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Mycenae, Greece – An epic destination

17 Aug Posted by in Europe, Featured | Comments
Mycenae, Greece – An epic destination

Overlooking Mycenae, Greece
Image Credits: Mendhak

Mycenae is an ancient Greek city located in Argolis, in the North-Eastern Peloponnese, at a distance of 90 Km from Athens and at 19 Km from Nafplion, the first capital of the modern Greek state. Mycenae was the center of a thriving palatial civilization during the second millennium BC. The Mycenaean civilization flourished between the period of 1600 – 1100 BC during which Mycenae became a military super-power that dominated most of Greece and extended its influence as far as Crete and Anatolia.

In one of the greatest epic stories ever told, the Iliad, Homer tells us about the war between the united army of Greece (the Achaeans) against Troy, lead by king Menelaus of Sparta; the brother of king Agamemnon of Mycenae. Although the cause of war may not have been the snatching of Beautiful Helen by Paris of Troy, as Homer suggests, his story may still be based on true events, possibly a military clash between the Hittite empire and Mycenae over the control of Illium, a city of great strategic importance at the time.

Nowadays, the site of the ancient city of Mycenae is an archaeological park that is visited by thousands of people every year. The lion gate marks the entrance to the ancient citadel of Mycenae and it is the most recognizable monument of this civilization. The citadel itself is surrounded by fortification walls built out of huge stone masonry blocks. So big is the size of these blocks that the Mycenaean walls are called “cyclopean”, as their fabrication has been mythically attributed to the Cyclopes.

Grave V, known as “The grave of Agamemnon” was discovered by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who took Homer at his word and started excavating the site in 1876 after he had uncovered what some believe to be mythical Troy, in modern day Turkey.

Bourtzi Castle in Nafplion’s Harbor
Image Credits:Harvey Barrison

If you are visiting Mycenae, one days visit to the archaeological site will be enough to see the whole site and visit the museum. Your best bet for accommodation is Nafplion, at a distance of 19 Km but if you wish to stay somewhere closer you can also find hotels and rooms at nearby villages. However, Nafplion has a lot more to offer in terms of sights and night life. There is an abundance of beaches nearby, as well as several museums and historical monuments in the city of Nafplion. If you wish to explore more of Mycenaean Greece, you might also be interested in visiting ancient Tiryns, only 15Km from Mycenae, as well as Nestor’s palace in Pylos, in the prefecture of Messinia, more than 100 Km away from Mycenae.

The easiest way to get to Mycenae from abroad is to fly to Athens and then drive there. Alternatively you can take the bus to Nafplion, from Kifissos station in Athens, and then rent a car or take another bus to Mycenae.

Useful Links:
Hellenic Ministry of Culture – Mycenae
Mycenae History
Virtual Tourist’s page on Mycenae

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