Tiryns

TIRYNS - Distance from Ermioni: 81 kms/1.2 hours

The Acropolis of Tiryns (Tiryntha) is a Mycenaean site just 4 kms North of Nafplio and 8 kms from Argos.  It is  built on a rocky height and in ancient times was a hill fortress, with occupation dating back several thousand of years.  It reached its height between 1400 and 1200 BC.  The most notable features of Tiryns were its palace, galleries (left), tunnels and especially its giant Cyclopean walls which gave the city its Homeric epithet of 'mightly walled Tiryns'.  The walls of ancient Tiryns were said to be "Cyclopean" because they could only have been put in place by giants like the Cyclops, or a hero like Heracles.  In ancient times, the city was linked to the myths surrounding Heracles, some sources gave it as his birthplace.  Mythological sources suggest that Tiryns was fortified two generations before Mycenae, a fact that has now been confirmed by recent excavations.

The city was founded by the mythical hero Tiryns, who was the son of Argos and grandson of Zeus.  Inhabited from before the Bronze Age, right through the period of the Trojan War, Tiryns flourished until the descent of the Dorians.  The site went into decline at the end of the Mycenaean period, after 1200 BC, as it was destroyed first by an earthquake, then by fire and finally abandoned.  Many years later, the city was re-populated and during the second Persian invasion of Greece, along with Mycenae, Tiryns sent 400 hoplite warriors to fight at the battle of Plataea in 479 BC, but in turn was destroyed by the city of Argos in 460 BC.  Tiryns was completely deserted by the time the Greco-Roman geographer and traveller Pausanias visited in the 2nd Century AD.  This site was excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876, continued by Dorpfeld in 1884 and is the subject of ongoing excavations.  Most of the findings of Tiryns are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of the Peloponnese in Nafplio.

As a visitor to Tiryns today, you will be impressed by the mythical Cyclopean walls, the galleries, as well as the palace with its main rooms and antechamber, which are all decorated with frescoes.  There are great views of the surrounding countyside from the upper acropolis, including the Palamidi fortress of Nafplio.  Tiryns was sited along the Greek Bronze Age highway from Mycenae and Argos to the North, to Epidavros and Troezen to the East, leading down to Hermione in the South-East.  There is a Mycenaean tholos tomb, an acropolis fortress and three stone corbel bridges that one can see today along this ancient Mycenaean highway, particulary near the present village of Arcadiko at Kazarma.  The modern country road from Tiryns and Nafplio to Ligourio and Epidavros still runs alongside this ancient Mycenaean route.

How to get from Ermioni to Tiryns:

Travel to Nafplio first, then turn right at the crossroad junction and follow the main road to Argos.  Tiryns is situated about 4 kms along, on the right side of this main road.  The car-park, gift shop and entrance to the site are located at the far Northern side of the citadel. The site is open daily 08:00 - 15:00 during the Winter, and closes later during the Summer months.  Admission: 3 Euros.

If you are driving directly to Tiryns, there is now a new road that eliminates the heavy traffic and chaos at the crossroads junction. Before you reach the busy junction, turn right at the traffic lights and continue straight for approximately 400 metres, until you turn right again at the second set of traffic lights, onto the main road to Tiryns and Argos. 

Location

Tiryns Citadel
Greece
37° 35' 58.4808" N, 22° 48' 0.2304" E
Picture Gallery
The Cyclopean walls of ancient Tiryns Tiryns is alongside the main road from Nafplio to Argos The Western defences of the lower acropolis The Western arched sally port The Western bastion in front of the Great Megaron palace The South-West corner bastion of the citadel The Western bastion viewed from the South The Cyclopean stones on the South-West corner The Southern side of the fortification walls South-East facing defensive walls of Tiryns The South-East corner of the citadel The citadel viewed from the car-park entrance The citadel viewed from the Northern approach The main gate entrance to the acropolis of Tiryns Walls close to the underground galleries The walls vary from 4.5 metres to 17 metres in depth The niche interior leading down to the lower acropolis The well preserved Eastern gallery of Tiryns There are galleries on the Eastern and Southern sides of Tiryns The interior niche by the main Eastern entrance Some of the interior Cyclopean walls of Tiryns Eastern ramp entrance into the citadel Artist drawing of the main ramp entrance of Tiryns Artist drawing of the citadel of Tiryns - 1250 BC