This is the 6th and last post in my Greece series from summer 2016. The trip was a “well done” to our older boys following the end of their GCSEs and A levels. We began in Athens, Explored the Acropolis, headed down the the Peloponnese staying at Kantia where we visited Nafplion and Epidavros before heading right back to the earliest days of Greek civilisation in the Myceanaean era with a trip to Mycenae itself.
Background to Mycenae
The Mycenaean world dominated Greece between the 16th and 12th Century BC. I can’t even get my head around how long ago that is and how life must have been. However the ancient remains of the old city at Mycenae can still be seen today.
What to expect at Mycenae
Visiting on a hot July day I was rather glad of the elevated position to pick up a little breeze and make our sightseeing bearable. Parking like a true Greek under the shade of a tree in the car park, we headed up though the famous city gates with its impressive Lions overhead set into the stone. How back then they constructed and carved such things is quite beyond me; however it is wonderful to saunter through and marvel at the possibilities from this ancient civilisation today.
To be fair, the city gates to Mycenae are the most impressive structure still standing. There after there is much left to the imagination with a selection of crumbling walls, passageways and tombs remaining. There are some helpful reading signs along the way to give you a sense of direction and history. The excavations continue today but life is believed to date back on the hill to the 3rd millennium BC.
The Mycenaean acropolis dominates the surrounding area of the Argive plain and controlled communication routes in and out of the Peloponnese into mainland Greece. The views from the top are quite spectacular reaching right down to the sea near Nafplion.
The flood plain below must have been a source of food for the ancient city and olive and almond trees are still prevalent right up the hillside.
The Lion tomb is still intact with a vast entrance you can walk down to. This was separate from the bulk of the tombs though I failed to establish why.
We finished our trip with a visit to the museum sharing more of the artifacts that had been recovered and replicas of what would have been used. This was beautifully clean and modern thanks to EU funding and well worth a look around.
I was struck by how few tourists were visiting given the size of the car park. The new town below was packed with inviting yet empty looking tavernas and I worried for their business. It rather feels although touring as we did is becoming a thing of the past and that local business is beholden to the larger coach trips choosing to make a stop at their destination.
Tips for visiting Mycenae
Prices were very reasonable to enter at 12 Euros for adults and 6 Euros for children.
I would say this is a trip for a half day only which suited us perfectly.
The entrance fee covers a separate treasury and tombs as a nearby site which we missed out on. As the boys had had enough and were in search of lunch by then.
Fresh water taps to refill bottles are provided so no need to carry too much
There are clean and well kept toilets
Sensible footwear is recommended as they steps are uneven and worn making them slippery in parts.
Be careful following a map or Sat Nav as the Greek translation into English is spelt in several different ways; we found ourselves heading to the wrong place a few times and having to turn around.
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