The Lion Gate Mycenae: 1 Extraordinary Ruin of Ancient Greece

The Lion Gate Mycenae – Not far from the Treasury of Atreus or Agamemnon’s Tomb, we find the ancient city of Mycenae. A very particular door guaranteed the entrance to the city: The Lion Gate Mycenae.

To access the archaeological site of the city of Mycenae, the same ticket that you used if you visited the Tomb of Agamemnon just before is valid. For this reason, before buying a new ticket, check the validity of the ticket you already have with the archaeological site ticket office.

Once we enter the archaeological site, we walk along the main road and then enter the city walls. A very particular gate guaranteed the entrance to the city: the Porta dei Leoni.

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The Lion Gate Mycenae: Video

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The Lion Gate Mycenae: 1 Extraordinary Ruin of Ancient Greece

The Lion Gate Mycenae: description

The Lion Gate Mycenae is characterized by a central slab supported by two lateral ones. Rectangular stone rocks are placed one above the other except for the suspended central slab. A pure aesthetic factor?

The Lion Gate Mycenae Ancient Greece (2)
The Lion Gate Mycenae: 1 Extraordinary Ruin of Ancient Greece

The heavy stone rocks were not placed on the central slab in order not to weigh them down. There was the risk that otherwise, it could be broken. For this reason, it was left empty. A decorative plate was placed in order not to leave it empty and to complete the work.

Why is it called Lion Gate?

The Lion Gate Mycenae takes its name from the decorative plate on top of the door. It is called the Lion Gate, but it would be more correct to call it the lionesses Gate. The lions on the slab lack the characteristic mane of the lions.

The decorative slab is now partially ruined by time, but the 2 lionesses must have originally had their heads turned toward those who entered.

The monumental entrance effect the door gives is accentuated by the climb that must be covered to reach and cross it.

The citadel of Mycenae is placed on a hill, and to reach the Lion Gate, you have to go up the road that crosses it.

Tomb of the Lions

A curiosity is that there is the Lion Gate and the Tomb of the Lions. This tomb is a tholos or ‘beehive’ tomb, and its name is due to its location near the Lion Gate.

Based on its shape and construction, it is dated to the early 15th century BC The long dromos (passage) is reset on both sides by rusticated poros blocks. Four monoliths cover its entrance, in the external one, there are two holes, the first explicit evidence of the existence of a door in these monuments. The tholos did not survive but were estimated to have been around 15 meters high.

Fortifications of the Acropolis

Mycenae, Tiryns, Midea, Athens, and Gla have walls exceeding 12 m in height and 7 m in width with monumental gates and cantilever passages for underground water supplies.

The Lion Gate is part of the fortification wall of the Acropolis. The fortification wall of the Mycenaean Acropolis follows the natural profile of the terrain and is founded directly on the rocky outcropping substrate. It has the shape of a triangle and covers an area of ​​30,000 m2. with a total length of 900 m.

It was built in three construction phases. The oldest fortification, dating back to 1350 BC (LH WA2), contained the highest part of the hill. Hard limestone boulders were used for the construction of these walls.

Around 1250 BC (LH IB2), the Lion Gate, the North Gate, and the west extension were built during the second phase. The main masonry material at this stage consisted of ashlar conglomerate blocks.

Once we have passed the monumental Lion Gate, we are already in a relatively elevated position and begin to enter the archaeological site of Mycenae.

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