Next: MonemvasiaPrevious: Nafplion

Mycenae: ruins of the oldest city

More Adventure travel tales in Greece:
Other Southern European Tales:
Ruins of Pompeii, Italy
Florence, Italy
Venice, City of Water, Italy
Rome, Italy
Cappadocia, Turkey
Sel├žuk, Turkey

Lion gate at the ruins of Mycenae

Mycenae (Mikenes in Greek) was the oldest important city in Greece, founded in 6000 BC, and having its largest power between 1500 and 1200 BC. It is still a mystery how the city came to an end, and for a long time it was doubted whether the city existed at all. It was thought to exist only in ancient Greek mythology, and in the famous poets of Homer. But in 1807, a German amateur archeologist located the site of the old city, whose ruins have since been excavated. It is located in the north of the Greek Peloponnese, and can be reached from Corinth, Argos, or Nafplion.

From Nafplion we take the bus to the archaeological site of Mycenae. It is a straight connection, but the bus is almost empty. It is probably the off season again, but it is strange to see so little people at the ruins of such a famous city. We enter Mycenae via the Lion Gate, which is the oldest monumental sculpture in Europe. Right behind it is grave circle number one. The circle is marked by flat long stones, put upright, and withing these markings are a few rectangular graves visible.

Many major findings are done here, among which a golden death mask. Human remains were still on that mask when it was found, and people thought it belonged to the legendary king Achmemnon. But it appeared to be 300 years older than that, and the bearer was never identified.

Grave circle in the citadel of MycenaeWe leave the grave circle and climb up to the former palace. Nothing of this palace is still erect, only the foundations can be seen. We wander around a bit, but there is not much to be seen. So we descend to the wall of the citadel on the other side. This thick wall is pretty much intact, as are a few gates in it. There is also an underground water reservoir, but we are not allowed to go in there.

We climb back up and are a little disappointed that this was it. But outside the citadel are a few more grave circles. Not the kind we saw in the citadel, but some kind of underground bee hives, serving as tombs for a king. Unfortunately these graves were looted by grave hunters long ago. But we can walk inside and amaze ourselves about the construction of these graves.

The ruins of Mycenae cover only a small part of the once mighty city. The ruins are in decay, and there is not much of interest to be seen. Yet, it is a nice place to visit, if only to daydream about history in the oldest European city.

Follow our World Journey!! Next Stop: Monemvasia

Return from Mycenae to Travel Europe
Return from Mycenae to Adventure Travel Tales and Tips