Mycenae (Greece) is an ancient city located in the north-east of the country. Once a huge and influential settlement was considered the center of Mycenaean culture, as evidenced by the numerous precious products and unique artifacts found in the golden tombs.
Mycenae is an ancient city on the territory of modern Greece. Previously was part of Argolis, was considered one of the centers of Mycenaean culture. Like all ancient cities, it was located on a hill, and was surrounded by stone walls (their height is from 6 to 9 meters in different sections).
Today, only ruins remained on the site of the ancient settlement, and only tourists and scientists come to these places. The resident population is 354 people (live at the foot of the hill). The ancient city of Greece is located 90 km from Athens.
Historical background and myths
The exact age of Mycenae is unknown, but scientists believe that the ancient settlement is more than 4000 years old. According to legend, the city was built by Perseus – the son of Zeus and Danai, who used the help of the Cyclops. The heyday of the city came in the 1460s. BC e., when the Mykene conquered Crete and began to create colonies on the shores of the Aegean. However, at the beginning of our era, pelonids came to these lands from neighboring Argos, who not only took the conquered territories, but also subjugated the Mycenae.
During the Greco-Persian wars, the city began to decline, and in 468 BC. e. was finally abandoned by people (due to the struggle with the Argos). After several hundred years, people began to return to Mycenae, but they lived at the foot of the hill, and the locals were afraid to go to the fortress, which could only be reached by passing the cemetery.
The Lion Gate is the main attraction of the Greek Mycenae, which met all the travelers who came to the city. The gate was built at the beginning of the XIII century BC. e, and got its name thanks to the bas-relief, which is located at the top of the gate. The weight of the structure is 20 tons.
The uniqueness of the attraction lies in the fact that all the stones that were used to create the gate are carefully polished and have round holes similar to those left by the punch. Scientists to this day can not explain this phenomenon. The material from which the door shutters were made is also unknown – they suggest that this is a type of already non-existent tree.
The lion gates in Mycenae have been preserved in almost perfect condition, with the exception of the lions – their heads are completely destroyed. Archaeologists believe that this was due to the fact that the material from which the heads were cast was initially worse than the one used for the bodies of animals. But according to an ancient legend, the heads of lions were cast from gold, and during the fall of the Mycenaean culture they were stolen. By the way, initially the lions were called upon to protect the city from evil spirits, and, since this was a very important place, ordinary people could not come here.
At the end of the 19th century, the famous German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated and came to the conclusion that the gate was not at all familiar to us in the sense of a gate, but a religious building. The find discovered near the gate prompted him to this idea: antique masks, weapons and precious stones.
The first serious excavations in Mycenae were carried out in the 19th century. At this time, a number of prominent archaeologists, and, first of all, the German Heinrich Schliemann found unique artifacts testifying to the existence of Mycenaean culture. By the way, it was after the excavations that the settlement was dubbed “gold-rich”, because many gold items were found here. The archaeological reserve consists of the following parts.
Funeral Circle A
It was in a small area that archaeologists dubbed the funeral circle A, the most interesting and important artifacts were found. For example, chess tombs and items of the Trojan War. The attraction has a rather cunning structure, and somewhat resembles Stonehenge.
Enemies often besieged the city of Mycenae, and effective defense required a large supply of water. In the XIV century BC, tanks were first built on the territory of Europe, the scale of which is amazing: at a depth of 18 meters there were huge barrels 5 meters high.
Excavations of the Royal Palace in Greece were carried out in the middle of the XIX century. Unfortunately, nothing remained of the former grandeur of the sight, and today tourists can only see the foundation. However, archaeologists managed to establish the location of Megaron – the center of the palace, in which the most important meetings and meetings took place.
- The cost of visiting: 12 euros for adults, 6 euros – for pensioners, children, adolescents, teachers. With this ticket you can visit all the attractions of Mycenae.
- Opening hours: winter (8.30-15.30), April (8.30-19.00), May-August (8.30-20.00), September (8.00-19.00), October (08.00-18.00). The museum is closed on public holidays.
The Mycenaean Archaeological Museum houses all artifacts found during excavations in the ancient settlement. Almost all museum objects in the first hall were found in five ancient tombs, which Homer spoke of. The exhibition presents products from ceramics (vases, jugs, bowls), ivory (jewelry, small animal figures), stone (tools), gold (posthumous masks, jewelry, goblets). One of the most interesting and unique exhibits are figures of Greek gods and edged weapons.
The second hall presents finds dating back to the Bronze Age. These are coins, women’s and men’s jewelry, funeral masks. The most famous is the “Mask of Agamemnon” (this is a copy, and the present is in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens).
In the third hall are the models of the settlement, created by scientists. Thanks to them, you can see the Mycenae of ancient Greece and enjoy the beauty of the facades, prints and bas-reliefs that previously adorned the city. There is also the opportunity to look at the photos of Mycenae taken in the 19th and 20th century during excavations.
Due to the fact that the stone walls that surrounded the city from all sides have been preserved, the location of the ancient Mycenae in Greece is well known, unlike, for example, the location of Troy. The height of the sights ranged from 6 to 9 meters, and the total length is 900 m. In some parts, openings were built into the walls, in which weapons and food were stored.
Mycenaean walls are often called cyclopean, because the Greeks believed that only mythical creatures could move such heavy objects. The attraction is well preserved.
The treasury of Atreus is the largest Mycenaean tomb, erected in 1250 BC. The height of the interior is 13.5 meters, and the total weight of the structure is 120 tons. Historians are sure that earlier this attraction was decorated with gold, precious stones and bas-reliefs, some of which are now exhibited in other museums in Greece. The treasures found in the coffins indicate an unprecedented (at that time) standard of living and development of the city.
As you know, in today’s Greece, many sights – the remains of ancient cities. One of them is ancient Nemea. This is a smaller, but no less interesting settlement. The symbol of Nemea is considered the preserved stadium, which featured the best athletes of the city. There are also the ruins of several bathhouses and the ruins of an ancient Christian basilica and private houses.
On the territory of ancient Nemea there is a modern museum where you can see the results of the work of archaeologists: gold jewelry, exquisite ceramics, ivory objects.
How to get to Mykonos from Athens
Athens and Mycenae are 90 km away, and there are 2 ways to get from one city to another.
This is the most affordable and easiest option. You must take the Athens stop and get to Fichti (Mycenae) station. Travel time is 1 hour 30 minutes. Ticket price – 10-15 euros (depending on travel time and class of bus). They run every 2 hours from 8.00 to 20.00.
There are several bus companies in Greece. The most popular is KTEL Argolidas, which is in all major cities of the country. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the official website of the carrier: www.ktelargolida.gr or at the Central Bus Station in Athens.
You must take the Athens train station to the train on the Πειραιάς – Κιάτο (Piraeus – Chiato) route. At Zegolateio Korinthias station you need to get out and transfer by taxi.
Travel time by train – 1 hour 10 minutes. By taxi – 30 minutes. The fare is 8 euros (train) + 35 euros (taxi). This travel option is most beneficial for small groups.
Carrier – Greek Railways. You can book a ticket in advance on their official website: www.trainose.gr or purchase it at the box office of Athens Central Station.
All prices and timetables on the page are for April 2019.
- Mykonos are far from shops and shopping centers, so take whatever you need (primarily water) with you.
- For a trip to the ancient Mycenae, choose a non-hot day, because the attraction is on the top of the hill, and there is nowhere to hide from the scorching sun.
- It is better to visit Mykonos on a weekday, as there are a lot of sightseers on the weekend.
- To avoid crowds of tourists, come to Mykonos as early as possible. The bulk of travelers arrive here from 11.00 – 12.00.
Mykonos (Greece) is one of the most important sights of the Balkan country, which will appeal to lovers of history and archeology.
Excursion to the ancient city of Mykonos