According to the Greek mythology Mycenae was founded by the mythical hero Perseus. The legends say that one of the Mycenaean rulers was Agamemnon - the king of all Greeks and the leader of the Greek expedition against Troy. In Homer`s Iliad the city is described as strong citadel and also as "golden Mycenae".
Mycenae is the home of the Mycenaean civilization which superseded the Cycladic and Minoan civilizations. The city served as the seat of the king and is located 15 km away from the sea. It occupies strong natural fortified position and is surrounded by 1100 meters huge walls. The walls are made of enormous stones, some weighting up to 20 tons and believed to be built by mythical one-eyed giants. Wide stone paved roads pass through the once flourishing city and lead to burial grounds, large conical tombs, palace complexes and building of different types. At the height of the Mycenaean civilization (around 14 century B.C.) the city is believed to be commercial, political and religious hub. The king`s treasury was full of valuable goods like pottery, ivory, bronze and gold, some of which are preserved and can be seen in museums.
After the 13th century B.C. the city and the Mycenaean civilization slowly faded out and disappeared without specific reason. The scholars still debate about the exact reason for extinction - natural disaster, foreign invasion or even social and cultural fallout.
Mycenae has been researched by archaeologists since 1841 but still holds many secrets. Visitors will see The Lions Gate, cyclopean walls, ancient grave sites, tholoi tombs (beehive tombs), palace and city ruins. There is a large museum on site which exhibits collections of fine pottery, weapons, art and precious metal objects. Many valuable and famous artifacts like the Mask of Agamemnon, the Cup of Nestor, the Silver Siege Rhyton are spread through out museums around the world.