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Mycenea

Mycenea: Near the passage that links Argolida and Korinthia (today we name the location Dervenakia) we find on a hill the town which in about 1500 BC was called Mycenea. In an altitude of 278m and surrounded by the two precipitous hills (Profitis Helias and Sara) and two gorges it is only normal that it was a natural fortress. It was the only passage from Peloponnisos to Attiki and the short distance from the Argolic Gulf gave Mycenea the chance to control the com-munication in the Aegean open sea. We are talking about an ancient city, a monument city which is still very difficult to define which parts of the myth about it were real and which parts really belong to mythology. Founder of Mycenea was Perseus (son of Zeus). But the most famous name that prevaled in the history of Mycenea was king Atreas and his gene-ration (Agamemnon was his son, Helectra and Orestis Agamemnon’ s children).
Mycenea

The myth (according to Sofoklis and Euripidis) tells us that the suffering Agamemnon’s generation went through was because of a sin Atreas commited and upsetted the gods. So his generstion was punished with inflictions. That reminds a lot of the original sin. The most certain thing is that Mycenea existed long before legends and myths were recorded, way back to the 13th or 14th century BC.The acropolis is standing between the two hills. A road is leading to it on which we find guard-houses  watch-boxes and towers for informing the palace and other cities of bad news.(It was a tower system with flammable materials that were put on fire to spread the bad news). Inside the walls of the acropolis are the palace, the temple, a number of buildings and the first tombyard. Exactly outside the walls, on the foothill we find the middle-helladic tombyard, part of which are two royal yards (17th-16th century BC).

Some house complexes, hundreds of chamber tombs and nine hill-tombs. The stones all of the buildings are made of have giant size and that’s why it is said that the city was built by Cy-clops, sons of Zeus. The hill-tombs belonged to royalty and members of the royal family. So it’s only logical that these tombs are called treasures or exchequers of Atreas and his descendants. Let’s not forget that people were burried with their belongings at that time. The tombs have differences between them and that’s why we place them in different centu-ries. The colossal size of the tombs, the dominant architecture and the giant rocks and the internal arch of the dome place them among the most brilliant tomb monuments of the world.

Unfortunately almost all of them have been depre-dated at some points of history and the best date we can give is during the 16th, 15th and 14th century BC. Outside the walls and on the hills the common people were burried in chamber tombs. The hill is full of them and that means the population grew larger and larger throughout the history fo Mycenea, it was a flourishing civilazation and objects that were found indicate trading with other civilazations. The Gate of Lions is the main entrance to the acropolis and it’s one of the best speciments of fortified towers (it was built to force the intrudors to a very narrrow point between the hill and the walls). It has a sculpture of Lions  and is the first monument sculpture in Europe. Store-houses were found and fos-sil seeds, staircases and iside the tombs golden ceramics, golden masks, jewels, copper swords, golden and ivory blades and many more. This town was first inhabited during the Neolithic ages from which we don’t have many information.

Mycenea


From 2000BC we have ceramics, architecture and tombs that give us many clues about their life and economic develop-ment. The palace from that era was ruined. The ages to follow- post Copper era- and the 14th century BC were the flou-rishing ages in which the walls were fortified better. 100 years later the Gate of Lions was built and Mycenea was the greatest trading center that exported and imported goods from and to Crete, Aegypt and the Palestinian coasts. Shortly after the 13th century BC the city was hit by an earthquake. Later on fire from the temple broke out and destroyed the city. During the 10th and 11th century the city was politically and economicaly decayed. No great event or destruction indicates the abandoning of Mycenea. The royalty simply deteriorated and the acropolis gradually emptied.

The people immigrated to Asia Minor, the Mediterranea, Argolida.Though it was abandoned, few still stayed barely making their own living. The trading had stopped. In 468 BC the Argeans took over Mycenea, threw the people away and destroyed a part of the fortification. In the 3rd century BC the Argeans setted a community of farmers who lived on olive-oil and wine production. By the 2nd century they abandoned the city too. It’s really a fortune that this city still exists and provides us with a picture of the way life was back then.

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