Approaching Mycenae, foundations of a Bronze Age bridge lie in the valley (right). Soon shaft graves can be seen cut into the rock (left). Before the main car park, is a parking area (left) for the so-called Treasury of Atreus , a magnificent tholos tomb, unusually containing a small side chamber.
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From the main site entrance, the path leads to the Lion Gate. Next, right of the well-paved road, is Grave Circle A (no access), where Schliemann discovered many gold masks and grave-goods. A path leads upwards to the palace with its megaron (no access), approached through a series of antechambers. The view down the valley towards Argos is sublime. Higher up are living quarters, including bathing facilities, and the foundations of a temple. Near the further of two postern gates (through which Orestes was supposedly smuggled to safety) is an impressive well-house or cistern, with stone-cut steps leading deep below ground. Visitors should exercise extreme caution and not attempt descent alone, without good footwear and a torch.
Outside the walls, are further tholos tombs, remains of a Hellenistic theatre and foundations of houses. Other tholos tombs lie on the far side of the hill (behind the car park), on which stands the chapel of the Panagia, the view from which is well worth the short detour.
Most of the finds from Mycenae are in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, but Mycenae’s own museum, situated near the Lion Tomb contains an impressive selection of grave-goods and frescoes, as well as replicas and a model of the site.
Travellers wishing to immerse themselves more fully in Mycenae’s past can stay at the Hotel La Belle Helene, Schliemann’s ‘dig house’ (now run by Agamemnon Dasis), the temporary home to many archaeologists and writers (including Agatha Christie and Virginia Woolf), psychologists (including Carl Jung) and composers (including Claude Debussy). They can even sleep in Schliemann’s bed.