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Mikines



Prefecture of Argolidas







  One of the most important archaeological sites, known in the whole world. It is a symbol of the heroic Greece and they are covered by the magic veil of the myth of the Atreides whose sufferings had been narrated by the ancient dramatists.

            It is in the north-east in most part of the plain in Argolida. Many researchers believe that the word "Mikines" comes from the word "mihos" due to its position ("mihos" means "the in most part"). Some others derive the word "Mikines" from the heroine "Mikini" Kolnahous' daughter. And some other relate it to the word "miki" and they argue that it took the name of the edge of the sword's case of its founder, Perseas ("miki" was called the edge of a sword's case). Some linguists relate it to the place names "Mikalissos" and "Mikali" which are prohellenic.

The Mikinean civilization

            This is the name of the civilization that had been developed having Mikines as its center. This period is divided into the earlier post - Hellenic I (1600 - 1500 BC), the middle post - Hellenic II (1500 - 1400 BC) and into the later post - Hellenic III (1400 - 1100 BC). The Mikinian civilization had affected all the areas in Greece and it had created colonies in Rhodes and Cyprus.

            The Mikineans, who were Greeks, came in contact with the civilization that had been developed in Crete and they were affected by it. Their culture is mainly known by Mikines although their palaces were discovered in Tirintha and in Pilos.

            The archaeological site consists of :

  • The gate with the lions. It is the entrance of the acropolis which constitutes the most ancient representative of monumental sculpture in Europe. It was built on a sound part of the wall at the end of the 13th century BC This wall was called "Ciklopeio" because it was believed that Cyclopes had made it. This myth wanted to explain the enormous size and the construction of the wall. In the acropolis there is a granary and six royal graves discovered by Sliman in 1876. Many interesting findings were found in these graves, such as golden masks, swords, gold jewelry etc. (All these findings are exhibited in the Archaeological museum of Athens). Remains of the foundations of Mikinean houses and of a religious center are also visible.

  • The palace. It was built at the highest point and in various levels. An uphill road leads to it and its entrance, the portico, appears on the north-west side.

The mansion with an arcade, a vestibule and the main building, is situated in the west of a large yard which is decorated with colorful subjects. The signs of the fire that had destroyed the acropolis are evident in some places. Also there are remains of a temple and of various buildings (the artists' workshop, the building of the Columns etc.). An underground tank which was built in the 13th century BC is another interesting sight.

  • Outside the acropolis there is a line of vaulted graves which were called "treasures" by Pafsanias. The most significant of them are the graves of Egisthos and of Klitemnistra. These two small graves are well preserved whereas in their west there were discovered fourteen graves. There are also some remains of private houses.

  • 50m from the acropolis someone can see the most luxurious Mikinean grave; the so called treasure of Atreas or Agamemnon's grave. This vaulted grave consists of a street 36m long and of a big vault which must have been decorated. The facade of the grave was also decorated as we can understand by some parts which are still visible.

-Most of the findings are exhibited in the Archaeological museum of Athens such as the gold mask which Sliman believed that it belonged to Agamemnon, a wall painting that represents a female figure, gold diadems etc. All these are remains of a proud and glorious civilization that yielded magnificent monuments and buildings.

  • The area of Ireo. It was a religious center of goddess Ira. People from all over Greece used to come here in order to worship their goddess. The sanctuary flourished especially in the 5th century BC Its development had lasted until the Roman period.

 

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