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Path upto the Lion Gate, Mycenae (28693130016).jpg
The Lion Gate and example of Cyclopean masonry at Mycenae
Mycenae is located in Greece
Shown within Greece
LocationArgolis, Greece
Coordinates37°43′49″N 22°45′27″E / 37.73028°N 22.75750°E / 37.73028; 22.75750Coordinates: 37°43′49″N 22°45′27″E / 37.73028°N 22.75750°E / 37.73028; 22.75750
Founded1350-1200 BC[1]
PeriodsBronze Age
CulturesMycenaean Greece
EventsLate Bronze Age collapse
Site notes
ArchaeologistsFrancesco Grimani
ConditionPartly buried
Official nameArchaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns
Criteriai, ii, iii, iv, vi
Designated1999 (23rd session)
Reference no.941
State PartyGreece
RegionEurope and North America

Mycenae (/mˈsn/ my-SEE-nee;[2] Ancient Greek: Μυκῆναι or Μυκήνη, Mykē̂nai or Mykḗnē) is an archaeological site near Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south-west of Athens; 11 kilometres (7 miles) north of Argos; and 48 kilometres (30 miles) south of Corinth. The site is 19 kilometres (12 miles) inland from the Saronic Gulf and built upon a hill rising 900 feet (274 metres) above sea level.[3]

In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece, Crete, the Cyclades and parts of southwest Anatolia. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.[4]

The first correct identification of Mycenae in modern literature was during a survey conducted by Francesco Grimani, commissioned by the Provveditore Generale of the Kingdom of the Morea in 1700,[5] who used Pausanias's description of the Lion Gate to identify the ruins of Mycenae.[6][7][8]


A view of the citadel.

Although the citadel was built by Greeks, the name Mukanai is thought not to be Greek but rather one of the many pre-Greek place names inherited by the immigrant Greeks.[9][10] Legend has it that the name was connected to the Greek word mykēs (μύκης, "mushroom"). Thus, Pausanias ascribes the name to the legendary founder Perseus, who was said to have named it either after the cap (mykēs) of the sheath of his sword, or after a mushroom he had plucked on the site.[11]

The earliest written form of the name is Mykḗnē (Μυκήνη), which is found in Homer.[12] The reconstructed Mycenaean Greek name of the site is