Mycenae

10:43:00 PM Brooke Neal 0 Comments

Ever since studying Mycenae as an undergrad archaeology student, it has been on my list of places to see before dying.  What a thrill to finally see this place and why?  This is where Agamemnon (of Trojan War fame) ruled.  It is from here that the great king garnered support for the expedition that would bring his sister in law Helen, back to Greece. 

Truthfully, it is a small site and perhaps unimpressive to those who prefer the refined beauty of the classical Greeks, but to me this fortress city with it's lion gate and mammoth stonework is an amazing feat of construction and ingenuity.  Mycenaeans are known for building with massive stone without mortar called cyclopian construction. The classic Greeks dubbed the phrase, believing that the cyclopes must have helped build the city.  If you look closely at the photos in the top right and left you can get a feel for the size of some of these stones. 
The Details
Cost: €8 adults, under 18 free
Hours: 8am-3pm
Time: We arrived at the site at 1:45pm thinking we had until 5:00pm, but in fact we only had until 3:00pm.  We managed to see everything we wanted including the museum and Treasury, but it was a very hurried tour.
TIP: Operating hours of archaeological sites in Greece were inconsistent and finding a reliable link online was difficult.  The hours listed in our guide book were wrong at every location, but by the end of our trip we found 8am-3pm to be the new standard.  Perhaps in the summer they will offer longer hours.
Bob and the girls are standing in front of the Lion Gate.  The lintel piece is estimated to weigh 20 tons. The photos on the right side are of the shaft graves where archaeologists found the remains of kings and queens.  It is estimated that 30 pounds of gold came out of the shaft graves.
What you are looking at is the entrance to the burial tombs of later kings. The tombs are circular with corbeled ceilings.  It is said the Peloponnese is shaped like a Mulberry leaf--the ancients noticed this and the area's ancient name is Morea.
On the back side of the fortress 99 steps lead you into absolute darkness down to a cistern or well.  Thank goodness for the flashlight feature on my cell phone, it is the only reason we were able to make it down to the bottom.  The girls were completely nervous and justifiably so.  I had to shine my phone on the steps to keep us from falling and would periodically set off the flash on my camera to see in front of us.  I kept reminding my girls, "this is an adventure!"

0 comments: