.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Mycenae on Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 43' 50.26" N 22º 45' 23.94" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Mycenae View at Argos Plain.