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|Light:||none, electric torch necessary.|
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|1700-1100 BC||the center of the Mycanean culture.|
|1100 BC||abandoned after being destroyed by fire.|
|1874||excavated by Heinrich Schliemann.|
Mycenae is a fortified palace complex which was uncovered by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1874. The "Cyclopean" Walls are up to 14 m wide, and are impregnable. Even today the Greeks believe that they had been built by giants. Mycenae was one of the earliest examples of sophisticated citadel architecture. The term "Mycanean" applies to an entire culture spanning the years 1700-1100 BC. Only the ruling class inhabited this hilltop palace, with artisans and merchants living just outside the city walls. It was abandoned in 1100 BC after being destroyed by fire.
Schliemann discovered a veritable treasure of gold weighing up to 14 kg. This together with other grave goods are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum at Athens.
The Tomb of Klytemnestra is 37m long and 6m wide. The entrance to the tomb was once sealed by a double wooden door which was originally sheathed with bronze. The back of the opening is closed by a wall of rough construction. The circular chamber is 13.5m in diameter and about 13m high.
The Cistern is entered via a flight of 99 steps which leads down into a large chamber deep beneath the citadel. A continuos supply of water was obtained by a system of pipes connected the nearby Perseia Fountain.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.
The palace and city of Mycenae is located on a hilltop, overlooking the Argolis plains. A strategic place, and the home of the Mycenaean kings, the most famos of them probably Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War. The whole city is destroyed almost completely and only the foundation of the buildings remains.
The most famous remains of Mykenae are the Lions Gate, and the gold treasure of Agamemnon. The Lions Gate a megalithic gate, built of enormous rocks and with a relief on top, showing two headless lions. The heads were probably made of wood or jewelry, so they may be destroyed or stolen. The gold treasure was found in the graves inside the city. It is on display at Athens National Museum today.
Not famous, but still very impressive is the underground of Mycenae. To the northeast of the city, close to the northern gate, is the location of the cistern. This is more or less a sort of passage leading down to a small rectangular basin, where the water was stored.
The passage is about 1m wide and 4 to 5m high. Built on huge rocks, with a pointed arch, it looks pretty much like a gothic window. The pointed arch makes the whole construction very stable. The walls seem to be covered by a sort of plaster, but because of the irregular shape of the rocks, the walls look like a natural cave, a river passage with undulating walls.
The passage leads down a steep stair of approximately 100 steps. This steps are very irregular and a bit too small, so it is difficult to walk down the stair.
|Cistern of Ancient Mycenae Gallery|