sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Mycenae and Epidaurus

The ancient city of Mycenae is 23.4 kilometers- and a twenty-three-minute drive from Nafplion. Mycenae culture was dominant from the 15th to the 12th centuries BC and played a leading role in the development of the culture of classical Greece.
In Homer’s rendering of the Trojan War, Mycenae is described as ‘golden Mycenae’ and as the Kingdom of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War.

The first stop on the route to Mycenae is the Treasury of Atreus, a spectacular and unique example of Mycenaean design.
Built between 1350 and 1250 BC, it consists of a long pathway leading to a soaring entrance of sloping stone walls connected by a stone lintel. The interior comprises a monumental beehive–shaped vaulted chamber and a small adjacent chamber.
Unfortunately, over the centuries, the sculptures and decorations that adorned the tomb were plundered. The small number of sculptured decorations that have been saved are now on display in the British Museum of London and the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

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The ancient fortified city of Mycenae is a five-minute uphill drive from the Treasury of Atreus. Located on a hill between two larger hills in the Peloponnese region, the acropolis of Mycenae commanded a strategic position from which it controlled the Argolid Plain, the kingdom of the mythical Agamemnon, who reigned over the most important and most prosperous palatial center of the Late Bronze age in Greece.
Many myths related to Mycenae’s history, rules, and family members have inspired artists, storytellers, writers, and poets for centuries.

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We began our exploration of Mycenae at The Museum, which houses a superb collection of ancient pottery and artifacts that have been uncovered on the site.

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The famous Lions Gate is the gateway to the ancient city. The two lionesses are a symbol of the power of the Mycenaean kings.

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The Granary was named after the remains of cereal-like grains discovered by archaeologists in the basement rooms. Archaeologists and historians believe that the pottery dating to the 13th and 12th centuries found at the site represents the last phase of artistic creation in Mycenae.

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The Grave Circle was used for royal burials in the 16th century BC. The graves were marked by upright stone slabs bearing inscriptions and designs. ‘Stelae’ are akin to an ancient version of today’s tombstones.

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A hike up to the top of the hill leads to the location of The Palace – which has a three-hundred and sixty-degree view of the surrounding landscape.

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Epidaurus is a fifty-minute drive from Mycenae.
This amphitheater is impressive. It’s one of the best-preserved structures of antiquity in the area. Built in the 4th century BC, its original form remained intact until the Roman era when most Greek theaters underwent significant changes.
The acoustics are outstanding thanks to the perfect symmetry of the auditorium.
At the center of the ‘stage’ is the ‘thymele,’ a circular stone plate, the base of the altar. This stone is considered sacred, so one should not stand ON it (as many visitors do) but to the side of it to hear one’s voice traveling up and across the amphitheater.
An hour to an hour and a half in Epidaurus should suffice.

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