When planning a trip to Greece, be sure to take a few days to travel to Mykonos. This ancient city is not without reason called the cradle of Hellas. It is thoroughly permeated with the spirit of ancient heroes who perform deeds in the name of the gods of Olympus, and an unprecedented luxury, which could envy all the kingdoms of the world.
Myths about the appearance of Mycenae
The birth of Mycenae goes back far into history. Archaeologists believe that the city was formed in the sixteenth century BC. Located in the west of the Peloponnese peninsula, it became the most influential city of ancient Greece and laid the foundation for an entire era called the Mycenaean era.
Greek legends say that the city was founded by the great hero Perseus, the son of Zeus, using the help of giants and cyclops. Indeed, the city itself, the palace and fortress walls were built of huge stone blocks perfectly fitted to each other without the use of mortar. Some lumps have a weight of about one hundred tons, and the walls themselves rise to a height of thirteen meters. A similar way of building the walls was called "cyclopean masonry." Most of the facilities in Mycenae are built in this technique. It is difficult to guess how these blocks moved during construction.
The founders of Mycenae
Historians believe that the founders of the city can be considered ancient Achaeans, whose main activity was military campaigns to nearby states. Homer in his famous poems glorified Mycenae and his militant founders. Strategically Mycenae was very conveniently located - the city, surrounded by well-fortified walls, was located on top of a hill. Stretching around the plain deprived the enemies of the opportunity to quietly get close to the city. Gradually, he creped and blossomed.
The history of Mycenae: flowering
The Mycenaeans carefully guarded the approaches to their city, and by the thirteenth century BC they had extended their influence to the entire peninsula. Citizens actively engaged in trade and developed their city. Mycenaean culture replaced the Minoan civilization, which was virtually destroyed after the eruption of the volcano Santorini. Mycenaeans settled the island of Crete, archaeologists found evidence of their culture in the ruins of the Minos Palace. Several centuries of the reign of Mycenae left a huge imprint on the whole history of Ancient Greece.
According to the myths, Agamemnon, King Mycenae from this city set out on a long march to Troy. The fall of Troy was a gift to the great king from the gods for the fulfilled promise to sacrifice his own daughter Iphigenia. A few days after the enchanting return to Mycenaeus, the king was killed by his own wife, Clitemestra, distraught after her daughter's death. Until now, in Greece, her name means "homicide".
In its heyday the Mycenaeans built many cities and decorated their city with majestic structures, such as the royal palace, for example. The difference between poor and wealthy townspeople was very significant. Mycenaeans severely divided society into classes, granting the privileges of traders and military leaders.
The fall of Mycenae
Several centuries of power of Mycenaean civilization ended after the invasion of the Peloponnese in one thousand two hundred and two hundred BC before the warlike tribes of the Dorians. They destroyed most of the major cities of the peninsula, including Mycenae. Under their onslaught fell and Troy, who did not have time to recover after the triumphant victory of Agamemnon. The inhabitants of Mycenee were still trying to revive the city, but gradually left Peleponnes to Asia and the islands. For many centuries Mycenae were consigned to oblivion.
The discovery of Mycenae: excavations of Heinrich Schliemann
His new birth Mycenaeans are due to the famous Henry Schliemann. A persistent archeologist, fascinated by the search for the legendary Troy, quite unexpectedly stumbled upon one of the cemeteries in the vicinity of Mycenae, which stunned the archaeologist with unprecedented wealth. Ornaments, pieces of military armor, figurines and household items - all this was made of gold. From several burial grounds Schliemann managed to raise more than thirty kilograms of precious metal items. Of particular value to archaeologists is the gold mammalian mask found. Initially, scientists attributed it to the period of the legendary King Agamemnon, but after a long study dated it to the sixteenth century BC. The treasures found on the territory of the city were the most significant archaeological find of the late nineteenth century. Mycenae represent all that the Ancient Greece gave the world . The sights of this majestic and mysterious city amaze the tourist's imagination with the power of the palace walls, unique in its kind royal burials and barbaric luxury of artifacts found.
Excavations in Mycenae lasted for many years, revealing to the world the new treasures of this amazing city. Each discovery proved that Mycenae had such a powerful influence on the Peloponnese, which Ancient Greece had never experienced before. Mykene's attractions are now a huge complex with the ruins of the royal palace, burial grounds and fortress walls. Walk on this archaeological site for hours. A special place among the archaeological finds is occupied by the Lion Gate and mine tombs in Mycenae. On their origin, scientists could not come to a common opinion to this day. Excursion tour to Mycenae can be bought directly in Athens. Two hours spent on the road, a very small fee for the stunning spectacle, which will appear before the eyes of the tourist.
Lion Gate in Mycenae: description
To enter the well-fortified city fortress, it was necessary to pass through the Lion's Gate. They themselves are composed of four monolithic blocks, each weighing about twenty tons. Archaeologists believe that these blocks are carved from stone rocks amygdalite. Blocks are carefully processed and adjusted to each other. After years of study, archaeologists have discovered that the blocks were treated with a tool similar to a disk saw. The jagged stones are clearly visible until now. This is one of the first riddles provided to scientists and historians of the Lion Gate in Mycenae. The type of construction of the gate is identical with the fortress wall - monolithic masonry. According to scientists, the bas-relief of lions was installed above the gates much later than the construction of the fortress wall. The date of its foundation is dated to about the thirteenth century BC. Lions are a very common heraldic symbol of Europe. Many royal dynasties were proud of their image on their arms.
The bas-relief is made of three blocks and depicts two powerful animals standing on their hind legs, leaning on a column. The blocks are carved from solid limestone. Unfortunately, the heads of the animals are not preserved, but archaeologists claim that they were cast from gold and turned on the incoming people. According to some assumptions, the lions were the symbol of one of the ruling dynasties of Mycenae. According to another version, this monumental bas-relief was dedicated to the patroness of the whole animal kingdom - the goddess of Potnia. Many historians see the similarity of the bas-relief with the ancient Celtic motifs. In their culture, lions occupied a special place, but to this day scientists have not unraveled the meaning of the majestic image.
Myths about the origin of the Lion Gate
The Lion Gate in Mycenae is a unique structure, similar to which was not erected during the entire period of the heyday of the Mycenaean culture. The manner of construction and carefully crafted bas-relief with the image of a column in Cretan style made scientists remember the most ancient Hellenic myths.
Myths say that the Hellenes were the descendants of the powerful gods of the Atlanteans who came to the land of Ancient Greece from their lost land. Indeed, many stone structures, which archeologists attribute to the period of the Cretan-Minoan civilization and came to replace it Mycenaean, leave a lot of questions. How could huge stone blocks be extracted and delivered to the construction site? Why do some of them have traces of processing tools similar to modern ones? Why is the bas-relief of the gate so closely intertwined with images in other cultures? No answers were found to any of the questions.
The Mystery of the Lion Gate
If we consider that the Lion Gate in Mycenae was erected as a defensive structure, then another mystery of this mysterious place appears before the scientists - all the treasures that Schliemann had found in his time were in the burial grounds located actually under the base of the gate. In the same place, the famous archaeologist managed to find the tomb of Agamemnon himself, to the top filled with gold and silver artifacts. Neither earlier nor in the later period did the Greeks make such burials.
Archaeologists believe that access to the citadel through the Lion Gate was not available to everyone. This is evidenced by the road leading to the gate - along it are the famous mine tombs, which have become sacred for the Mykene. An outsider could not be admitted to a cult place. This revealed fact emphasizes the special importance of the Lion Gate as a cult building of the heyday of the Mycenaean culture.
Why did the Mycenaeans make such graves? And why set their treasures at the entrance to the city? A scientific hypothesis has not yet put forth a fitting hypothesis. The Lion Gate in Mycenae carefully protects the secrets of its creators
The Royal Palace
Tourists who buy a sightseeing tour to Mycenae can see other historical monuments of this once rich city. Directly from the Lion Gate, the road led to the royal palace. The ruins of this building even now delight tourists. In the center of the building was a huge rectangular hall with a fireplace - megaron. The hearth was carefully decorated and decorated with ornate drawings, along four corners of the hearth stood the massive columns that propped the vault. The walls of the main hall were decorated with paintings in the Cretan style. Homer called this hall "shining" in his poems. It should be noted that the Minoans were magnificent engineers and architects. The entire structure was built in different levels, connected by a string of corridors and halls. Under the palace was a system of communications and water supply of the city. Many buildings within Mycenae were built in two or three floors, which speaks not only of the financial well-being of the townspeople, but also of the art of builders.
In the palace itself was supposedly located an ancient sanctuary. Archaeologists have found several sculptures of goddesses and children. To whom the Mykene worshiped, scientists know absolutely nothing. Just as their funeral rites are not known and understood by historians.
Mine tombs are no less unique than the Lion Gate in Mycenae. Two funerary circles, turned into a later period in the sanctuary, were the resting place of the noble Mykene. Scientists still can not explain why the citizens buried their loved ones sitting in narrow shaft-like cemeteries. This phenomenon is in no way connected with all the earlier known rites of the Hellenes. Each burial ground was filled with decorations and objects of everyday life. It should be noted that all items were of precious metals. Occasionally came across bronze ware. After finding Schliemann mine tombs Mykonos began to be called "golden-haired."
Monumental lion's gates, luxurious gold jewelry and household utensils, myths, legends and riddles - all this was presented to the world by the "golden-haired" Mycenae. Greece is able to spell any tourist who will necessarily want to once again touch her permeated with millennia of history.