Mycenae Archaeological Site (Μυκῆναι or Μυκήνη)


Mycenae Archaeological Site is situated just 55 miles Southwest from the Athens in Greece. This city gave a name to whole period in the history of Greece from 1600 BC till 1100 BC.



Location: 55 miles Southwest of Athens
Open: June- Nov 8am- 7pm
Nov- March 8:30am- 3pm
Entrance Fee: 3 Euro
Children (under 21): free

Maps of the cite

Heinrich Schliemann (Jan 6, 1822- Dec 6, 1890)


Desription of Mycenae Archaeological Site


Mycenae Archaeological Site of the ancient Mycenae was discovered by amateur archaeologist Henrich Schliemann. Obsessed with Homer’s poetry he hastily named his findings after heroes from ancient poems. He also discovered the remains of legendary Troy on the Western coast of modern Turkey. Mycenae site covers a large area so it requires a lot of strength and stamina to explore it completely. Take plenty of water and sun protection. Summers in Greece are hot and dry.


The site of Mycenae Mycenae Archaeological Site was first settled in the early Bronze Age around 2000 BC. This plateau comfortably sat between Sara Hill (660 m) and Profitis Ilias Hill (805 m). This strategic location dominated Argive plain and trade routes that ran through it. First people mostly practiced farming and herding in the local hills. Little has remained from the early settlers here. Constant expansion of Mycenae erased most of the signs of previous inhabitants. Several burials on the South- west slope of the city hill is all that remains here.


During the middle Bronze Age (1800- 1700) Mycenae already gained importance and fame in Eastern Mediterranean. Strong fortifications were erected to defend the acropolis. In the fourteenth century the power of the Mycenaean civilization spread through much of South Greece. Its merchants traded with most of eastern Mediterranean. Mycenae had a well distinguished hierarchy and separation of the social strata. Slavery was part of daily life and strong presence of religious elite of priests in combination with royal and noble families made the decisions in the life of the city.


Grave Circle B was erected in Mycenae around 1700 BC and Grave Circle A was added a century later around 1600. It contains remains of the richest members of society. Unlike other residence who were buried outside of city walls, aristocrats and royalty had their tombs erected within city walls of the ancient city. Their families brought gifts and donations to honor the dead.


Mycenaean Palace is a family residence that was started in the middle of the 14th century BC during Late Helladic period. It was subsequently increased in 1250 BC and 1225 BC. A series of sophisticated tombs known as tholos tombs were erected on the South- Western slopes of the city. This included Tomb of Aegisthos (circa 1500 BC), the Lion Tholos Tomb (circa 1350), magnificent tomb of Clymenestra (circa 1220 BC) and Treasure of Atreus.


However prolonged Trojan war in the 13th century that was described by Homer weakened the states on mainland of Greece. Barbarians quickly swept and burned many cities including Mycenae. Although archeological discovery suggest that people occupied this site in the fifth century BC the city never recovered. Since the Roman times tourists came here from Rome to visit the former capital of Agamemnon who survived the Trojan war only to fall from a hand of his own devious wife, Clymenestra. By the time Pausanias (Greek traveler in the 2nd century AD) came here it was nothing, but a pile of ruins, largely covered by soil and grasses.


Lion Gate (Mycenae Mycenae Archaeological Site)

Lion Gate is the main entrance to Mycenae archaeological site. In the ancient times it was the only way to get inside. Its name is derived from two lions that adore the entrance to the citadel. Although it might seem somewhat crude an basic Mycenae was impressive for the people of its time. Greeks and Europeans in general never seen this level of sophistication in construction of their military fortifications. Cyclopean masonry was believed to be work of Cyclops, mythical one- eyed monsters that could move massive rocks. Locals couldn't believe that it was work of human hands.

Tomb Circle A (Mycenae Mycenae Archaeological Site)

Just as you enter inside the ancient city through the Lion Gate you can find Tomb Circle A on your right side. It was constructed around 1600 BC for the families of royalty and nobility. Unlike other corpses that were buried outside of city walls, this Burial Complex was kept inside. Archeologists discovered remains of 8 men, 9 women and 2 children inside six grave shafts. Additionally there were over thirty pounds of gold that was kept for their afterlife.

Tomb of Clymenestra (Mycenae Mycenae Archaeological Site)

Tomb of Clymenestra was named by Schlieman who believed that he have found the burial chamber of a legendary queen who killed her husband Agamemnon. The legend goes that once her husband went to fight a Troy War for 10 years she got herself a lover to keep herself a company. Once the Troy was defeated and razed to the ground, Agamemnon came back. On a first day of his arrival he went to take a bath. Clymenestra hacked him to death there. Their son later killed her mother in revenge. Despite this quiet legend the actual tomb dates to a different time period and probably had nothing to do with the murderous queen of Mycenae.

Cistern (Mycenae Mycenae Archaeological Site)

The cisterns was a key for survival of Mycenae. Today they are empty, but in the ancient times there were used to collect rainwater to keep the city alive, even in a time of sieges and warfare.