Mykines: rich kings and beehive tombs

Ancient Greece is known for the golden age of Pericles, when the Acropolis in Athens was built, during the ancient period. There have been highly advanced civilizations in Greece long before that. An important one is the Mycenaean civilization, which flourished from about 1600 to 1100 BC, in Argolis. Aggressive and skilled warriors, the Myceneans defeated the earlier Minoan civilization, and their rich aristocracy built palaces and temples. Mykines was the main city in this era, and gave the name of the eraitself. You can still see the impressive remains of this mighty city.

Your entry is through the Lions Gate, dating to the Greek Bronze Age (13th c.BC.) Some of the huge rocks in and around the gate weigh 20 tons, and there are building blocks in Mykines weighing much more. These walls are called "Cyclopean", meaning that they were built by the Cyclopes, one-eyed giants, mentioned in Greek mythology.

BRING A GUIDE BOOK. Only the foundations remain from the tombs, palaces, shops and homes that once were here. The outer wall is more than 1.1km long, and many buildings were once part of this amazing city.

GREAT VIEWS. Mykines is located between two mountains, yet there are plenty of places you just have to stop and enjoy the scenery below and above. Somehow the ancient Myceneans had selected the best spot from where they could see everything and everybody invading the area.

In the MUSEUM, you can see richly decorated pottery, jewelry, toys, etc on display. The museum gives a good insight into the Mycenaean culture, especially if you also take the time to read the many posters that explains about this. Notice the model of Mykines in the museum lobby.

Leaving the ancient site we find the TOMB of ATREUS. It is an amazing beehive structure, called in Greek, Tholos. There are 9 similar Tholos near Mycenae, but this is the most impressive of all. King Atreus , according to mythology, was the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus, known from the Trojan war of Homer and other ancient writers. Atreus was the son of Pelops, the mythical king of ancient Olympia, and the one that named Peloponnese after his name. The tholos tomb dates from about 1250 BC, is over 13 m high and over 14 m wide, and it was for a thousand years the tallest and widest dome in the world. Look at the craftsmanship and how precise the stones are hewn and laid, both in the "beehive" and the passage that leads into it. It is amazing! The burial chamber is in many ways more impressive than the city itself, because it is so incredibly well preserved.

Remember to wear proper shoes. The stones are old and slippery.