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High above the plain, the imposing acropolis of Mycenar (Mikines) was the richest and most sovereign power of its day. Agamemnon marched from here to lead the Greeks to victory against troy. The citadel was built between 1350 BC and 12 BC.
The ramparts of massive, rough-hewn blocks are known as the Cyclopean walls, since the ancient Greeks could not conceive of anyone but the gods’ one-eyed giants being able to move them into place. Within them the Mycenaean kings heaped the gold, jewels and rich spoils from their extended wars.
The entrance to the fortress is through to the fortress is through the awesome Lion Gate, the earliest known monumental sculpture in Europe. The heads of the beasts were never found, but it is thought they were made of gold.
Inside the gate, to the right, is Grave Circle A, excavated by Schliemann in 1876. In the six royal shafts graves (family mausoleums enclosed in the circular stone parapet) he discovered 19 skeletons and 14kg (30lb) of gold.
The treasures are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
You can climb up the rocky slope to explore the palace and throne room. Outside the fortress and below the Lion Gate near Grave Circle B, are two of the monumental Beehive tombs – tall, vaulted burial chambers which were dug into the hillside.
Due to the amplified acoustics, even lightest footsteps sound like a marching army.
Further down the road is the greatest of the beehive tombs, measuring 13.4m (44ft) high and 14.6m (48ft) in diameter, which is known as the Treasury of Atreus.
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It is said that the Roman Emperor Nero was the first person to attempt to realize the ancient dream of connecting the Saronic and Corinthain gulfs.
He started the digging in AD 67 when he ceremoniously dug out the first pile of earth with a golden shovel. In those days, the ships were winched and dragged across the narrow isthmus – a system preferred to the perilous journey around the storm-lashed southern cape of the Peloponnesian peninsula.
It was only in 1882, however, that digging started in earnest, and eleven years later, the gulfs were linked by the Corinth Canal. Almost 6.5km (4miles) long but only 25m (82ft) wide and 8m 26ft) deep. Only one ship can pass through at a time.
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