July-ving and thriving Day 25: Mycenae in Greece in 1968 :)

My mum found her Great-Grandmas travel diaries a while ago and I have been typing them up for her to read and thought I would put them on here as well 🙂 If you want a little bit more background to read part one it can be found here 🙂

Mycenae

The entrance to the town is through the lion gate; above its massive lintel is a  triangle of limestone, carved into the “oldest piece of monumental sculpture in Europe”. 2 lions headless now, rear up, flanking a pillar , said to have had religious significance and what their forefeet rest on, is described as an altar, the great lintel of stone is 15 ft long and 6 ft thick. Just inside the gate is the cave in which the guard dog was housed. There are the marks where the chariot wheels wore groves in the stone streets and in the stone door posts are the holes made for the hinges. Before the gate are the stone lined shapes of a grave circle of a circular burial ground of kings and queens, copied from the Egyptians, who brought the custom with them when they came to help Mycenae repel invaders. In 6 graves of this royal cemetery, in 16 B.C, were found the skeletons of 12 men and 5 women and 2 children, all wrapped in gold leaf; also found in the graves were about 400 thin gold discs, with raised designs, and pierced for sewing on the garments, beautifully inlaid daggers and short swords, gold cups, alabaster vases, gold face masks, 3 of which were still covering the faces. The famous gold mask of Agamemnon was found here. Further away is The Tower of Agamemnon, a great beehive chamber, now called the treasury of Athens. No trace of the king or his treasure was found in it, it had been rifled in the past. A high walled passage leads to a slightly tapered doorway of which the weight of the lintel is 120 tonnes, above the door is an open triangle, placed to take the weight of the lintel. In old times, 2 green pillars were at the entrance, they have been removed but the holes are there to show where they were fixed; in the door posts are the holes for the hinges too. Inside the tomb, the round walls of smooth stone curve up to a peach dome, 40 ft high, reminiscent of a beehive. A door hole in the wall leads to a rock-hewn room, the main burial chamber; other graves were under the rock floor outside, all had been rifled. The acoustics of this beehive tomb are remarkable, also the echo. Agamemnon went to war; while he was away, his wife, clytemnstra , fell in love with another, so when Agamemnon returned from the war, he was murdered on a hill, is the ruined Palace of Perseus, built in this spot as there was water; at the foot of the hill are underground reservoirs, still with water, and cisterns; to reach them, 111 steps go downwards into the base of the hill. In front of the palace is a shallow circular grave site, hardly discernible now, but the shape is quite distinct.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Mycenae or anywhere in Greece 🙂

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