The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture.
The Argolis Tour except the visit to Mycenae site includes also Ancient Corinth with the Corinth Canal, Nafplio, the old capital of Greece, with the Palamidi castle and the Theatre of Epidaurus with the unique acoustic.
Root of Tour
Theatre of Epidaurus
Tour duration : about 11 hours
Argolis Additional Information
Mycenae and Tiryns represent the apogee of the Mycenaean civilization, which laid the foundations for the evolution of later European cultures. Moreover, the two sites are indissolubly linked with the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the influence of which upon European literature and the arts has been profound for more than three millennia.
The Mycenaean civilization developed on the Greek mainland in the late Bronze Age (16th century BC). It was essentially a continuation of the Middle Helladic culture, transformed by Minoan influences from Crete. Towards the end of Period II more elaborate tomb types developed
The apogee of the Mycenaean civilization came in Period III (c . 1400-1120 BC), when strong citadels and elaborate palaces were built. Towards the end of this period a script, known as Linear B, came into use; the language used has been shown to be an early form of Greek, confirming that the Mycenaeans were Greek speakers of Indo-European origin.
The political structure was that of an autocratic monarchy, the ruler of which was known as the wanax, who administered his territory by means of a hierarchical structure of officials. There was a special class of priests and priestesses. The people were organized in an elaborate class system, and slavery was widely practised.
The site of Mycenae is known from excavations to have been occupied from the Neolithic period (c . 4000 BC). The Palace was constructed on the summit of the hill and surrounded by massive cyclopean walls in three stages (c . 1350, 1250 and 1225 BC respectively). In the final stage the underground reservoir was also fortified.
A series of tholos tombs were built on the southern and south-western slopes of the hill during the Mycenaean period: the so-called Tomb of Aegisthos (c. 1500 BC), the Lion Tholos Tomb (c. 1350 BC), the Tomb of Clytemnestra (c. 1220 BC), culminating in the Treasury of Atreus, at some distance from the others. Four large buildings, believed to have been royal workshops, were built in the 13th century BC in the vicinity of Grave Circle B.
The palace was abandoned at the end of the 12th century BC and a number of buildings were damaged by fire. However, the site continued to be occupied until 498 BC, when it was conquered by Argos and its inhabitants were expelled. The top of the hill was levelled at this time for the construction of an Archaic temple.
As at Mycenae, the earliest human occupation known at Tiryns is from the Neolithic period. The oldest architectural remains, on the Upper Citadel, are from the early Bronze Age (c. 3000 B.C.).The level of this area was built up in the middle Bronze Age (1900-1600 BC) to accommodate new buildings. Tiryns flourished during the Mycenaean period. A new fortified palace complex was constructed in the 14th century B.C.
The defences were extended in the early 13th century BC, and the Lower Citadel was also fortified. Following earthquake and fire damage, the site was reconstructed, the new defences enclosing an area of 20 ha; the extra-mural settlement covered more than 25 ha. The fate of Tiryns with the decline of the Mycenaean civilization paralleled that of Mycenae. It was not finally abandoned until the deportation of the 5th century BC, by which time it had lost its power and influence.
Ancient Corinth was one of the major cities of antiquity. It was been build up to three parts; the Hill of Acropolis (Acrocorinth), the city itself on a lower position and the port (Lechaion) on the coast side. All these three part were protected by a wall which the length was 20 km (over 12 miles).Until the 1800’s the city was all covered by development, only the Temple of Apollo was visible. The earthquake of 1858 destroyed nearly all the town, and excavations began in 1896 by the Americans.
Ancient Corinth was a very busy and trading city. It was known as “Wealthy Corinth”. The reason was its location on the map. It was able to control the only land access to the Peloponnese so it dominated the trade in both the Saronic gulf (to the east) and the gulf of Corinth (to the west).
Because of its wealth, Ancient Corinth became a city of luxury. Even in classical times it was known as place of rather loose morals. It was known for its courtesans, who at one stage were thought to number more than a thousand. The priestesses indulged in sacred prostitution at the Temple of Aphrodite. One of the priestesses is mentioned by the Roman historian Pausanias
Corinth was also the home of the philosopher Diogenes (the Cynic) who lived in a barrel. He was the one who was being visited by Alexander the Great. When he met Diogenes he asked him if he wanted anything.”Yes”, replied Diogenes. “Could you move. You’re keeping the sun off me”.
The city was protected by the fortress on Acrocorinth, which overlooked the main city area, Trade and civic activities took place in the Agora, which by its situation and layout gives visitors a real sense of the scale of Ancient Greek Agoras. The remains of the Temple of Apollo is regarded as one of the best examples of early Doric temple building anywhere in the Greek world.
The Peirene Fountain originally dates from the 6C BC. The structure has been added several times. You’ll find the original Greek part at the back (on the south side). There are six stone arches and a series of underground reservoirs.The Romans were very keen on fountains and running water, so they made a number of additions to the fountain. They added the colonnade in front of the arches, and a rectangular basin and three niches. Most of this was done in the 2C AD by Herodes Atticus.
Corinth was famous for its pottery, and you can see a comprehensive collection of Corinthian pottery showing all stages of development. Later, Athenian pottery took over as the main type in use.Corinth was famous for its pottery, and you can see a comprehensive collection of Corinthian pottery showing all stages of development. Later, Athenian pottery took over as the main type in use.
About the Archaeological museum it has a very good display of art and culture from Neolithic times through to the Byzantine period. Because it contains artifacts recovered from excavations of the site, many of them are Roman. There is a very interesting floor mosaic showing the head of Dionysis as well.
Nafplio is one the most beautiful cities (if not the most!) in Greece. The area around the historic town used to be a bustling port in the Neolithic period. The reason why this place was deserted during the Classical period is not known and Pausanias the geographer cannot give any explanation about the incidents of that time.
The city took its name by Nafplios, who was the son of Poseidon and was also famous as the birthplace of Palamidis, the local hero of the Trojan War. He had invented weights and measures, built lighthouses along the bay, invented the Greek alphabet and was the father of Sophists, a philosophical current in ancient Greece.
In the 6th century BC, the city of Nafplion was captured by Damokratis, the king of Argos. The next centuries were no active for the history of Nafplion, as it was overshadowed by the neighboring Argos.
In the Medieval Times, Nafplion was occupied by the Venetians, who made it an important naval spot in the Peloponnese. The Venetians constructed the impressive castle Palamidi Fortress above the town to protect it from enemies and also built a castle in Bourtzi, a small islet at the entrance of the port.
In the 16th century and after many sieges, the town was conquered by the Ottomans. Nafplion was one of the first towns to become free when the Greek Revolution War started in 1821. It became the base of the Greek government until the end of the war and many Greek heroes and warriors moved to Nafplion, heroes like Theodoros Kolokotronis, Manto Mavrogenous and Dimitrios Ipsilantis.
After the end of the war, the port of Nafplion was the place where the first governor of the Greek State arrived, Ioannis Kapodistrias, making the town the first capital of Greece. At that time many public buildings were constructed, including the residence of the governor, also known as palataki. It was also in the church of Agios Spyridon in the Old Town of Nafplion that Kapodistrias was assassinated by his political opponents in September 27th, 1831.
The Theatre of Epidaurus is world famous for its excellent condition and flawless acoustics. In spite of that it was also once a huge religious centre dedicated to Asklepios, the god of healing. Located east of Nafplio, it was in use from the 6th century BC to the 2nd AD. The Theatre of Epidaurus is a must visit site for anyone who is interested in ancient history of Greece.
The Theatre of Epidaurus was built in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger. The theatre became over grown and buried, believed to be just a hollow in the side of a hill until it was discovered in the 19th century.
The Theatre is 114m across and has 35 rows of seats divided into 34 blocks by stairs and walkways. The bottom tier of 12 blocks was the original theatre built in the 4th century BC, the top tier of 21 blocks was built much later during the Roman period.
The orchestra or stage is 20m and the only one to survive from antiquity. It is really amazing that if you drop a pin in the centre of the orchestra or stage you can hear it hit the ground from any where in the theatre. The theatre is still in use today with actors coming from all around the world to perform there.
The Sanctuary of Asklepios was used as a therapeutic and religious centre. Although there are lots of buildings in the complex the main one is the Tholos (also built by Polykleitos), the passages are thought to have been used as a pit for sacred serpents. Patients slept in the Enkoimitiria (a hall) near the Tholos where they would wait a dianostic dream or a visit from a serpent.
There is also a natural mineral spring near (next to the museum) which was also used for healing. East of the Tholos was the Temple of Asklepios, only the foundations survive today.
Argolis Tour Map
Visit Nafplio for the impressive castle and have lunch
A theatre in Greece with the unique acoustic
Ancient Corinth : 6€ for the site and Archaeological Museum
Mycenae : 8€ for the Archaeological site, Museum and the Treasure of Atreus
Theatre of Epidaurus : 4€
(The above prices are per person. Local box office provides your tickets to buy)
Your clothes must be comfortable, not heavy, carrying with you just in case a light jacket. Shoes must be flat-soled (like sport shoes). Sun glasses, a hat and a small bottle of fresh cold water (provided by the company) are also recommended.
All sites included to Argolis Tour are open :
Winter period : 08:30 – 17:00 from 1 November to 31 March
Summer period : 08:00 – 19:30 from 1 April to 31 October
Free admission days
6 March – in memory of Melina Mercouri
18 April – International Day for Monuments
18 May – International Museum Day
5 June – World Environment Day
The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
27 September – World Tourism Day
Every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st
28 October – National Greek Holiday
25 December (Christmas)
We accept euro and at the end of the tour we provide a receipt with the total amount which includes the payment of the English speaking driver, taxes, tolls and fuel.
Lunch and entrance tickets at sites and museums are not included.
Please keep in mind that our driver is not a tour guide so he is not licensed to accompany you inside the sites. If you want a licensed guide you will have to hire one at extra cost.
For further information please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail. The respond will be as soon as possible.