At the 8th km of the road between Argos and Nafplio, built on a rocky hill 18m high, the commanding citadel of Tiryns comes into sight, the oldest of all ancient Mycenaean citadels. Its “cyclopean” walls, constructed out of huge limestone boulders, already in ancient times commanded admiration and bewilderment, majestically marking the location that was populated nonstop for many centuries in antiquity, and that controls a large stretch of the valley, as well as important routes to Argos, Mycenae, Nafplio and Epidaurus. According to myth, the first mythical king of the city was Proitos, brother of Akrisios, king of Argos, who after a quarrel with his brother went to Lykia, and from there came back bringing Cyclopes with him, who founded these huge walls. In mythology, the king of Tirynth, Evristheas, ordered Hercules his feats.
In the prehistoric times, the site met its prime mostly during the early and later Bronze Age. In the second phase of the Proto-Helladic period (2700-2200 BC) an important center must have been here, densely populated and a uniquely built circular building, 27m in diameter, at the top of the hill. During the later Bronze Age, the hill was gradually fortified and included within its “cyclopean” walls the palace compound, as well as other building, used for administrative and ritual functions, housing goods and workshops, while a limited number of buildings was used as residencies for members of the ruling class. Tiryns, during the historic times, even though it must have had the form of an organized political community, it could not compete with Argos, that ultimately destroyed Tiryns in the first half of the 5th century, exiling its residents.
In 1828, governor Ioannis Kapodistrias founded a building for the operation of the agricultural academy, at the area south of the citadel. Today, the Prison Farms are housed there. Research from the German Archaeological Institute and the Greek Archaeological Service, from 1876 to this day, with Errikos Sleman as front liner, have brought to light one of the most important Mycenaean citadels and traced the stages of civilization of the prehistoric and historic periods in Argolis prefecture.