Megaliths in Western Europe:

The cyclopean Tiryns

When I entered in Argolide, a plain of 17 to 18 km surrounded by solids hills in Peloponnese in Greece, by one summer evening , at the end of August, almost in the twilight, I felt like an Achean heading to a virgin land conquest! The sky blazed and a thin fog raised from the fields, a sea breeze came from the nearby coast which refreshed all, making forget the shingling heat of the day. At a bend of the path ruins of an acropolis : Tiryns appearing in majesty, cutting out on the sky, imposing and solid.


La citadelle


Tiryns " with the beautiful walls ", like its neighbors Mycènes and Argos, known by tradition and archeological excavations, is related to the majority of the legends. The excavations clarify the legend and thus the presence of a Neolithic establishment going up to the IIIrd millenium before our era is certain. The old Greeks believed that its walls had been raised by Protée which had made very special masons coming from Lycie : The Cyclops ! It is thought that the first acropolis was completed in the medium of the IInd millenium before our era.

Rampe d'accès

The access

to the citadel was done by a ramp which led to a single gate.

***Galleries in the walls of Tirynthe ***

Galerie Galerie Galerie

There are galleries  inside the thick walls whose openings look outside and let suppose

that they had a defensive goal.

They are made upof large blocks of dry stones which converge and draw a vault.

escalier au sein des murailles murailles:vue d'ensemble Sortie vers le puits
Within the walls still hides a staircase which leads out from a bastion at the node of

the acropolis to a gate at the bottom of the walls, in the vicinity is a well.


*** Palaces of Tiryns ***

The excavations attested that the acropolis of Tiryns was constantly occupied during the last five millenia.As a matter of fact , at the time of the excavations, vestiges of all periods were found there dating as well from the antiquity as to byzantine period or the Turkish domination. At the time when the excavations were started, a small church occupied the southern side of the acropolis and rested on the mycenian foundations !

At the end of the IInd millenium before our era, the acropolis was increased and palaces and courts were built there, sheltering parts of pageantry and dwelling, places of meeting : small and large " megaron " with their gantries and their courts ; on the plan below, the " megaron " are noted in orange, the gantries ou"propylon"in pink and the various rooms in green.


Recontitution de la citadelle plan des palais de Tirynthe


In the center of the plan, close to the " propylon ", one can see the traces of an antic altar whose foundations are prehistoric ;it was however still in use in historic times and was restored several times.

Salle de bains There is also a very interesting small room: the bathroom of the palace whose floor consists of an enormous schist stone of 20 tons; on its circumference, a series of holes used to support wood walls ; the waste water ran out by a drain then a discharge pipe.


***** Many peoples succeeded in Argolide:

* The Pelages, first inhabitants mentioned by myths, hunters-gatherers from before the IVth millenium ..

* The Acheans who undoubtedly came from Achaïe Phthiotide in Thessalie and the walls of Tiryns still offer us the portraits of the smart ladies of that time, with opulent chests and little wry smiles :


Fresque à Tirythe Fresque à Tirynthe

  * The Dorians were established there in the year 1000 before our era, it is there that was born the legend of " the Descent of Héraclides " which recognized as head of file Héraklès of Tirynthe and presented its descendants re-entering in their ancestors's land .


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