The bare hill with the remains of Mycenae, the mighty citadel of Agamemnon, rises only 4 km off the main road which leads from Corinth to Argos, at the 41st kilometer. Mycenae was a fortified royal residence, surrounded by huge Cyclopean walls. According to archaeological evidence, it seems to have been inhabited since 3000 B.C.
The people lived in small open townships in the plain below the two hills. Mycenae flourished in the 14th century B.C. Entrance to its Acropolis Is through the famous Lions Gate, which symbolizes the power of the kings of Mycenae – “a city rich in gold” according to Homer.
Beyond the Lions Gate is the stairway leading to the Palace. At the top of the hill can be seen the floors of the Palace. To the right of the entrance are the six shaft graves which comprise the Royal cemetery. Within the walls of the Palace are also several houses, storerooms, and cisterns. Outside the walls are the beehive tombs, the largest of which is the so-called “Treasury of Atreus”. Most of the remarkable and priceless gold and ivory finds from Mycenae are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum In Athens.
About 6 km from Mycenae has situated in the town of Argos. It was – together with Thebes – the most powerful city-state in Ancient Greece before the rise of Corinth.
Argos has a few ancient remains and a museum with exhibits of great interest. It is today known as the commercial and agricultural center of Argolis.
The ruins of prehistoric Tiryns are situated at a distance of 8 km on the road from Argos to Nafplion. It has massive Cyclopean walls encircling the palace, a secret stairway, underground cisterns, tunnels, and chambers.
From Tiryns, a straight road leads to Nafplion, flanked on either side by vast orange and lemon groves that fill the air with their fragrance.
Nafplion is really two places in one — a modern seaside resort, and the old town which once served as a Frankish-Venetian bulwark with its fortress dominating the area from the summit of Palamidi. Nafplion, the capital of Modern Greece before Athens, has an original charm which makes it a very popular town throughout the year. In summer
it teems with tourists strolling along the picturesque narrow streets or sitting at cafes on the seafront. The tiny fortress in the middle of the bay is called Bourdzi.
Epidavros ( Epidaurus ) lies in an idyllic landscape, at a distance of 30 km from Nafplion. The 6th century B.C. Sanctuary of Asklepios, God of medicine, was a healing center for pilgrims from all parts of Greece. Prescriptions of medical cures are recorded on inscriptions found in the sanctuary and can now be seen in the small museum. The ancient Theatre of Epidavros is a marvel of harmony and acoustics. It was built in the 4th century B.C. by Polycleitus the Younger and is the best-preserved ancient theater in Greece. It holds about 14,000 spectators.
The Epidavria Festival of today is a revival of the ancient festival which took place every year in honor of Asklepios, with musical and theatrical performances.