Mycenae & Tiryns (Peloponnese - Greece)

As I mentioned in the last post, during our WithLocals private tour, our initial stops were at Mount Lycabettus and Corinth Canal for a few moments to click a few pictures and our first prime stop was Mycenae aka Mykines.
To begin with, what the rest of the world mentions as Greek Civilization, it is actually split into several, and one of the Greek Civilizations is Mycenaen Civilization of Late Bronze Age which originated here. The Greek poet Homer has sung about this place in his poems as the richest centre. Well guarded on 2 sides by huge mountains, its located in a valley. Mycenae has been in occupation since 7000BCE (New Stone Age!), however whatever we see today, primarily belongs to 1350-1200BCE (Late Bronze Age). 

Soon after you enter, you're welcomed by 2 mighty lions, carved atop the gateway, and its aptly called Lion's Gate. The entire fortification wall is called the Cyclopean walls, because, every brick is so big that 'it must have been the giant cyclops who built them'!!! I mean, look at the size of the monolithic lions and the brick under its base.....

Soon after you go through this entrance, to your right is the granary, followed by the Grave Circle A. It originally had 6 grave shafts filled with several valuables including arms & gold etc. This is because ancient Greeks (like ancient Egyptians & Harappans), believed in life after death and were buried with their belongings. From here is a slight upward path.

Beyond these is what seems to be the different types of dwellings for the different occupations of people (which very much reminded me of Dholavira). The highest point of the citadel is the Palace, which is connected from the Lion's Gate by the Great Ramp! This was the headquarters of the Mycenaean rulers. Though it was a Palace in the Late Bronze age, this site was never deserted after it and settlements continued and during 700-300BCE, Temples were built in this site.


Walking downwards on the other side, there is an underground cistern! This was built to safeguard the palace during sieges!!! The corbelled roof of the descent to the cistern is a work of art!!! I mean, think of it, the sheer size of each stone and the way its built, not today but 3000yrs ago......


The exit from this fortification is through the North Gate made of 4 cyclopean blocks, just like Lion's Gate but doesn't have any design on them. The passage however continues till the site museum. The visit to the archaeological site isn't complete without visiting the museum. Most of what has been recovered from here, are now housed in the site museum including pottery, fresco fragments, jewelry, sculptures, seals with script etc.
Half a km down the road, is the Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon built in 1350-1250 CE. The look of it is just fascinating in various aspects. One, the sheer size of it - its huge with a conical corbel roof. Two, its setting - its set along the slopes of the hill and is meant to be covered by soil and the whole structure is supposed to look like a part of the hill, submerged into the hill! There are many tombs all over Greece that are in this style and several that are yet to be discovered. This one however, was never covered with soil and was open throughout. Even by 200CE was found open and pillaged! The heavily decorated frontage of the tomb is currently in British Museum, London and National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Our next stop was Tiryns. Unlike Mycenea, Tiryns is still in its very early stages of excavation and research. So many structures that have a clarity of what it was (like in Mycenae), isn't there in Tiryns.
Tiryns is slightly older than Mycenae and its present structure has been in existence since 2500-2000 BCE. The fortifications were built only 1400 CE. Unlike Mycenae, most of the fortifications of Tiryns in almost in the same plane. There is the ruins of the Palace right at the centre and beyond it is a series of steps that lead to a dirt path, outside the fortification walls. The size of the whole fortification is monumental, but the sites are yet to be labelled and explained, of its original use. Just like Mycenae, here too the Cyclopean walls are present. Can you spot Atyudarini in the above pic???
The thing about Mycenae & Tiryns is - its 4000yr old humongous buildings which have fallen into ruins over time. So what you see is mostly fallen structures. Currently Greek Govt., is under the process of rebuilding the structures to bring it back to its original glory, like how you now see the Parthenon of Athens! Ofcourse it costs a lot of money for the material, experts, labour etc, so everything cannot be done at the same time. While Athens Acropolis is almost done, currently Epidaurus is being restored. It is easier in those places to see how it would have been in its heydays. However that's yet to happen in Mycenae, Tiryns, Delphi etc. Most of what you see in these sites is ruins...

Here's a tip: It is NOT wheelchair or stroller friendly! 
Here's another tip: Keep the ticket of Mycenae safe as it gets checked once again at Agamemnon Tomb entrance.

Entry Tickets & Timings:
Mycenae: €12 (€6 in winter)
Tiryns: €4 (€2 in winter); 
Timings (for both): 8:30AM to 3:30PM (winters); 8:00AM to 8:00PM (spring & summer); 8:00AM to 6-7:30PM (autumn)

To Get There:
On Google Maps: Mycenae, Tomb of Agamemnon, Tiryns
From Athens: Several tour operators have private or group tours to Mycenae (along with Epidaurus & Nafplio). However Tiryns is generally not included in group tours. Customized private tours could be the option. I took the Private tour of Peloponnese by WithLocals with this awesome guy Vassilis (€15 discount code) to finish it all in one day
Public transport: Ktel buses are available but not direct or frequent. You need to take a bus from Athens to Isthumus (Corinth) and find another bus to Mykinos (Mycenae). Then head to Nafplio and get another bus/taxi to Tiryns. However with so many connections, doing it all in one day is impossible. A choice would be to visit Mycenae for a day and head to Epidaurus or Nafplio by evening and stay there and do Tiryns & Epidaurus for the next day... and may be head towards Pyrgos for Ancient Olympia for next day!!! This would be apt if you're solo or all-adult back-packing.

My complete
Peloponnese Travelogue: Day trip to Peloponnese, Mycenae & Tiryns, Epidaurus
Attica Travelogue: Athens, Daphni Monastery
Central Mainland Travelogue: Delphi, Hosios Loukas Monastery

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

18 comments:

  1. I dream of the day that I can island-hop around Greece. There are so many fun places to discover. It's crazy to think that these places have been around for thousands of years, and yet Tiryns is still in the "early" phases of excavation. To think about what wonders they might unearth is so exciting! I love that the Greek government is taking the steps to rebuilding and renovating historical sites like these!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love historical sites and I would surely be thrilled to see the ruins of a 4000-y old building. Greece has so much to offer and UNESCO sites like Mecenae and Tiryns should not be missed at all. I will make sure to introduce these in my Greece itinerary.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have only been to Greece once, and it is a country that still fascinates me from afar. It oozes so much history and looks like an awesome place to explore with your children. I may have to consider a trip there with my own daughter one day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have always been fascinated by Greek mythology and history. Waiting for the day when we set our feet in Greece. Mycenae and Tiryns are both such interesting places which give a better understanding of the ancient history of the region. Also really off beat places far removed from the normal tourist circuit of Athens, Mykonos, etc.. This is something we will be making a note of to include in our itinerary whenever we get into Greece.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Really enjoyed learning more about Mycenae and Tiryins, not least the note that "Greek civilization" is more accurately several civilizations of different eras, and of course, various sites are associated with one or other of those. The ruins of Mycenae are amazing, looks like not very crowded either. Tiryns also well worth visiting, though looks like it might be more effort for those of us with any mobility issues!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a keen interest in ancient civilizations, be it our very own Dholavira or Mykines. It would be intriguing to visit the site museum. It is a good idea to restore these ancient buildings. Just the figure ‘4000 years old’ gave me goosebumps! Being a backpacker, I am happy to see that public transport is available here!

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG! This is my dream travel destination or experience (whatever you want to call it.) I have been fascinated with Greek civilization and history and this would be really awesome to see all of these artifacts up close. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. I enjoyed reading your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When people talk only about beaches in Greece, I wonder why not more. This was different and interesting. Ancient Greeks and their mythology has always been very intriguing. I was in Bahrain last month and there also the burials were similar because the Dilmuns also believed in life after death and buried the dead with their belongings.
    It is good to see you traveling with your kiddo. Good to know about the public transport. Makes things simpler.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mycenae with so much historical and cultural significance would be a lovely place to visit as I am really interested in Homer's work. The region looks really scenic and I am sure that sunset photos would be really gorgeous. Good to see that your daughter is learning so much while traveling.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love visiting destinations which such an interesting historical background! You really looked in depth and I think it's great you took your child along for the ride!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Greece has always been on top of my bucket list and I've always been dreaming of going there for a vacation. I've always been fascinated by Greek mythology. Can't wait to have my own Greece vacation soon

    ReplyDelete
  12. I read a truckload of historical fiction, and I'm fascinated by Greek history (particularly Mycenae). That's pretty cool about the Tomb of Agamemnon (those tombs remind me a little of the Etruscan ones in Italy - are they similar?), and apparently, there's one of Clytemnestra as well. I just finished a book about the Trojan War, so this post is very timely. I need to get to Greece, clearly - both the mythology and the history are so interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This would be a dream come true for me and I will get there one day. In the mean time, I just research, look at gorgeous pictures, and read blogs written by people who have been there and experienced this first hand. Gorgeous images, amazing to see how big everything is relatively to that little human. Loved this post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I haven't made it to Greece yet, but I'm really excited about visiting to see the ancient buildings and ruins. I visited Rome last year and found it so powerful to stand among the ruins there. I find the history just amazing and almost unbelievable. I'd love to visit Greece for the same reasons. There's so many places like this to explore, hopefully I can get there sooner rather than later.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Definitely my kind of trip! I love learning about history and old artifacts! Greece has so much historical sights. I'd love to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is so cool that Homer mentioned this place in his poems! It looks like it is filled with history. You got some great weather, and you mention that the Greek government is in the process of restoring the ruins. However, I think there is some beauty in the ruins, so it's cool that you got to see them before they were restored. It would be interesting to compare before and after. Thanks for sharing, Bhushavali!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, knowing that Mycenae is well guarded by the huge mountains of both sides is truly amazing! Honestly, I haven't heard about Mycenae and Tiryins before, and both are really amazing with their Greek history. Anyway, I'm happy to know that the Greek Government is really taking good care of these historical sites, which I guess very impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great to see the ancient headquarters of the Mycenaean rulers. This place looks worth visiting in Greece as the site is also very natural. I missed this place during my Greece visit due to lack of time. Even the excavations of Tiryns looks interesting.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...! Why not leave a comment.? And tell your friends..!!!
By commenting you accept to our GDPR Policy.