Mycenae is one of the most important archaeological sites, globally renowned and a symbol of heroic Greece. It is located ten kilometers away from Argos, on the road to Corinth from the old national highway, built on a rocky ridge, among two high cone hills, Profitis Elias (805 m.) and Sara (660 m.), at a strategic point that dominates many road networks.
“Polichrises Micenas” (Multigold Myceane), the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon, who united under his sword all of the Greeks that pillaged Troy, and made Mycenae known throughout the world, and who was the first to be praised by Homer in his epic work, it is the most important and richest palace center of the Later Copper Period in Greece.
Its name was given to one of the most glorious civilizations of Hellenic prehistory, the Mycenaean, and the myths that connect to its story were passed on through the ages by the epic of Homer and the great tragedies of the classical period, while they have inspired and continue to inspire all over the world, spiritual creativity and art. Mythical tradition wants the founder of Mycenae to be Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, who named the new city Mycenae, either because it was there where the sheath (anc. greek “μύκης”) of his sword fell, or because it was there where a spring of plenty of water was discovered, after Perseas removed a fungus (greek “mikitas”). According to the myth, the offspring of Perseas ruled Mycenae for three generations, the last one being that of Evristheas, who was killed without leaving any offspring behind, and so the people of Mycenae chose as their king Atreas, son of Pelopas and father to Agamemnon and Menelaos.
The magnificence of Mycenae held up until 1100 BC, when the Dorians took over Peloponnesus. In the next centuries, the destruction went on and in 468 B.C., the Argeads took over the citadel, the most prevailing time of abandonment possibly being in 150 AC.
The archaeological site of Mycenae includes the walled citadel, on top of the ridge, as well as the scattered burial and habitation complexes outside of it, mostly to the west and southwest. Most of the monuments that are visible today are dated back to the period of the great peak of the palace center, from 1350 to 1200 BC. The visitor can follow the footsteps of the Atreas and marvel at the two royal burial tombs that comprised part of the extended prehistoric burial ground, their excavation leading to the biggest bulk of extraordinary findings, the treasure of Atreas (dome tomb), the dome tomb of Kletaemnestra, the Lion Arch, the Royal palace, the temple, the North Gate, as well as the underground reservoir.
Many of the artifacts brought to light in Mycenae by the excavational spade are currently exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, as well as in the new, modern Museum of Mycenae, bringing awe to millions of visitors from all corners of the world.