AKS News » Mycenae are Unique
Let’s just admit it from the beginning: Mycenae in Argolida is the most beautiful archeological site in Greece. Few others combine modern facilities with a trip to the past and a sense of awe.
If you’re en route from Porto Heli to Athens, or vice versa, one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself is a detour towards Mycenae (the extra drive will be about half an hour). The other great gift is a detour to Epidaurus, even though it is hard to combine both, but not impossible.
What is it that makes Mycenae so special? Besides how ancient the space is, since even for the Greeks of the classical era, this area would be considered inhabited in their own distant past, the grandeur and the myth of Mycenae become obvious on your every step. After you leave your car at the base of the site (though you have already driven past Agamemnon’s tomb – more on that in a while), you’ll start climbing the hill. The tombs, the palaces, the cyclopean walls, the lions’ gate, and the paths you can follow, all will show you the genius that went into constructing Mycenae.
The greatest impression was made by the choice of location by the Greeks of the time. On one side, the view is kilometers long, towards the valley, so the invaders can be spotted immediately and from afar. On the other side, there’s a ravine and inaccessible cliffs, so the palace cannot be surrounded.
If you go at a time with fewer visitors and find yourselves at a forking path, don’t hesitate. Take the one less traveled by. You won’t get lost, but you’ll find yourselves circling around the ruins, thus being offered a different viewpoint of the space.
The highlight of the hill, however, are the waterworks and the cistern. A dark tunnel leads deeper and deeper into the ground and scares away those who have gone in unprepared. If you don’t have a good flashlight (and we don’t mean the flashlight on your cellphone), don’t try it; at some point, you’ll have to get back.
After you climb down the hill and see the museum, that’s when you should visit Agamemnon’s tomb, a bit down the road. It is impossible to realize how impressive the construction is just by looking at the pictures. The stones are enormous, the beehive tomb very tall and we can only imagine how imposing it would be with all its decorations when it was first built.
For all these reasons, Mycenae might as well be the most beautiful archeological site in Greece. When you’re at Porto Heli, try to make the time and visit it.
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