Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
September 5, 2009
From journal Beyond Athens: Greek highlights from Peloponnese & around
Berwick, Nova Scotia
August 30, 2003
From journal Greece: A brief history lesson in two weeks
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
June 23, 2003
The Mycenae citadel was built atop the Argive plain which allowed control of the land around it as well as protection from invaders. The rock walls were so thick that people said only the mythical Cyclops could have lifted the rocks.
Today the site is covered with ruins and extensive excavations are ongoing. One of the most impressive sights at Mycenae is the "Lion Gate". It was the main entrance to the citadel and was built around 1300-1200 BC. Even headless, the lions convey a sense of the power and majesty that was Mycenae and there is always a crowd gathered beneath the gate. Continuing up to the citadel you pass Grave Circle A, a cemetery of royal tombs that dates from 16th century BC. This is where much of the golden jewelry uncovered by archaeologist Heinrich Schilemann was discovered. The most famous of his finds was the incorrectly named "Mask of Agamemnon" which is on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
At the summit of the site are the ruins of The Palace where the King of Mycenae lived. Although it is now mostly foundations it is still an impressive area and offers panoramic views over the site and the surrounding countryside. Behind the palace is an underground cistern which is sometimes open for exploration but not during my visit.
Beneath the fortified walls are more impressive ruins including another royal cemetery called Grave Circle B, a complex of houses and the Tholos of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, her lover. Tholos are also called beehive tombs because the interior resembles a beehive in shape. At a separate site just down the road is another tholos, the Treasury of Atreus. Erroneously called the Tomb of Agamemnon, it is the best preserved example in Greece of a Tholos tomb.
Admission to Mycenae is 6 euro which includes the Treasury of Atreus but make sure you keep your ticket as proof you’ve paid. The site is open daily but times vary according to the season. Post cards and guide books are available for sale at the entrance and there is a post office/currency exchange in the parking lot. The modern (relatively speaking) town of Mycanae is about 15 minutes away and has restaurants, hotels, and gift shops.
From journal Greek History 101
June 27, 2002
Your eye is drawn to the Mycenaean excavations as they stagger upwards on the hillside. The main part of this old city (mostly built about 1280 BC) is surrounded by massive "Cyclopean" walls and ramparts, ranging up to 40 feet high and 26 feet thick. The main entrance is the Lion Gate, "guarded" by two lions posing within a triangular "pediment". Even though the lion heads are missing, this fine relief sculpture is synonymous with the Mycenae site. The lions rest upon a huge lintel estimated at 20 tons in weight. The "first" grave circle, past the gateway, consists of 6 shaft graves built in the 16th Century BC. Many of the famous artifacts found here by Schliemann and his crew, consisting of gold face masks, vases and jewelry, are now displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The "second" grave circle, older than the first circle by about a century and unearthed in 1951, unveiled more graves but was in poorer condition. This second circle is outside the walls, near the Tomb of Aegisthus (15th Century BC) and the Tomb of Clytemnestra (14th Century BC), both beehive tombs like the Treasury of Atreus (see article below).
The Royal Way, a rocky and slippery path of marble stones starting up from the Lion Gate, leads to the city's Acropolis, with the Palace and Royal Apartments at the peak of the hill. The ground looks like a raised blueprint of the old city, with ruinous outlines of temples, royal chambers, and various spaces and places.
The "back" of the site on the eastern side (mostly from the 12th Century BC) is not as celebrated, but it has some interesting elements as well. Perhaps the most unique is an underground cistern that can be reached by walking down 99 steps. The trick is that to reach this cistern, you have to step gingerly in complete darkness while being swarmed by pesky mosquitoes. Bringing a flashlight is strongly recommended if you want to go all the way down. I gave up after going down 25 steps, as it was completely dark at that level already, and the mosquitoes were reigning supreme. A fellow traveler complimented me on that accomplishment, as she only made it down ten steps!
From journal Bill in Greece - MYCENAE