Greece - History
The Mycenaean Architecture18-02-2013 13:48The Mycenaean Palaces mirrored the wealth and the political superiority of Mycenaeans. The Palace of Mycenae was the most spectacular built in the Bronze Age, although there are also ruins of nearby palaces like Tiryns. The Mycenaean architecture is directly influenced by the precedent Minoan civilization but bears lots of differences probably because of the cooler climate of Peloponnese.
The most impressive feature of the Palace of Mycenae is the fortified walls around it, a characteristic that is totally absent in the Minoan world. The walls are constructed of megalithic blocks sometimes weighing as much as a hundred tons that are simply joined to one another without mortar and were usually called the Cyclopean Walls, as it was believed that the Cyclops, one-eyed giants, had built them.
The impressive fortification has also an equally impressive entrance, the Gate of the Lions which was built around 1250 BC and is still the main entrance of the archaeological site of Mycenae. The large Lion Gate of Mycenae was constructed above the gate to support the weight of the stones and consists of an upright pillar, flanked by a pair of guardian lionesses.
Apart from the megalithic walls, the Mycenaeans built in the same way their buildings and tombs. The Tholos, as it is known the structure of the tombs can be seen in nine shaft tombs in which were found many burial ornaments, small statues of ivory, cups of gold and weapons bejeweled with golden leaves and carved figures showing men in battle. In 1876 Heinrich Schliemann started a complete excavation found the ancient shaft graves with their royal skeletons and spectacular grave goods like a gold death mask on a skull which Schliemann believed to be the King Agamemnon. The golden treasury is now exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
The largest of the nine tombs is the Treasury of Atreus and next to it are the Tomb of Clytemnestra and the Tomb of the Genii. Segments of the richly decorated columns of the entrance to the Treasury of Atreus have been removed by Lord Elgin and are now exhibited in the British Museum.
The Minoan influence to the Mycenaean palaces is evident in frescoes that decorated the walls. The Mycenaean Palaces though lacked a significant Minoan feature, the open central court, perhaps because the Mycenaeans had a cooler climate. Mycenae had also water supply from an impressive cistern with steps leading twelve meters underground.
Although the Mycenaeans’ practices in art, architecture and religion survived long enough to be praised in Homer’s poems, there is no firm evidence that the Mycenaean civilization contributed to the growth of literature and philosophy. The warlike Mycenaeans left no written evidence of their culture. According to the findings archaeology has brought to light, the Mycenaean civilization thrived in 1300 – 1100 BC and the Dorian invasions were one of the many factors that led to decline.
Explore the fascinating volcanic island of Santorini the way you want it yourself! Enjoy a unique accommodation experience, with huge doses of privacy and luxury by choosing to stay in Incognito Villa.
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Touristorama has been travelling all around Greece and its islands for over a decade. This year, during our trip to Naxos, the biggest of the Cyclades complex, we discovered an interesting spot, perfect for your night out on the island… which is what we do best: finding the best places and then propose you should visit them! Prime is a Scandinavian Bar, located on a privileged position in Chora of Naxos, opposite the port. It’s been operating for 21 years and enjoys a great fame to both foreign and local tourists.
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The statue of Poseidon, made of Parian marble, was found in 1877 on Milos island, along with a statue of his mate, Amphitrite. The larger than life-size statue depicts the god almost nude, wearing a himation...
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