The great castle of Tiryns: The ruins of Tiryns, 21 km away from Nafplio, are undoubtedly one of the more impressive fortresses from the Mycenaean period. The castle is especially important because it is the only one of the three large Mycenaean fortresses that has been well preserved. Created in its current form in the 13th century BC, Tiryns may have been inhabited continuously. The city sent a (small) contingent of soldiers to Plataia to fight against the Persians (in 479 AD) was destroyed by Argos in 468 and converted into a fort in Hellenism, and even a small church was erected by the Byzantines. The currently existing complex, with Cyclopian walls with a total length of more than 700 meters, is originally purely a palace castle, with the actual city on the plain. The more remarkable elements in the reinforcement of Tiryns include the casemates, while the throne room is reached through a court surrounded by columns. Also special is the access through a kind of “driveway”, which is arranged in such a way that one approaches the entrance (via the east gate) with its right side (where you therefore have no shield) exposed to projectiles thrown from the wall. For a reconstruction and a photo in the current state, see bottom left. The walls that Homeros and Pindaros admire have a thickness of 5-11 meters, while the largest stones weigh around 14,000 kilos. made it possible (just like in Mycene) to make it quite difficult for attackers. Whoever wants to go inside through an exit gate has to stoop, while the small width made it impossible to go in with one man at a time. Again just as in Mycenae, Tiryns also had underground (hidden) cisterns, so that the occupation always had enough drink in the event of a siege.

plattegrond Tiryns

Explanation map: 1) the “driveway”, 2) the main entrance, 3) entrance to the acropolis, 4) forecourt, 5) casemates, 6) monumental entrance gate (propylaes), 7) the large court, 8) southern gallery, 9 ) smaller propylon, 10) courtyard with colonnade and altar, 11) megaron, 12) bath, 13) queen’s room, 14) backyard (with studios?), 15-16-17-18) south-west staircase, 20) two underground corridors to cisterns, 21) niches (waiting rooms?), 22) gates to the lower acropolis.



The excavations include a collection of terracotta goddess statuettes from the 12th century BC. (now in museum Nafplio). Of great importance are also the many works of art that have appeared during the excavations, such as the famous signet ring of Tiryns, where a goddess (?) is approached by 4 half-human beings who offer sacrifices.

Especially after the Mycenaean period, Tiryns grew into a center for Hera worship, and as early as the 8th century BC. a temple for Hera is being built on the remains of the Mycenaean palace. Later, all kinds of votive gifts for Hera are buried in a sacrificial pit (bothros), including large ritual clay masks and terracotta shields with painted mythological representations. story from the so-called Aithiopis, an epic from the 7th century BC.

Scattered around the actual castle are several (smaller) tholos-type domed graves, with a dromos (a kind of entrance) and a pointed dome. They are not as extensive as the famous Atreus grave in Mykene, with columns at the entrance and a separate burial chamber.t.