Ancient Tiryns is situated just outside of Nafplion in the direction of Argos about 5 minutes from Leto Nuevo Hotel by car. Although it is hard to miss, as it is visible from the main road, it is often overlooked by visitors to the area and tour groups. The site itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the palatial ruins and cyclopean walls are extrelemely well preserved. Inhabited since the Neolithic Age (7th - 4th millennium BC) Tiryns, or Tiryntha as it is also known, reached its peak in the 15th - 12th centuries BC as one of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean culture. It was then just one kilometre from the coast and as such an important Bronze Age port. Homer reminds of Tiryns in his books the Odyssey and the Iliad where he refers to it as "walled Tiryns".
The famous walls of Tiryns that fortify the palace were called Cyclopean by the Ancient Greeks as they believed that only the Cyclops could have placed them there. Boulders were used to construct the walls which range from 7 - 10m wide and are up to 7.5 metres in height with an original height of over 9m. The weight of some of the stones is estimated at 200 tons each! Each stone was of a unique shape and was placed within one tenth of a millimitre to the adjacent stones without mortar!! It was also at Tiryns that Hercules served King Eurystheus, performing his famous twelve labours.
The acropolis of Tiryns is a great example of Mycenaean palatial architecture and fortification anmd teh citadel was built in three stages. Among the royal rooms in the Megaron a bathroom was evident with holes in the floor denoting one of the first drainage systems and there are tunnels below the citadel leading to underground water sources.
Things to See
- Cyclopean walls
- Main gate
- Underground tunnels
- Fabulous views