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Sol Y Mar Belvedere
Sol Y Mar Belvedere Hotel is in a traditional Arabian-Moroccan style right on Montaza Beach, in the resort of Sharm El Sheikh in South Sinai, Egypt. A 5 star Sharm El Sheikh hotel 10km from the airport and 20km from Sharm El Sheikh town centre. ...
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Pestana Angra Beach, Angra dos Reis
Pestana Angra Beach Resort Hotel is in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between the Atlantic Forest and the sea. An oppulant 5 star Angra dos Reis hotel boasting it’s setting in a true paradise of exquisite beaches, forest and wildlife. ...
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Plaza Lafayette Hotel, Paris
Plaza Lafayette Hotel is a superior tourist Paris hotel in a prime spot between the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l'Est in Paris, France, (10th arrondissement). Plaza Lafayette Hotel is also a step away from the department stores and the Opera. ...
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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  Peloponnese  →  ARGOLIDA  →  Mycenae

Mycenae

Mycenae is a pre-historic citadel built on a site that commanded the greater part of the plain, stretching southwards to the sea and the exit from the Pass of Dervenakia.

It is fortified with Cyclopean walls with two gates (the Lion Gate and the North Gate) as well as two small auxiliary exits.

The first walls were built around 1350 B.C. but the citadel itself assumed its presence form around the year 1200 B.C.

A continuous supply of water was ensured by the Perseia Fountain close to the entrance of the acropolis, while the proximity of the fertile plain ensured food supplies.

The site's natural advantages thus enhanced its strategic position and it was inhabited very early in Neolithic times. The period of its greatest power, however, came at the close of the Late Helladic period (1600-1100 BC), which is also known as the Mycenaean period and with which many tales and legends are associated. In 1100 BC Mycene was destroyed by fire.

Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, founded Mycenae and the Perseid dynasty provided many of its rulers. After the last of them, Eurystheus (famous for the labors he imposed on Herakles), the Mycenaeans chose Atreus, son of Pelops and Hippodamia, as their ruler.

But Atreus hated his brother, Thyestes, so much that he offered Thyestes his own children to eat, thereby incurring the wrath of the gods. Thyestes pronounced a fearful curse on Atreus and his progeny; Atreus's heir, the renowned and energetic Agamemnon, was murdered on his return from the Trojan War by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus (Thyestes's surviving son).

Orestes and his sister Electra, the children of Agamemnon, took revenge for this murder, and Orestes became king of Mycenae.

During the rule of his son, Tisamenus, the descendants of Herakles returned and claimed their birthright by force, thus satisfying the wrath of the gods and the curse of Atreus.

In the 17th century BC, Mycenae began an extraordinary growth in wealth and power that was to influence all of the eastern Mediterranean.

At first heavily influenced by that of Minoan Crete, spread throughout Greece, and by 1400 BC Mycenaeans controlled the mainland and the Aegean, including Crete.

Clay tablets inscribed with Mycenaean Greek writing have provided us with information about the society. At its height, it cantered on palaces, from which kings or princes governed feudally, holding sway over various bakers, bronze workers, carpenters, masons, potters, and shepherds.

And there were merchants, priests or priestesses, possibly a military leader, the nobility, and, of course, slaves. Some tablets record commodities (grain, bronze, livestock, wool, and oil) and palace possessions (swords, textiles, furniture, and chariots). The dwellings of the elite were decorated with wall paintings depicting processions of court ladies, hunting scenes, ox hide shields, heraldic griffins, and such religious activities as priestesses bearing stalks of grain.

From their recorded offerings, it seems that the Mycenaeans worshiped familiar classical deities, but the bizarre figurines found in a shrine at Mycenae (now in the Nafplion archaeological museum) - along with models of coiled snakes - are scarcely human, let alone godlike in the style of classical statuary.

One enters the acropolis through the Lion Gate, the oldest example of monumental sculpture in Europe. A secondary entrance, built in the same style, exists in the north side.

Inside the walls, in 1841, excavations started uncovering the parts of the Gate. In 1874 Schliemann began excavations discovering grave circle A with six royal tombs. After 1955 Lord William Taylor completed the excavations discovering the palace complex, courtier's houses, sanctuaries and other important buildings.

The most important buildings are the Granary, which in fact, was the garrison's quarters, the two sanctuaries, Grave Circle A which contains six royal tombs of the 16th century B.C. and the living quarters of the dignitaries and of priests in the lower citadel (House of the Warrior Vase, the Ramp House, the South House and the Tsounta House).

Leaving the Lion Gate behind and descending to the area outside the citadel, a visitor comes across prehistoric remains, the most noticeable being those of tholos tombs called "Treasuries".

Here you find ruins of private houses, Grave circle B with 14 royal tombs, among which nine tholos tombs of the Atridae, the Treasure of Atreus, also known as the Tomb of the Agamemnon, the Tomb of Clytaemnystra, the Tomb of Aegisthus, and 12 tombs of private citizens. There is also the Mycenaean Palace on the crest of the hill, a smaller palace further East, known as the House of the Columns, the House of the Artists and, finally, at the N.E. extension, the Secret Cistern.

Most of the more exceptional finds are on exhibit in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, like frescoes, gold jewellery, the gold mask of Agamemnon.



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