Mycenae – glory on the edge of prehistory
The archeological sites of Argolida are among the most interesting ones in Greece. It’s the climate, it’s the fertile ground, it’s the propitious geography that combines the mountain and the sea (protection and access); put all these together and Argolida becomes the center of civilization in what is now Greece, a situation that lasted for centuries. And among the various cities that emerged as leaders in the region, Mycenae stands out, and it now offers a unique opportunity for a trip to the past, to times before written history, belonging to myths and tradition.
Going to Mycenae, which is very close to Nafplion and not too far from Porto Heli, is relatively easy, since it’s so popular that hundreds (if not thousands) of visitors come to the site every day. Going up the hill, where one of the cradles of ancient Greek civilization was built, however, will start to gradually carry you to a different era. You’ll pass through the lions’ gate, while next to you you’ll be seeing the cyclopean walls, constructions that would seem difficult even now, let alone then, with the limited technical capabilities of the people of the times.
And you’ll keep going up, passing through slippery cobblestone paths, getting higher and higher and realizing why Mycenae was so powerful. Its strategic position was excellent. On one side there are steep mountains and gorges, while on the other extends a great plain, which can be easily watched.
There are various sites to see in Mycenae, but the most impressive ones on the hill are the palace on top and the waterworks a bit lower. We don’t have to say much about the palace. Its walls may no longer be standing, but its position and arrangement can give you a good idea of what went on there, when Mycenae was one of the most powerful cities in the world.
The best, however, is saved for last in Mycenae. Going up, perhaps you’ll notice another, smaller archeological site. That’s where Agamemnon’s tomb is, that contained some of the most important artifacts from the area. Most of them, Agamemnon’s mask included, are now in the National Archeological Museum in Athens, but you can see some in the local museum. What’s important, however, is to try and enter the tomb, see the huge rocks of the corridor leading there stand tall above you, step from the light into darkness, feel the unique awe of coming into contact with an ancient civilization.
A trip to Argolida, whether for a conference or on vacation, is necessary to be accompanied with a visit to Mycenae.
AKS Conference Centre Peloponnese