Architecture as a product of culture, history, science, technology, economics, society, religion, and state




A journey through five thousand years of architecture and urban planning in the Western world



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Each generation writes its autobiography in the buildings it creates.

Louis Mumford

Friday, December 3, 2010


                 MINOAN AND MYCENAEAN          
                                  Historical Background
At the time when ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures developed, parallel cultures developed on the beaches of the Aegean sea, in Crete, Cyprus and the Cycladic islands, and on the coasts of Asia Minor, Greece and Italy. The most developed civilizations in this period in the Mediterranean were the Minoan  and Mycenaean cultures, which were influenced by Egypt and Asia, but, nevertheless, maintained uniqueness.
Until the second half of the 19th century one could learn about the Aegean culture from ancient legends told about the island of Crete in the "Iliad", where Homer (eighth or ninth century BCE), the Greek poet tells the stories of Mycenaean heroes and eternalizes the Trojan War.
The excavation of Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) in Greece in the 1870s, and the excavation of Arthur Evans (1851-1941) in Crete during the years 1899-1922 constituted the first step in exposing the ancient Aegean culture, but the amount of findings are very little compared to those of other ancient cultures, such as Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The Minoan Civilization
The most ancient of the Aegean cultures grew at the crossroads among Asia, Africa and Europe - on the island of Crete. It is called Minoan after King Minos, the legendary founder of the local dynasty in 2000 BCE (Some believe that it was founded thousands of years earlier).
According to Greek mythology, Minos, the son of Zeus (born in Crete) and Europe, came from Greece to Crete on the back of Zeus disguised as a bull. To emphasize his divine right to rule his people, Minos declared that the gods would give him all he wanted and prayed that the sea god Poseidon would send him a bull from the ocean depths so that he would give it as offering.
Minos received a bull from Poseidon, but kept it for himself and sacrificed another bull. Poseidon was angry, and punished Minos: He caused ​​the birth of the Minotaur (Minotauros - a monster half-man and half-bull) to Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and the bull. The Minotaur needed a residential home, and it was necessary to give him sacrifices. Minus asked Daedalos, a Greek talented architect who returned from Egypt, to build for him the labyrinth of Knossos as the residence of the Minotaur.
When the construction was completed, Minos restricted the movement of Daedalus and did not let him leave the labyrinth, but the wife of Minos secretly released him.
Daedalus built for himself and his son Icaros wings and they flew together over the sea. Icarus flew too close to the sun, and the wax, which glued the wings to his body, melted and he fell into the sea. Daedalus landed safely in Italy, founded the temple of Apollo and dedicated the wings to the god.
According to Greek mythology, Androgeus, the son of Minos and Pasiphae, was a strong and athletic young man who represented the Cretan in the Olympics held in the honor of the goddess Athena in Athens and won many competitions. The King of Athens killed him out of envy and when Minos heard what had happened, he was furious and sent his powerful Cretan fleet to Greece. His Navy took over Athens, but instead of destroying Athens, Minos ordered that every nine years, seven young men and seven virgin girls would be sent from Athens to the labyrinth of the palace of Knossos as sacrifice to the Minotaur.
The Athens had to send victims for two years to the Minotaur, but eventually Theseus, the son of the king of Athens, saved the Athenians by killing the Minotaur. When Theseus arrived to Crete he was told that he had to enter the labyrinth alone and naked, so that the bull would swallow him. Venus caused Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos, to fall in love with him. She gave Theseus a sword of wonders to kill the Minotaur, and a string with which to leave labyrinth. Thus, Theseus killed the Minotaur and the Greeks were saved.  
The Greek poet Hesiod (Hesiodos) (lived around the year 800 BCE), Greek historian Thucydides, and Greek historian Herodotus (490-425 BC) mention Minos as the great legislator, son of Zeus. Greek historian Diodoros Siculos (first century BCE),  and Greek biographer Plutarch (Plutarchus) (c. 46-119 CE) mention another Minos,  who oppressed the Athenians and received the bull from Poseidon. There are archaeologists who believe that Minos was not a name but a title such as "Pharaoh" in Egypt, and that the Cretan king was called Minos. Others think that Minus like Ramesses in Egypt, and Caesar in Rome, was a popular name of the leader in Crete.
Crete's ancient inhabitants probably came from Anatolia in Turkey, in c.6500 BCE, and possibly earlier. The hypothesis on the origin of the inhabitants of Crete is reinforced by the fact that the tholos (literally in Greek: a circular, underground burial structure - a large underground dome-shaped) found in Anatolia and dated to the Minoan period, was also popular in Crete at that time. The fact that the hieroglyphic Minoan script from around 2000 BCE, was the same as that of the Hittites, the residents of Anatolia at the time - also strengthens this hypothesis.
Crete is a mountainous island rich in natural harbours. Its topography greatly influenced the development of small local kingdoms that took over the fertile lands whose borders were defined by mountains and beaches. The isolation of the island, its comfortable climate and fertile soil, enabled the development of the Minoan civilization.
Homer described Crete as a rich land densely populated. He wrote that there were ninety cities on the island, of which Knossos was the most important. According to his writings, the tribes who settled in Crete were: Pelasgians, Eteocretans, Kydonians, Achaeans and Dorians. Each of these tribes had its own language.
The island of Crete was probably divided into four political regions: the north - controlled by Knossos, the south - by Phaistos, the center - by Mallia, and the east - by Kato Zakro. The cities were not fortified and were equipped with very few weapons.
It is customary to divide the Minoan period into the following periods:
The Neolithic Period, c. 6500-2600 BCE
The first settlers reached the island of Crete from the East and built their houses of mud brick in villages and cities along the coast, particularly in the eastern part of the Island. They worked the land and domesticated animals. Pottery works from this period indicate a monotonic cultural stagnation.
Pre-Palatial Period c. 2600-2000 BCE
This period is characterized by cultural change resulting from the arrival of new settlers from Anatolia and Egypt, who brought with them knowledge in the use of bronze. With the passage of time larger homes were built and the quality of life improved. Economic and social life became more complex on the island and began the use of hieroglyphs apparently under Egyptian influence. There was a rapid development in all aspects of art - pottery, metalwork, work in gold, stone reliefs, and seals. A remarkable architectural achievement from this period is the construction of tholos – an underground dome-shaped burial structure, looking like a beehive.
The Early Minoan Period - the period of the old palaces around 2000-1700 BCE
During this period the power passed to the kings who ruled the palaces, which were political, social, economic and religious centers. The Minoan society was characterized by specification of artisans. Relations with overseas countries developed and have been made frequent. Around 2000 BCE began the use of transportation on wheels and was developed a script (which has never been deciphered) called by Arthur Evans "Linear A". This script is more sophisticated than the Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Ceramic jugs, the most important art of the Minoans, presented a variety of patterns: geometric, spiral, triangular, wavy lines, crosses, herringbone patterns and the like.
An earthquake that occurred around the year 1700 BCE led to the destruction of the palaces in Crete, and marked the end of this period.
Middle Minoan Period - the period of the new palaces around 1700-1400 BCE
 During this period the Minoans reached a peak of prosperity. New palaces were built on the ruins of the old, and the cities around them expanded. New houses and rural villas were built in the streets. Trade with overseas countries widened.
The Minoan population was self-sufficient. The residents engaged in fishing and traded olive oil, wine, wood, marble and jewelry. The harbours of the island of Crete were very active: for the products that they produced, the Minoan received copper, gold, ivory, and precious stones. They bartered with the Egyptians and the inhabitants of the Aegean coast. Likewise, they developed trade relations with Cyprus.
Among the Cretans, there were people who specialized in maritime matters, art, craft and architecture. They preferred to use stone and clay tools at a time when metal processing had already been known to the world. They used metal for producing weapons whose amount, as stated, was limited.
Among the Cretans, there was a feeling of security. The ongoing peace that prevailed throughout the island enabled the development of a culture that reached remarkable achievements. Vases and other small objects produced in Crete indicate originality and inventiveness.
The plastic art of the Minoan society reveals a lifestyle different than that prevailing in other places at that time. This was naturalistic art mostly reflecting the Minoans' love for nature. Motives from nature can be found in frescoes that often decorated palaces and the houses of the rich. Likewise, jugs were decorated with flora and fauna motifs, such as lilies, fish and birds.
The Late Minoan Period - the period after the period of the palaces c.1400-1100 BCE
 Around 1400 BCE a disaster befell the island of Crete and led to the downfall of the Minoan civilization. Some researchers attribute the fall of the Minoan civilization to the volcanic eruption in the island of Santorini, which is located not far from Crete. Others believe that political upheaval or the invasion of Achaeans, also called Mycenaeans (after the name of the city of Mycenae in Greece that Schliemann discovered), in this period from the Peloponnesian peninsula of Greece, inflicted havoc on the Minoans.
Many cities were destroyed and abandoned, especially in Eastern Crete, and their inhabitants moved westward. The Mycenaean invaders built themselves new houses instead of the  old ones or new settlements.
The Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations mutually influenced each other. Even if the Mycenaeans did not cause the massive destruction of Crete, they used the events to their advantage. After the crisis, life in Crete continued, but the golden age of the Minoan civilization was over.
During this period, administrative texts were written in linear B, the script of the Greek Mycenaeans. The Minoan artists  adopted the forms of the Mycenaean vases, but decorated them with patterns of flowers and animals in naturalistic style. The wall paintings found in palaces were influenced by Mycenaean geometric abstraction, characterized by the use of monochromic colors and naturalistic themes. Often, patterns of living plants were not part of the iconography, but were only decorative elements.
Early Geometric Period - 1100-900 BCE.
 The Dorians settled on the island and their impact was evident immediately in all areas of art.

            The Minoan Religion
Since the Minoan remnants do not include written findings on religion, the researchers had no choice but to speculate about the ways of worship of the Minoans in accordance with archaeological excavations findings.
The Minoan religion, which, according to evidence found in Crete, had already existed in the early Minoan period, probably originated in Anatolia. To the objects of worship of the Islanders - a double ax, ox, bull rays, dove and a snake - were precedents in Anatolia.
The most striking feature of the Minoan religion was matriarchal polytheism, that is religion based on faith in many gods headed by a single goddess. The main goddess in the  Minoan pantheon was the Great Mother - the snake goddess, Universal Mother, goddess of birth and death, fertility, wealth, land, sea, animals and crops. She was considered a food source, bringing blessings and curses on people. This goddess, who according to the Minoan belief actually controlled everything in the world, was not seen as external to nature but as a motivating force, which affected the plants and animals, as she decided the fate of humans.
In the Minoan culture every object had a religious significance. Trees, rocks and springs were sacred. Demons were probably used as symbols of religious ritual, presented as human beings with lion's legs.
Until the late Minoan period there had been no male god in the Minoan culture - all the gods were female. Some say that the many Minoan goddesses represent only one goddess. However, most researchers believe that the major Greek goddesses of Greek religion, such as Hera, Artemis and others, originate in the Minoan goddesses.
A colored glazed porcelain figurine (faience) (34.3 cm in height) of the snake goddess, dating to 1600 BCE was found in Knossos. The goddess who is bare-breasted, holds a snake in each hand and another snake is twisting on her body. The snake goddess might be associated with resurrection and regeneration (because snakes shed their skin) and to eternity, (because the circle that is created when the head of the snake meets its tail, is associated with infinity).
Many figurines of the Snake Goddess were found in homes, palaces and small temples, which led the researchers to conclude that the Snake Goddess was the goddess who protected the house. Her attribute was the snake, which was perceived in the Minoan, culture, as in many cultures, as the guardian of the house.
 Symbols were an integral part of Minoan religion. Especially sacred symbol was the double ax (Labrys), which  appeared on columns, walls, vases, etc. Likewise, there were other common sacred symbols such as the horns of an ox, pigeon, column, shield and cross.
Religious worship was held in temples, houses, courtyards, on mountain peaks and in caves. Various mountain ranges in part of the island of Crete attracted believers as early as 2200 BCE. Mountaintops were perceived as suitable ground for the encounter with the gods. In these sites were found clay figurines, mostly of women. Men and women used to attend rites of worship, but in most temples there were more priestesses than priests.
Less than forty out of over a thousand caves in the island were perceived as sacred. According to the local belief spirits lived there and it was possible to get through them to the underworld. The stalagmites in these caves were considered sacred columns. Already in the early Minoan period, Cretans used to climb to the caves and bring with them their double axes which were conceived of as sacred.
In Crete were found monumental buildings that most researchers ascribe to them the role of palaces, but some scholars believe that these structures served as temples. Worship of mountain peaks and caves support the approach ascribing to them the role of palaces. Recently, an evidence dating to c.1450 BCE testifying to human sacrifice was found on the mountain peaks in the sites of worship.
There were also smaller temples in each of which stands an altar on which are placed bullhorns - the divine symbol. The bull was considered sacred as the first sacrifice to the Great Mother Goddess. In the palaces, blood offerings were poured into various vessels designed in the shape of bull's head. In Knossos was found a remnant of fresco presenting men and women standing before the sacred bullhorns in ritual ceremony.
The Cretans believed in life after death. Useful stuff, such as clothes, weapons, charms and jewels that were found buried with the dead indicate that. However, they did not believe in the preservation of the body.

Minoan Architecture
Crete's first inhabitants lived in Neolithic villages, but since the Bronze Age, some 3,000 years BCE, there were separate population centers in the island, which were led by rulers who lived in large palaces.
Unlike mainland Greece, where construction had to be defensive, the Islands did not have to build fortifications – the sea provided Crete with a natural defense against invasions. The buildings were built of fragments of stones or chiseled stones and mud bricks, and were covered on the outside with stucco (smooth coating made of mixture of cement, sand and powdered stone.) The walls were built of mixed materials: sun-dried bricks, gravel, timber, stucco and stone. The most common material for purposes of decoration was plaster, which served to coat walls and floors.
In construction, emphasis was put on comfort, light and space, and adjustment to the hot climate: air flow was made ​​possible through the suitable placement of alternating doors and partitions, and by the construction of a portico (roofed structure supported by columns) that allowed the penetration of light and air.
The construction of palaces and homes in Crete was based on the method of column and beam (i.e. columns support a flat ceiling). The column's trunk was made of wood and its base of stone. All the buildings had flat roofs except for the tombs, which were vaulted.
Water was transferred to homes from miles away using ceramic pipes. The residents also enjoyed a highly developed system of sewer pipes that contributed greatly to their welfare.

Minoan Palaces
Unlike in Mesopotamia, Egypt and other ancient cultures, in Minoan architecture the temple was not a monumental structure. The most impressive buildings in Crete were the palaces. They were big, comfortable and beautiful, with courtyards designed for ceremonies and games. Their design creates a sense of openness, freedom and luxury.
The old palaces were built around 2000 BCE in Knossos in north-central Crete, Hephaestus in the south, Malia in the north-east, Kato Zachary in the eastern end, and other cities. From the remnants we can be conclude that even then there were the characteristics of Minoan architecture. Earthquakes that probably struck the island in 1700 BCE destroyed these palaces.
On the ruins of the old palaces new palaces were built in c.1700 BCE. They were more luxurious, decorated with sculptures and frescoes. These palaces were more complex than their predecessors, although their basic structure was the same. They had several floors, and some were very large. They were organized around rectangular courtyards that allowed the penetration of light to all their floors. The courtyards were usually arranged on a north-south axis, because, as the researchers think, the builders wanted to shed maximal light on the colonnade (boulevard of columns) that surrounded the central courtyard.
The impressive facades of the buildings surrounding the central courtyards were built of porous blocks. The monumental staircases and entrances linked the various levels of the palace , which included sacred rooms, living rooms and many warehouses.
The residential areas in each palace were relatively small    Compared to the overall area of the palace. Inside them were found remnants of columns, which replaced walls and thus allowed light and air to penetrate the small inner courtyards. Among these columns were partially closed doors that enabled closing the rooms.
The rooms in the Minoan palaces were decorated with spectacular murals featuring the everyday life. Their aim was to please the audience with an expression of art for art's sake. The design of the paths of processions and the buildings of theater in the palaces suited the ceremonial dances and processions, which were held in honor of the goddesses.
The new palaces are considered impressive architectural achievements, not only because of their design, but also because of the water supply systems, sewage and drainage, allowing even the establishment of latrines with running water.
In all the Minoan palaces there was a close connection between religion and economics. The residents were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, and the king was the priest who connected between them and the gods to ensure good crops.
In each palace, the emphasis was put on another area: the artisans in the palace of Phaistos specialized in bronze objects, the craftsmen of the palace of Kato Zakro specialized in ivory works, and in the palace of Malia was the center of jewelers. In Knossos were various crafts and the major among them were works with gems, and jars in black and white which were unique to Knossos.
The palaces were surrounded by urban settlements, but archaeological excavations carried out outside the palace are few, so there is much more information about palaces than about cities and housing.
The above description represents the traditional reference to the monumental structures in Crete. Archaeologist Arthur Evans, who uncovered the remains of Knossos in 1900, was the first who decided that the monumental buildings in Knossos were palaces.
Recently it has been supposed that the building, which is considered the palace of Minos and palaces in other cities in Crete, were nothing but temples. In ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome - religious rituals were held in a unique structure - a temple. The concept customary until recent years, according to which there were no temples in the  Minoan culture, provoked questions about the ways of worship and of the place where it took place. Seeing the palaces as temples  solves some of these questions.
Rodney Castelden presents in his book (1990) the new approach according to which the monumental buildings in Crete were temples. According to him, the first temples were built in Crete in 1900 BCE. The temples' walls were decorated with simple geometric patterns in red and white. The great temples of Knossos, Phaistos, Kato Zakro, and Malia, which became centers of artisans, were probably dependent on agricultural crops. The isolation of the craftsmen in this way indicates, according to Castelden that it was their main occupation and that they worked under the temple's patronage.
Researchers who describe the major palaces and buildings, as palaces note that inside them were temples. In the palace of Minos in Knossos there is a remnant of the temple of the Great Goddess. The double ax was the most common symbol in Minoan culture, and it often appeared, carved on stone and decorating many objects that were found there. Thus, "Labyrinth" (literally: the place of the double ax - labrys in pre-Latin), which is how the palace of Minos in Knossos is called, suits it, whether it was a palace or a temple.
Although I presented the hypothesis that the monumental building in Knossos was a temple rather than palace, I will refer from here on to the structures of its kind as palaces, in the spirit of the most common approach.
           The Palace of Knossos
The palace from which we can learn about architecture and palaces in Crete more than any other palace is the largest palace (approximately 22,000 sqm in area), which was discovered in Crete – the palace of King Minos in Knossos.
 The first palace of Knossos was built approximately in 2000 BCE, and was probably destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 BCE. The second palace was built on its ruins in the 16th  century BCE and was much more spectacular. The latter was destroyed around 1400 BCE, when the city of Knossos and other settlements in Crete were destroyed


The history of the palace's construction, which went through some changes, is complex. It is difficult to date accurately the various parts, which were organized around a central courtyard and merged at some point into one building. The impression at first sight is of chaos devoid of organization and order, but actually, it has some uniformity expressed in straight lines vertical to each other. Series of apartments, each with its own character and purpose, were connected by corridors, stairways, and organized asymmetrically around a central courtyard ​​(about 54 m x27 m in area) on north-south axis.
The palace had a total of over 1,500 rooms, including sacred rooms, warehouses, and sacred halls for ceremonies and balls. There were also workshop and storage rooms, living rooms and reception rooms.
Large staircase led to the east wing of the palace overlooking a narrow valley. This wing had four or five stories including balconies, official rooms decorated with magnificent frescoes and living rooms. The king's quarters, reception halls and the Queen's quarters were located in the southern part of  this wing, and the housing of the workers and servants in its  northern part. The most important halls were those of the queen  and the double ax. To the north-east of the palace were located workshops and warehouses.
In the west wing, placed on the top of a hill, there were three floors. Large staircase led to the staterooms (including a coronation room). This wing also had rooms for administrative purposes, temples and public warehouses in which were found very large storage vessels for wine, cereals, oil and honey. On the top floor of this wing were the banqueting halls.
Apart from the central courtyard there was another paved courtyard west of the palace, where all the ceremonies and meetings were held. In this yard can be seen the routes of processions raised above the ground, which probably served for ritual purposes.
The northern part of the palace complex included a purification pool and a kind of theater for an audience of approximately 500 people who watched the religious ceremonies or sporting competitions.
The outer walls of the palace were covered with marble. In front of the great central courtyard was a wide staircase, with open sides, supported by wooden posts (now restored stone pillars). The columns were built with a capital and without base, which gave them a mushroom shape. The abacus (a square panel at the top of the column's capital) looked like the abacus of the archaic Doric column (see the chapter on the Greek orders: Doric, Ionic and  Corinthian in Ancient Greek Architecture), and the echinus (curved element under the a abacus) looked like a round pillow.
The wooden posts supported a beam called entablature which is divided into three horizontal stripes: the lower one is called architrave, the middle - frieze, and the upper - cornice). This structure of the entablature heralds the entablature, which   constituted an important element of classical Greek architecture.
The architecture of Knossos heralds the structure of the Greek temple. The coronation room, also called "megaron" (literally in Greek: "big room" - a rectangular long hall facing an entrance hall with only columns in its front), is the antecedent of the form of the classic Greek temple, which comprised a pronaos - a lobby leading to naos, and a naos – a room where stood the god's statue. The word "megaron" was coined by  Homer as a synonym for the king's palace or his coronation room.

The royal palace of Knossos was designed with reference to the welfare and comfort of the residents. There were bathrooms, running water and efficient drainage system constructed of ceramic pipes. A system of pergolas, windows and small courtyards allowed light and air penetration into the royal living quarters, reception halls, residential rooms, storage rooms and women's quarters. The rooms were connected by corridors with twists and turns, intended to create hiding areas. Indeed, the palace resembled a labyrinth inspiring the mythological story about the Minotaur.
The palace of Minos had many functions. It served not only as a political, administrative and economic center, but also as a shrine. The entire complex obviously constituted the center around which evolved political, religious and economic life. Spectacular works of art were produced in workshops that were located there.
On the plaster that covered the walls were painted wall paintings and geometric designs, as seen in the coronation room (restored) which is located in front of the central courtyard, to the west. This hall looks like a chapel designed for worship. Griffins' paintings adorned the wall facing the coronation throne. These paintings, like other paintings in the palace, were naturalistic and vivid. This art and other remnants from this period testify to the prosperity of the Minoan society.
The paintings of figures in profile with no perspective, which adorn the walls of the palace are reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian style. The wall paintings are mostly adjusted to the architectural structure, stressing the outline of the architectural parts. In the King's coronation hall, one of the paintings, which describes the griffins, is displayed in a panoramic view, along three walls of the hall. In the queen's coronation room the architectural contours are highlighted with repeating patterns of stripes surrounding the openings of the hall. The painting of the dolphins at the top of one wall creates a sense that the hall is two storied while in fact it is a single  storey.

One wall that survived without decoration in the coronation room reveals the materials of which it was built. The doors' frames and the pillars that supported the ceiling's beams were made of wood, while the bases of the pillars and the doorstep were made of stone. In the coronation hall restored pillars separate the room itself from the small pool probably intended for use in ceremonies. Facing the coronation room, steps lead to subterranean rooms, which probably served for rituals of purification. Such rooms were also found in other ancient palaces in Crete.
                  The Palace in Phaistos
The first palace in Phaistos was built in c.2000 BCE and was destroyed probably by an earthquake in c.1700 BCE. New more luxurious and elegant palace was built on the ruins of its predecessor and was destroyed probably by an earthquake around 1400 BCE. The remains of the palace show different archaeological phases. Fortunately, when new buildings were built in the palace, the old traces were not destroyed. The area of the new palace is smaller than that of the previous one, so one can see the remains of the older palace. 

The location of the palace was carefully chosen. It enabled control over Messara valley and observing the villages scattered around the city, at the foot of the mountains Psiloritis and Asterouisia.
The new palace of Phaistos, whose general plan resembled that of the palace of Knossos, was the second largest palace in Crete. It covers an area of approximately ​​10,000 square meters, nearly half the area of ​​the palace of Knossos. Like the palace of Knossos, the palace of Phaistos was a center of administrative, religious and economic activities. Food for consumption and sale was stored in huge warehouses in the palace.
The dig in the area found remains of two palaces (old and new) built one upon the other. The new palace was built on a hill on the ruins of the old palace, and included several levels with staircases connecting them to each other. Like the other palaces in Crete, except for that of Zakro, the palace of Phaistos was also built on a north-south axis.
The official entrance to the older palace was through the western courtyard located up a flight of stairs (12 steps,  14 meters in width) leading to a monumental entrance. To the south of this entrance were found the palace's storerooms. One warehouse has survived intact with large jars, in which were stored olive oil, wine and wheat.
In the palace there were apartments, warehouses, halls for ceremonies, temples, theater, workshops and accommodation which included royal baths. All these were organized around a central courtyard (63 m x22.5 m in area), surrounded on two sides by alternating columns and pillars. From the large number of corridors leading to the central courtyard we can  conclude that it was significant for the life in the palace.
In the Western part of the palace there were three other courtyards: upper courtyard, theater courtyard and lower courtyard. The upper western courtyard connects to the lower western courtyard by a staircase of the old temple. To the north of the lower courtyard was found the theater area with eight rows-steps on which the spectators could stand or sit and watch religious ceremonies or any other event held. The various levels making up the theater and the staircases area created an impressive sight.
In the northeastern wing of the palace were workshops of artisans, while much of the western wing facing the central courtyard, to the south of the warehouses, served for ritual purposes. There, were found double axes engraved on stone, an evidence of a religious use of these buildings.
The prevailing hypothesis is that the western wings of both palaces served for religious and administrative purposes, while the eastern wings served as the residential apartments of the royal families' members. The apartments of the royal palace were found in the northern part of the palace to the east of the monumental entrance to it. The queen's coronation room (or: the queen's megaron) is located to the south of the king's coronation room (or: king's megaron) which is larger. These rooms had small courtyards with no roof. Columns and pillars with doors between them allowed partially closing the rooms. In the eastern part of the palace there was originally a pool that probably served for bathing, but maybe it was a pool for ritual purification.
Life in the palace came to an end around 1400 BCE when it was completely destroyed, like the other palaces in the island of Crete during this period.

The Palace of Haghia Triada / Aya Triada
In Haghia Triada (literally in Greek: holy trinity), a site located about three kilometers away from Phaistos and has been inhabited as early as in the third millennium BCE, a small palace was built in the 16th century BCE. Recent excavations have uncovered a paved road connecting Haghia Triada with Phaistos, but it is unclear what the nature of the relation between the two communities was.
Although it looked more like a summer villa than a palace, the palace in Haghia Triada had all the characteristics of other palaces in Crete, such as courtyards, halls with partitions made of doors alternating with pillars, temples, warehouses and workshops for artisans, staircases, small courtyards and portico structures.
Like in Phaistos, but unlike in the other palaces in Crete, the lower part of the interior walls was decorated in a different way than their upper part. Here, plaster decorations were favored more than fresco paintings. While the palace in Phaistos is noteworthy mainly due to its exterior appearance, the palace in Haghia Triads is mainly prominent in its interior design and richness of artistic objects found inside it, which, fortunately, were not destroyed by fire, or looted after the late 15th century BCE.
During the 14th-11th centuries BCE a megaron of the of the Mycenaean type was built on the ruins of the palace. During the Hellenistic period (fourth to first century BCE) the palace's compound became a site of worship, and in the 14th century, during the Venetian occupation, a church was built here and was called Haghia Triada. Hence the name of the site.

              The Palace in Malia
The first palace in Malia, the third largest Minoan palace, was built during the years c. 2000-1900 BCE. It covers an area of ​​7500 square meters on the northern coast of Crete, east of Knossos. The location near the beach is not convenient in terms of weather. The area is very hot, and unpleasant in the summer. Its history parallels that of the palace of Knossos. According to Greek mythology, it was the palace of Sarpedon, one of the three sons of Zeus and Europe and the brother of King Minos of Knossos.
After the palace was destroyed around 1700 BCE, a new one was built immediately on its ruins, and its plan followed the that of the old palace. A few changes were made in it fifty years later. In 1400 BCE it was destroyed with the other palaces and other buildings in Crete. The remains left on the site are mostly those of the palace of Malia. From the first palace of Malia was left only one part, which is found to the north-west of the second palace.
In the north-western corner of the northern courtyard there is a Mycenaean temple, which is not a part of the original complex of the palace.
The palace was a little bit smaller than the palace of Phaistos.  It included a theater, rooms of worship, residence of the royal family, workshops and warehouses. The central courtyard (48 m x23 m in area) located in the eastern part of the north - south axis was a part of the old palace. The main entrance to it was from the north. The courtyard was surrounded by portico structures to its north and east and in its center stood an altar.
To the north of the central courtyard is located a crypt  with columns inside it, now protected from the weather conditions by a modern roof. The entrance room to this subterranean room which probably served for political conferences was separated from the residential compound and  the official buildings. Above it, in the upper floor, there was a hall believed by researchers to be designed for banquets. To the east of these rooms was a stone paved corridor connecting the central courtyard with a small northern courtyard, which was surrounded by workshops and warehouses. In the northwestern part of the palace there was a courtyard where probably was the palace garden. The southwestern wing was two-storied with residential and guest rooms, a small temple and a monumental paved entrance to the palace, leading directly to the central courtyard. In the southwest were located eight buildings for storing grain.
To the northwest of the second palace of Malia is found a large open rectangular area (29.1 m x39.8 m in area), paved with gypsum surrounded on four sides by massive foundations which  originally supported benches. This structure was probably the theater. Here the flat topography of the site did not enable creation of steps as was done in Knossos and Phaistos.

The Palace in Gournia
The palace in Gournia was built in 1600 BCE on the summit of a low hill near the sea. It can be seen as an administrative center. It was small, (35 m x 50 m in area) less than a tenth the size of the palace of Knossos, and included a central courtyard (25 m x 17.5 m in area) where people would congregate. Despite its modest dimensions, it imitated the great Minoan palaces. The palace had three entrances: from the south, west and north-east. The facade faced south, where a courtyard    (​​40 m x 15 m in area) was located. In the west there were storehouses.
The monumentality of the palace was designed to impress the residents of Gurnia and its visitors. Its facade was coated with ashlar stone, a sign of wealth and high status in the Minoan society. The lower floors were built of stone and the upper floors were built of gravel or mud bricks and coated with plaster.
In the palace there were two rows of square, round pillars and a staircase leading to the rooms. The double ax symbol appeared as repeating motif, as it appeared at the Palace of Knossos.
To the north of the palace, and separated from it, was a small (3 m x4 m in area) public temple from the Late Minoan period. In this temple were found figurines of a goddess, probably of the snake goddess.
The palace was destroyed when the entire city was destroyed, during the Late Minoan (1400 BCE), when the other palaces were destroyed in Crete. Fifty years after the destruction, the residents returned to the palace, but around 1200 BCE the place was abandoned for good.

The Palace in Kato Zakro
The palace of Kato Zakro, the fourth largest (7000-8000 square meters) of the Minoan palaces (after the palaces of Knossos, Malia and Phaistos), is located on the north-eastern part of the island of Crete, to the south of Palaikastro, a strategic place, in the gulf on the coast, sheltered from the dangerous northern winds. This palace was probably the Minoan gate of the trade with the oriental countries.

 Image - The plan of the palace in Kato Zakro   

The remains of the palace in Kato Zakro indicate two main construction phases: in 2000 BCE was built the old palace which was destroyed in an earthquake around 1700 BCE. The new palace was built on its ruins and was destroyed in c.1400 BCE.
In the palace there were between 250 to 300 rooms arranged in two or three floors around a central courtyard (with ​​30 m x 12 m in area). The walls of the rooms built of wood and plaster, were decorated with frescoes. Rich textile designs decorated the rooms, corridors and small courtyards.
The central courtyard, where religious ceremonies were held, was built on north-south axis. It was surrounded by spectacular portico facades with columns and pillars supporting the ceiling. To the north-west of the courtyard was the altar.
The west wing of the palace was devoted to religious activities. In this wing there were an anteroom, ceremonial columns hall (10 m x 12 m in area), and a small courtyard surrounded by columns attached to it. This wing had also a pool. Some believe that it served for the purpose of ritual purification, and others believe that it served as home bath.
In the east wing were located the apartments of the king and the queen. To the east of the palace there was a ritual bath accessed by steps. To the north-west of the palace were warehouses and to the west of the central courtyard there was a ceremonial hall. In this room were found remains of frescoes and objects of worship.
In the south wing of the palace there was a small set of structures including workshops for manufacturing aromatic oils and small objects made of porcelain, crystal, etc.
In the northern wing a large staircase led upstairs, to the warehouses of the royal compound, shower rooms and a spacious room to which access was via a corridor which probably served as the kitchen.
The palace was located in the heart of the city of which only part of the remains were discovered in archaeological excavations.

  The Minoan Residential Buildings
The Minoan private house was designed as a urban house  and related to the other buildings on the street. Most homes in Crete were one-story houses, but there were two-storey and  three-storey houses as well. The lower part of walls was built in stone or gravel, while the upper part was built in mud bricks. Building the lower part in stone was designed to create a strong foundation for the building, and for increasing its inhabitants' sense of security; mud-brick walls, being an excellent means of insulation, helped the residents in the extremely hot or cold days. The ceiling was made of wood. Windows were usually located at the top of the building, apparently for fear of breaking into homes. Parchment dipped in oil was used probably as a substitute for glass. Toilets and bathtubs were located in the part of the house facing the street. Small courtyards enabled penetration of light and air into the rooms.
Archaeological findings in Kato Zakro indicate that the houses were organized in blocks, and some were part of a palace's layout. Some of the houses had up to 30 rooms and small warehouses located around a large room.
The best example for residential Minoan period is Gournia. Although only fragments of the original walls of buildings have survived in the city, these remains show a clear picture of the ground plans of houses, and the drainage systems. The lower parts of the walls of the houses were built in stone, and the top was built of mud bricks. The houses were paved with stone tiles, cement, rolling stones, plaster, or wood. They had simple square windows, located above the ground floor to prevent break-ins to homes, and parchment dipped in oil as substitute for glass.
Sometimes the outer walls were covered with plaster painted in bright colors. The roof of the house was flat with a small room on it probably used as a bedroom during the summer heat.
The skeletons of the houses in Gournia were built in wood. Horizontal beams were supported by wooden posts. Timbers were probably used for fear of earthquakes.
In many houses in Crete rooms were organized around an inner courtyard. In the large houses there were more rooms,  levels, and running water in the pipes.
Tall buildings in major cities are known to us not from real houses or their remains, but from porcelain miniature tablets  remains three to five centimeters in height depicting facades of houses in Crete. In these tablets, dating to the 18th century BCE, the windows are located on the upper floors, and only in rare cases on the ground floor. A common feature in the painted houses was a rectangular protrusion from the wall, indicating the staircase leading to the roof.
About the shape of Minoan villas from the 18th and 17th  centuries BCE we can learn from a model (23.5 centimeters in height), made of terra cotta and found in Arkhanes (20 kilometers to the south of Heraklion). It represents a two-story house with two rooms and a roofed courtyard downstairs. The windows are framed in wood. In the top floor can be seen columns supporting the ceiling and a balcony protruding in the front.
Luxury villas of distinguished people surrounded the palace of Minos of Knossos. The outer walls were built in stone, and for building the interior walls wood was used.

Image - Terracotta model from Arkhanes (today in Heraklion Museum).

Royal summer homes were discovered in the cooler areas in Crete, not far from the palaces. These are actually reduced scale palaces. Other villas and rural houses that served as residences of the rulers or their representatives were found scattered in the countryside.
Simple houses were built in Crete in sun-dried bricks and coated with a layer of clay. The ground was paved with pebbles, cement, or packed earth, and the ceiling was built of reeds and coated with plaster. All these materials, except for stone, have  not survived. Burnt mud bricks served as building materials in  Gournia, Kato Zakro, Palaikastro and Phaistos.

Minoan Burial Structures
In Crete during the years 3650-2000 BCE it was customary to bury the dead in caves, a practice that lasted during the early Minoan period in the eastern and northern parts of the island. During the middle Minoan period cemeteries were more common. In eastern Crete, rectangular burial structures were built. Each family had its own burial structure in which it buried the dead for hundreds of years. The bodies were not put directly in tombs. At first, the dead were buried in the ground, and only later the bones were transferred to tombs.
The rectangular burial structures included a series of narrow rooms, long and parallel. Such burial structures were found in Palaikastro, Archanes, Gournia and others cities. Layouts of tombs including square and rectangular rooms were found in Mochlos, Palaikastro and elsewhere. At that time both types of burial structures were built, and in some sites can be found both types of burial. The graves often look like  residential houses, indicating perhaps a desire to create real homes for the dead.
The most impressive example of a burial structure with  small burial chambers is found in Chryssolakkos (literally in Greek: gold pit) in Malia, about 500 meters north-east of the palace of Malia, near the northern coast of Crete. It was the royal burial complex of the first palace, apparently surrounded by portico structures. Here were buried the upper class members of Malia. The name of the site originates in the valuable funerary objects that farmers found inside it.
During the Minoan period the most common burial structure was a circular collective stone tomb called tholos.. Many structures of its kind were found in the south-west of Crete, especially in the Mesara valley. The dead were placed in the rooms with their jewelry, weapons and personal property.
Most of these burial structures were designed in the shape of corbeled dome with diameter ranging from 4 to 13 meters, and from 0.70 meters to 2.5 meters in thickness. For building most of them, usually large field stones (not chiseled) were used, with clay as binding material. Some tholos structures were built deep in the ground or into a slope of a hill. The entrance to them,  usually not exceeding 1 square meter, is generally from the east. In early Minoan period the tholos was dolmen-shaped, i.e. two large upright stones supporting a lintel stone.
Over seventy tholos graves were found in forty-five different sites in Crete, most of them located in the southern part of the island, mainly in Messara valley. Such a series of tombs was discovered in excavations carried out during the 1960s and 1970s, not far from Knossos in the hill of Phourni (literally in Greek: stove), overlooking the city of Archanes, which was built on the ruins of a Minoan Palace. This cemetery was used over a thousand years, from 2400 BCE to 1,200 BCE.
In the cemetery of Phourni is a tomb known as "Tholos A" or "Tholos gamma", probably from the 14th century BCE, which has been well preserved, though looted. This tholos has a long entrance corridor (dromos) and its inner shell is coated with stone. Adjacent to the circular structure is a side room where kings were buried. The lintel (stone beam) of the entrance to the tomb structure is located at the ground level, while the grave beneath the lintel and the dromos itself were carved into the rock. Its ground plan resembles that of larger tholos structures found in Mycenaean Greece, such as the treasury house of Atreus in Mycenae (see below), and the treasury house of Minyas in the Mycenaean city of Orchomenos.

                          The Mycenaean Culture
The Minoan civilization was replaced by the Mycenaean civilization, which developed in mainland Greece. The Aegean peninsula has already been inhabited 4000 years BCE. During the years 2200-1600 BCE, a new wave of invaders came from Anatolia, from the north, or from both directions combined.
 Around 2000 BCE, Achaeans, Hindu-European tribes, invaded the peninsula. They took over the local residents and built fortified outposts in the Peloponnese. In 1600 BCE the Achaeans, also called Mycenaeans, cruised in the Aegean, initially as pirates and later as merchants.
The Mycenaean culture developed in the Late Bronze Age (1550-1100 BCE) on the hill of Mycenae in mainland Greece, and its importance grew when the area of the palace was fortified. After Knossos was destroyed, about 1400 BCE, the Mycenaeans became the most powerful and richest nation in the Aegean. They defeated the Minoan colonies in the Aegean islands and in the island of Crete itself, and took control of their trade routes. They had contact with both the "super powers" of this period – Egypt and Ugarit on the Syrian coast. The contact between the Mycenaeans and the Hittite Empire was probably indirect.
The main Mycenaean sites are found in Tiryns, Pylos, Mycenae, Gla and Athens. In c.1400 BCE the Mycenaean culture penetrated a large part of Greece, and during the 14th  and 13th centuries BCE there was a homogeneous Mycenaean culture in Greece and its surroundings. It is unclear whether this indicates homogeneous political unity or the existence of a federation of independent states.
The Mycenaeans produced pitchers, which included Minoan elements, and learned metalwork from the Minoans. The Mycenaeans might even employed Minoan workers for long periods, especially at an early stage of the development of their culture.
In the Mycenaean fresco Minoan technique can be seen, although the Mycenaean style is less naturalistic and more angular than the Crete Minoan style. The scenes described in the Mycenaean paintings also differ from those in the Minoan paintings. While in the Mycenaean paintings appeared scenes such as hunting, fighting, warriors, weapons and carriages, the Minoan murals depict women full of life, fishing scenes, and the local worship. The later Mycenaean style inclined to abstract geometric shapes, abandoning the naturalistic shapes that characterized the Minoan style.
The Minoan linear A script, which was adopted by the Mycenaeans was developed by them into linear B script which was in use in Crete as well. The tablets found, which were used for administrative and inventory records and were written in linear B script, teach us very little about the daily life of that era and the events that took place at the time. Among these tablets, dating to the 14th century BCE, was mentioned the name of a city Ko-no-so, which was the city of Knossos in Crete.
In the Mycenaean settlements, like in the Minoan ones,  there were palaces and kings who ruled from them. Little is known beyond their names, if any. Each king probably ruled his immediate vicinity. Documents written in linear B script, testify to a society divided into hierarchical classes: government officials, ordinary people and slaves.
It is unclear what brought the downfall of the Mycenaean civilization. It is ascribed to an earthquake that brought a social chaos and a change in the weather that caused food shortage, or to the Dorian invaders from the north (people from Doris, a small district from the center of Greece who looted Mycenae). There is no doubt that before the 13th century BCE, a series of disasters befell the Mycenae and eventually led to its end in 1100 BCE, and to the beginning of a period known as the "period of darkness."
Most of the achievements of the Mycenaean civilization were destroyed. The script, the arts and crafts have disappeared, and returned only a hundred years later. Trade with foreign countries stopped, and residents moved to cities and small villages. Building in stone was replaced by building a wooden frame with mud-brick walls, a construction that suited facing earthquakes.

The following culture in the Aegean was that of classical Greece, a culture that developed around the mid first millennium BCE.
            The Mycenaean Religion
Little is known about the Mycenaean religion. Archaeologists have found only a few Mycenaean temples. From inscriptions found in Knossos and in Mycenaean cities written on tablets in linear B script, it seems that the Mycenaean had worshiped gods that were later worshiped by the Greeks in the classical period (fifth century BCE). The names of the gods in these inscriptions are those named Atana – who was the Greek goddess Athena, Posedone, who was the Greek god Poseidon. Zeus appeared by the name Diuja who is identified by the researchers with the sky god who dominated the Hindu-European Pantheon that the Hindu-Europeans brought with them to Greece. Linguists think that his name was Dyeus. To this day, words associated with divinity in European languages ​​originate in this word (Deus in Latin, Dieu in French, Dio in Italian and so on).
We are unable to check today if these gods had the same  properties that were ascribed to them later. From the Amount of gifts received by the gods, researchers conclude that Poseidon was the main god of the Mycenaeans and Zeus's status was not different than that of the other gods.
There were also Mycenaean gods, who do not belong with the later Greek gods, including Marineus, Diwia, the spouse of Dyeus, Komawenteia and Dirimijo.
The marriage of Zeus, the sky god of the conqueror Mycenaeans, with Hera, the fertility goddess of the conquered, symbolized an attempt to merge the Mycenaean religion with the Minoan.
The Mycenaeans believed in the power of super natural gods, especially concerning humans. The gods were not perceived as found everywhere, know everything and as omnipotent, but their abilities are greater than those of humans. Being immortal, they were considered superior to humans.   They can foresee the future and interfere with human actions. Like human beings, they have feelings, fight and love.
The Minoan Snake Goddess is not mentioned in texts written in linear B script (not even in those found in Knossos), and no other goddess associated with her is mentioned. Likewise, there is no mention in these writings of other objects of Minoan worship such as bulls, horns, and double axes. This fact may indicates that the Minoan cult was suppressed by the Mycenaean government.
Mycenaean religious worship was expressed in sacrifices and there are those who believe that they included also human sacrifices.
As in Crete, in Mycenae, no monumental temples were found. Rodney Castelden believes that the structures that researchers present as Mycenaean palaces were actually temples. The same approach he applies to the Minoan palaces which in his opinion (see chapter on Minoan architecture)  were actually shrines.

Mycenaean Architecture
The first who exposed the Mycenaean architecture was Heinrich Schliemann, a German merchant amateur archaeologist who worked to discover the Mycenaean treasures. His purpose was to uncover the city and to prove that Troy was not Homer's dream, but a reality.
According to the "Iliad" of Homer, Menelaos, the Spartan king was Agamemnon's brother. Paris, the Trojan prince who was at Menelaus' home in Sparta, took the opportunity of his host being absent from home, to win his wife's affection. The wife was Zeus' daughter Helen, and Paris took her with him to Troy. The legendary reason for this was Venus's promise to Paris, according to which if he would choose her as the most beautiful goddess, he would receive the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta, as a reward.
 Agamemnon, son of Atreus, was determined to avenge the insult done to his brother and his family, and called the Greeks in various parts of Greece and its islands to sail to Troy in order to bring Helen back.
Today, researchers do not believe that the Greeks attacked Troy because of Helen. They believe that it is more likely that   the Greeks were trying to win the treasures of Troy.
Troy, located at the entrance to the Dardanelles Strait, prospered due to the high taxes collected from ships passing through the strait.
The legendary story of Troy sparked the imagination of Schliemann, and stayed with him since he was a child. He sought to find Troy and believed that he found it. Actually he found the treasures of Mycenae - palaces, magnificent tombs and gold objects. Schliemann's guide in his archaeological work was the Greek geographer Pausanias (143-176 AD), who wrote that among the remains of Mycenae's wall there was a gate  over which there were sculptures of lions. Pausanias also wrote that the wall was built by Cyclops (legendary giants with one eye) for Proteus, who, according to myth, founded the city of Tyrins. He also mentioned subterranean structures that belonged to Atreus and his children, where he kept his treasures, and the tombs of Atreus, Agamemnon and his associates. Schliemann realized that Pausanias referred to the Acropolis walls rather than the walls of the city itself, because during Pausanias' time the city was devastated and its remains could not be seen.
Apart from the archaeological excavations in Mycenae Schliemann carried out archaeological excavations in the cities of Ithaca and Orchomenos (during the years 1878 and 1881-1882, respectively), and in the palace of Tiryns (1884-1885). He was also aware of the importance of Crete, but did not live to uncover its treasures.
Mycenaean design motifs were similar to those found in buildings and miniatures from Mesopotamia, such as hybrid animals and pairs of lions presented in mirror image. The Mycenaean builders imitated the Minoan construction technique, using the method of post and beam. Their originality was expressed in creating new types of buildings and developing forms of existing buildings. Two important types of structures that the Mycenaeans developed are the megaron (literally: big room) and tholos tomb.
The megaron is a large rectangular room, long and isolated at the end of a stoa (a roofed structure supported by a row of columns located in its front). The megaron structures had a gate with courtyard in its front with pillars resembling those in Minoan palaces. The Mycenaean gates heralded the Propylaea - a monumental gate at the Acropolis in Athens.
Mycenaean Tholos tombs were built into hills, and were dome-shaped. Inside them were buried the dead members of the royal families. In their structure can be seen the influence of  smaller tholos structures from the Minoan period, which were found in Crete. Initially, the tholos structure was built in gravel, but as time passed, it (including the passage leading to it) was built in ashlar stones.
           Mycenaean Fortresses
In the Mycenaean architecture, like in the Minoan, emphasis was put on palaces rather than on temples. Unlike the Minoan palaces in Crete, Mycenaean palaces,  looked like fortresses. The need for the fortifications, built during the years 1200 to 1400 BCE, was due to foreign invasions.
The outline of the Mycenaean fortification was  drawn according to the topography. The walls followed the natural contour of the site and created a barrier for a potential enemy. The best preserved remains of the most impressive forts are found in Mycenae and Tiryns.. These castles are of the earliest examples of fortification architecture.
The walls surrounding the palace's compound which served as residential area for the king were built of huge stones called "Cyclops" (in ancient Greece it was believed that, as noted, these walls were built by the legendary giants with one eye – the Cyclopes. Some believed that the Mycenaeans themselves were a race of giants). The tremendous weight of the stones and their width (which in Mycenae, for example, came to 14 meters) prevented the demolition of the wall by enemies.
The Cyclops' stones served only for building the outer wall, while the inner wall was built in gravel and soil. These fortifications, in their thickness, height and large stones used for constructing them, resemble those found in the Cycladic islands and in Anatolia (modern Turkey).
Large polygonal stones were roughly bound to each other, and the space between them was filled with small limestone rock rubble. As time passed, walls with large stones hewn in rectangular shape began to be built, probably influenced by the technique of construction in Egypt. Such stones were used for building the sections of the wall near the gates, because the gates are more vulnerable by nature than the wall itself. There were places where the access to the main gates was through a long and steep path artificially constructed (as it was in Tiryns and Gla), and places where the access to the gates was part of the topography (as it was in Mycenae).
The fortified palaces in Mycenae and Tiryns were built not long after the palace of Knossos, but were organized in a different way than the palaces in Crete. In this period were also built the palaces in mainland Greece - in Athens, Thebes, Pylos, Lolkos, and Orchomenos.
While the layout of the Minoan palace resembled a  labyrinth,  the layout of the Mycenaean palace was relatively severe along a tough axis. It was usually a one-story building surrounded by walls of massive stone. So, it differed from the Minoan palaces, which were usually  two-story fortified structures. The walls, as well as the elegant structures culminating in the tholos tombs, were intended to glorify the living king. The inside walls of the palaces, like the inside walls of the Minoan palaces, were covered with plaster and decorated with frescoes.
While the focus of the Minoan palace was a large inner courtyard, the focus of the Mycenaean palace was the megaron – a great hall with an antechamber supported by two round columns at the entrance, which served as a coronation room and possibly also as a center of worship of the palace.
We have already found the megaron in the Minoan palace, but there it was not the center of attention. In the center of the main hall of the megaron, which probably served for ceremonial purpose, there was a round hearth, with four columns in quadratic plan, supporting the ceiling, where there was an opening for smoke. In both sides of the megaron there were corridors which would sometimes open to additional rooms.
Around the palace and around the courtyard leading to it were placed the administrative rooms, oil pressing rooms, workshops, temples, corridors and warehouses of oil and wheat. It was a layout of irregular structures of the kind found in the Minoan palaces.
All the Mycenaean palaces were destroyed during the years 1200-1100 BCE by wild tribes who came from mainland Greece.

The Citadel in Tiryns  
The citadel of Tiryns, towering on a hill about 25 meters above the ground, was probably built around 1400 BCE before the construction of the Mycenaean citadel. In its design can be seen a Minoan influence. The palace has an open square courtyard and megaron surrounded by smaller halls, rooms and corridors. This,   in contrast to the Mycenaean palace where the megaron  was separated from the rest of the palace. 

The heavy walls surrounding Tiryns were built in three stages. In 1400 BCE was built the upper wall. Later, in the late 14th century BCE, was built the main wall, and in 1225 BCE was built a huge wall , more than six meters in width, with underground passages and  fortifications surrounding the two previous walls. This wall, which surrounded the bottom of the hill was intended to protect the civilian population living outside the fortress when needed. The massive stone blocks in the wall were designed to project power and deter potential attackers.
Referring to the Cyclopes stones of  Tiryns,  Pausanias compared their walls to those of the pyramids . The measurements of the stone blocks in which the walls were built came to 1.5 m x 3.5 m. An enemy who dared approach the fort and get on the ramp leading to the main gate of the Acropolis (acropolis, literally in Greek elevated fortified plateau in a city; Acro - high, polis - city), to the east was exposed to the guards at the top. An enemy who would enter through the gate (whose doors were made of wood, and was flanked by fortified towers), and turn to the left to the passage between the outer wall and the wall of the palace, which reached a height of 11 meters, could get into a death trap.
He who entered the the fortress of Tiryns passed through two more gates on his way to the palace. An outer propylon led into a courtyard. To the south of this courtyard were five storage rooms whose walls were as thick as the outer wall.
 To the north of this courtyard there was an inner propylon leading to a courtyard where stood an altar which was probably dedicated to Zeus. This courtyard had a direct access to the ruins of a megaron on whose ruins was later built a temple for Hera.
 Researchers think that adjacent to the eastern wall of the megaron there was a throne, and in its center was a hearth surrounded by four pillars. Additional rooms were found east of the megaron, including a small megaron and two small rooms.
Here, as in other Mycenaean cities, the megaron was the architectural focus of the palace's compound.

                    The Mycenaean Citadel
Mycenae, the center of the Achaeans who invaded the Greek peninsula during the years 1900-1600 BCE, was at its height during the years 1500-1100 BCE. It was a strategic location for kings, and among them the famous Agamemnon, the leader of the the Achaeans during the Trojan War which probably occurred in the 13th century BCE or in the early 12th century BCE.
Mycenae's castle complex is located on a hilltop overlooking the Argolis plains, and accessed by a large ramp. The palace included several floors of halls, megarons, residential apartments and warehouses located around courtyards. Only very few remnants have survived of the buildings, but the ground plan can be seen and also its resemblance to the Minoan plans.
As in other major cities in mainland Greece, such as Tiryns, Argos, Pylos, Athens, Thebes, and Orchomenos,   in the heart of the Mycenaean palace compound was an  impressive megaron, rectangular building with a large hall, a porch, and an entrance hall with a circular hearth. Its length was 13 meters and width - 11.5 meters. The hearth in the center was 3.4 meters in diameter, and four surrounding pillars supported the ceiling. In the center of the ceiling there was an opening for the smoke.
 In front of the megaron, there was an anteroom of the distylos in antis (room with two columns in the front) type. Around the megaron there were smaller rooms. The bedrooms were located upstairs. The walls were built of horizontal and vertical beams with the space between them filled with clay. The walls with the filling material were not aesthetic, and the Mycenaean builders covered them with a layer that beautified and strengthened them.
               Limestone was hewn, cut into brick in rectangular shape and placed in horizontal lines to create the impression of fortification. The interior walls of the palace were lined with plaster on which were painted brightly colored frescoes under Minoan influence.
             The fire that destroyed the building also caused considerable damage to the murals.
In order to adjust to the colder climate in this region, the rooms were not open as those found in the Minoan palaces in Crete,
              Rodney Castelden, in his book (Myceneans, 2005), presents his hypothesis according to   which there was an earlier megaron near the top of the hill, north-west to the later palace. It seems that this was a major building in the site, whether it was a residential building or a temple. This building was square-shaped with a megaron in the center, and an entrance hall leading to a porch. Originally, in the main room there was a fireplace and a throne attached to the wall to the  right of the entrance. It is difficult to restore this palace with certainty.
                     The megaron which was probably located on the top of the hill was built on a north-south axis with smaller rooms along the side walls. It was accessed by a path leading to the Acropolis through the northern, western and southern slopes of the hill. On this route was built a wall and designed a partly roofed procession path. A propylon, a square shaped roofed gate (seven meters in length) with a column on each side, opens into an open courtyard and to its west is found a section of the wall surrounding the palace compound. A ramp led from here to a kind of balcony where could be seen the planes of Argos. To the east of this balcony were two passages leading into the main courtyard ​​11.5 m x 15 m in area.
         Three concentric Cyclops walls built in three stages surrounded the palace. The first wall was built in c.1350 BCE (Some believe that it was built in the 15th century BCE) in irregular cyclops limestone, while taking advantage of the slope. The weight of these stones, which were not chiseled, came to five and six tons.
         In 1250 BCE a larger ring of wall was built. The wall was made of stones shaped like bricks which were laid in horizontal rows. There were two gates in this wall: one called "Lion's Gate", and the other a back gate that could be detected from inside the settlement, but it was difficult to distinguish it from the outside.
          The third wall, which is the outer wall of the city of Mycenae, was built in 1225 BCE and was discovered in 1988  by a group of archaeologists. The wall which is approximately five meters in thickness, protected the residents, including artisans and merchants
       In the north-eastern part of the Mycenaean citadel, near the northern gate, is located a subterranean passage (from approximately 1225 BCE), built with cyclops stones. The passage - one meter in width and ranging from four to five meters in height – leads deep below the structures, to a rectangular pond where water was stored for a siege. Using a pointed arch for building the vault of the passage has made it more stable. Due to the irregularity of the stone walls which were originally covered with plaster, it seems today like a natural cave. 
To this subterranean passage lead 99 irregular stone steps made of relatively small stones which make it difficult to descend. The passage leading to a water source, was camouflaged at the point where the water came out from the fortified site. This indicates that the planners of the water supply systems took into account the possibility of a siege.

        The Mycenaean Lions Gate        
           The Lions Gate, the main gateway to the Mycenaean citadel which was built during the years 1300 -1250 BCE, softens the severity of the fortified wall with the monumental sculpture that decorates it. Over two large standing monoliths is placed a huge beam made of stone about 20 tons in weight and above it is a high relief presenting a pair of lions (some argue that these are lionesses) in a triangular format. The lions whose heads (originally made of metal) have not survived, stand facing each other in a mirror image and between them a Doric column.  
           This type of composition which is called heraldic, was also found in works of art in Mesopotamia. This relief is the first and only monumental architectural sculpture in Mycenae and in Europe. Perhaps it had a symbolic character. The lions were probably meant to symbolize the power of the government, and serve as magical guards of the entrance to the palace. This type of sculpture could be found at the time in other cultures such as Egypt, Mesopotamia and China.
         Apart from a symbolic role, the sculpture of lions had a structural role. It fills the space over the lintel and reduces the load generated by the weight of the huge stone, in being much lighter than the huge adjacent cyclops stones.
          Beside the passage leading to the Lions Gate stand high walls (15 meters in length and 7 meters in width), enabling the guards of the fortress to hit any enemy approaching the gate. These walls were built in ashlar stones cut in rectangular brick shape and placed in horizontal lines.

              The Treasury of Atreus   
         Beside the Lions Gate, outside the city walls, were found two tholos tombs of the kings and their families. There were found nine tholos tombs built into the slopes of the hills of Mycenae.
           The largest and most impressive tholos is the Treasury of Atreus, where a gold death mask, sculptures, reliefs, gold jewelry and other objects (hence the name "Treasury"), were found.
          Atreus was the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus, that Schliemann mistakenly believed that this was his grave. His mistake occurred because Schliemann based his conviction on Paosanias, who wrote in his guide to the monuments in Greece (second century CE), that in Mycenaea was found the Tomb of Agamemnon where he was buried with his family and associates.
   This burial structure, also known as "Agamemnon's Tomb" was built in 1325 BCE (some estimate that in the mid-13th century BCE). Its shape is the typical shape of the Tholos – a tomb crowned with a dome structure, which includes subterranean rock-cut room. The dome structure is built in stone (not rock-cut) into a hill, and includes a dromos - a long unroofed passage, a sort of corridor, 36 meters in length, six meters in width, and thickness reaching three meters. Between this wall and the hill's ground into which the dromos was built, was constructed a sun-dried brick wall, designed to keep the stone walls from moisture.

       The Treasury of Atreus is an amazing architectural masterpiece for its time. The tomb, which had a dome shape has a base 14.5 meters in diameter and 13 meters in height, an impressive architectural achievement, roofing an unprecedentedly large space in ancient times (until the Roman Pantheon was built, about 1,500 years later).
      The dome, which is igloo shaped, is not supported by a keystone, but by a pointed corbel vault  built of 34 rings of ashlar stones, which were cut and placed without cement precisely matching each other. Each ring sticks out a little into the inside space above the lower ring, so that the diameters of the rings are gradually decreasing until one stone closes the dome into a complete vault.
         To the right of the dome structure, there is a rectangular room, whose purpose is not clear. A huge stone weighing about 120 tons roofs the monumental entrance to the Treasury of Atreus, rising to a height exceeding five meters. A red stone relief with spiral patterns hid the space above the entrance, which, was left blank to reduce the pressure on the beam. Flanking the entrance were green columns (today in the British Museum in London). The inner walls of the tomb were originally decorated with bronze tablets.

                           Mycenaean  Residential Houses 
           The history of the Greek house begins in Mycenae. We know very little about the houses of this period. From the few findings revealed, the researchers conclude that the typical house in mainland Greece had a shape of a megaron. Its entrance was shaped as a deep portico with columns leading into the anteroom with a central door that led into the residence.
          The back of the house was designed in the form of an apse (a niche with half-circle shaped based) at times, but in most cases, it was rectangular. The houses of the rich were usually built so that the rooms were set one by one with corridors on both sides of the rows of rooms. Often, stairs led from these corridors upstairs.
The back rooms were used as storerooms and had separate entrance. In the living room there was usually a hearth.
         The Mycenaean residential houses, like the Minoan, were built of wood and stone coated with sun-dried mud bricks. The ground floor was built of stone and gravel and the thickness of the walls was adjusted to the number of floors loaded on them.
         The upper floors were built of sun-dried mud bricks. Mud-brick construction in wood meant flexibility probably intending to protect against earthquakes. The residence usually included a kitchen, altar and hearth. Most of the roofs were flat. Floors in simple houses were made of packed soil and those of the rich were covered with white plaster.
          The researchers believe that the palaces were enlarged copies of the luxurious private homes. Besides the large size, there were many rooms. Like in the private homes, murals adorned the palaces.

                           The Aegean Cities                 
                                     The Minoan City
             In 1900 BCE, Crete was a prosperous place with villages, cities and monumental tombs. After the earthquake that occurred in 1700 BCE brought great destruction on the island, new palaces, luxurious and larger were built, and the cities around them expanded   and were filled with life. Roads were established and large villas were built for local rulers.
         Most cities of Crete were built on the coastline of the island. Their plans were irregular, and almost all them were blocks, alleys that cross each other, paved streets and drainage channels. These were grouped around the market area or around the palace.
        Security considerations had no role in building cities. While in towns in ​​mainland Greece, Mycenae and Tiryns were fortified, in Crete it was not necessary in general. The city of Malia was an exception to be surrounded by a wall. The Minoan labyrinth structure of the non-fortified cities was perhaps a means of protection.
          The Minoan cities were planned by individual architects, who designed certain buildings or at most, a group of buildings. As opposed to the Egyptian cities at the same period, there was no overall planning of cities. The dominant structures in the cities of Crete, like in the Mycenaean cities, were palaces.
        Roads that were built of stone blocks cut with saws connected the Minoan cities.

              The city of Knossos
           Intensive settlement in Knossos, Crete's largest city, was mostly in the Minoan period. At its height, the city probably numbered close to 100,000 residents. The palace was a city in itself. It was built in irregular plan and was surrounded by private residences of the upper class, with only narrow alleys between them. Every house was surrounded by land, no more than 50 square meters in area. Most of the large houses were built on an area of ​​130 square meters, but there were also those that were built on an area of over ​​220 square meters. The size of the house testified to its owner's social status.
          Beyond the private houses were more modest buildings two or three floors in height. These were built  in groups and separated from each other by narrow streets and alleys.
          Knossos was one of the cities where sanitation was of the highest level existing before the 20th century. This city's sanitation situation in the third millennium BCE was much better than that in many of the cities of Europe in the 19th century. The city has also enjoyed peace and security since a powerful navy protected it.

          The City of Gournia          
        The city of Gournia, which covers an area of ​​25,000 square meters, has been inhabited already 3000 years BCE, but the number of residents was not significant until 1600 BCE. The city's ancient name is unknown. The name Gournia (gournes, literally in Greek: pools of  stone) was coined by villagers who lived near the ruins and were impressed by the stone pools in the site.
          In 1600 BCE, there was in this site an important Minoan city, where probably about 4,000 residents lived. It was a medium-sized Minoan city and one of the few cities which were entirely excavated  by archaeologists.
            Gournia, which was destroyed about 1400 BCE, and discovered in excavations in 1901-1905 by archaeologist Harriet Boyd Hawes hundred meters from the beach, provides a representative picture of the cities of Crete in the Late Minoan period. With its strategic location in the narrowest area in the island, the city dominated the ways that led from the cities at the eastern end of the island to those at its western end, and the narrow northern coastline of the Gulf of Mirabello.

Image - Plan of the city of Gournia

        Gournia's prosperity probably originated in its being a center of small industry (spinning, producing clay, casting in bronze, etc.) and trade, and its location at a crossroads. The city was built at the foot of a hill, and was partly surrounded by a circular wide way, paved with rolling stones. Small streets radiating from the center were perpendicular to it. Such additional ring roads formed a complex network of paved roads dividing the city into isolated blocks or apartment buildings.   
       Winding paved alleys led to the palace, which was located in the city center on the top of the hill.
The impression that Gournia creates is of a city that developed randomly without planning. The houses of the city were laid out without regular plan along pebble-paved streets that did not fit the traffic of carriages. The street patterns defined the residential blocks.
           Stairs connected the two ring roads surrounding the lower and upper parts of the city. There were more than 70 small houses close together, some two story buildings, and the largest among them was 5m x5m in area. It seems that houses shared common external walls.
          Gournia's ground level is not uniform. This topographic structure, meant that in many homes, in the rear there was one more floor than in the front. The entrance to the house was placed at the front, at street level. An internal staircase led from the ground floor to the first floor. A typical residential house usually had two floors, as seen in models made of porcelain. Sometimes there was also a third floor.
           In some houses survived warehouses and workshops that were found on the ground floor and in subterranean rooms to which access has been through wooden ladders hanging from the upper floors. The lower part the of the walls of the houses was built in stone, while the top was built of mud bricks.
           In a dense layout of small houses there was also a public space - a rectangular square east of the palace, to which opened many private houses. It probably served as a meeting and trading center and also as a theater. Facing this square, from the palace's southern side, there was a low L-shaped staircase where the residents would probably sit and watch the rituals of worship held in the square. Behind the stairs is a small paved room containing a perforated stone which was  intended to serve as a platform for sacrifices.
              To the North of the palace and apart from it, at the dead end alley, was found a small public temple (3 m x 4 m in area) dedicated to the snake goddess. This temple, where ritual objects and ceramic figurines were found, is the only surviving of its kind. It is a precursor to the later temples dedicated to Athena Polias. The open square in front of the temple apparently served for popular assemblies.
          An elaborate drainage system built of stone channels containing ceramic pipes that pumped water to houses indicate the high level of engineering in Gournia. Like other residents in Crete, the residents if this city also benefited a comfortable lifestyle and high level of sanitation.
            Gournia's interesting feature is its proximity to the local cemetery. A large cemetery located north of the city probably served the rich, and dominated the access road to the city. The burial chambers were built as one story buildings and reflected in their shape the residential architecture in the city. They included narrow warehouses where food was stored for the dead in the afterlife. The cemetery, with its burial structures, was part of Gournia's urban design, creating close contact between the city and the ancestral dead.
           The city was destroyed around 1400 BCE, was conquered by Mycenaeans who built it again, and was completely abandoned in 1200 BCE.

               The City of Phaistos                   
           The City of Phaistos, which was the most significant center in Crete after Knossos, was built on a hilltop (100 m altitude above sea level) in Messara valley. This plane, which is located in the south central part of the island of Crete, and surrounded by mountain ranges, is the most fertile region on the island.
          Paosanias wrote that the city is named after its founder Phaistos, son of Herakles or Ropalos. According to myth, the city was founded by Rhadamanthys, one of the three sons of Zeus and Europe. Rhadamanthys used to visit Zeus every nine months, and returned with new laws that were enforced across the country.
          To the north of Phaistos is the highest mountain in Crete - Mount Psiloritis on whose slope is Kamares cave, which probably served as a center of worship of the city and Messara valley.
          The earliest settlement in Phaistos was near Yeropotamos river, one of the few rivers in Crete flowing all year round. Researchers think that during the early Minoan period small settlements were scattered on the hill where the palace stood. However, archaeological findings suggest that in Phaistos there were palaces before the Minoan period.
            The city of Phaistos participated in the Trojan War and later was one of the most important of the Dorian city-states. It flourished during the ancient Greek and Roman periods. In 200 BCE it was destroyed by residents of the neighboring city Gortyn, which was the most powerful city in the Messara valley.

           The City of Karphi
         Karphi, located 1,100 meters above sea level, was the largest and richest city in Crete after the fall of Knossos. It was built in c.1100 BCE, probably due to the invasion of the Dorians that caused mass flight of residents to the mountains of Crete, where they built outposts. After the year 900 BCE, after the withdrawal of the invaders, the inhabitants abandoned the city and moved to lower sites. All city streets were paved and it was necessary to create terraces.

 Image - The city of Karphi - reconstructed

      The city's population, which numbered roughly 3,500 people, made a living from raising cattle, hunting, and olive groves. The city is exposed to strong winds in winter, but sheltered from northern winds by the mountains to the north of the town. The buildings of the city were mostly single storey houses with courtyards. In some homes, the access to the house was through the roof of the lower house next to it.
        In two cemeteries located not far from the village were found 21 small tholos graves.

         The Mycenaean City

         The researchers believe that the Mycenaean cities were city-states with a loose connections among them. These city-states include among other, Pylos, Thebes, Orchemenos, and Mycenae which was the most powerful.
          The Mycenaeans chose to place their cities, not in the center of the fertile plains, as we would expect from an agricultural population, but on the steep of hills or on acropolis (high plains) and the plain that surrounded it. The hill was associated with status. The palace inside the fort rose on the highest point of the site.
           The City-states were centers of Mycenaean settlement located some distance apart, but they all faced the same center of social life - the fortified palace of the king or leader who was supported by military commanders.
          The Mycenaean city population was arbitrarily divided into classes. The king stood at the top of the hierarchy and his rule was almost absolute. After him in the hierarchy was the upper class  -  army officers, government officials and land owners. The lower class included soldiers, peasants, craftsmen and slaves.
While the Minoan city was not fortified (except for the extraordinary case of Malia), Cyclops walls reaching approximately 10 meters in thickness, and 15 meters in height protected the Mycenaean city. Cities prominent in fortifications besides Mycenae and Tiryns, were  Midea, Asine and Gla.
           The great achievement of the Mycenaeans, who were known as warriors, was a monumental urban planning. They have created a sophisticated architecture that made the Acropolis fortifications look majestic through an array of courtyards, staircases and rooms arranged on one axis. The acropolis, which served as the religious center and central element of the Mycenaean city, continued to exist even at the later period of Greek architecture.

        The City of Mycenae
Mycenae was the leading city in the Mycenaean period. Until recently it was thought that the city was surrounded by small communities and villages. According to new estimates, Mycenae was one city and the settlements which were perceived in the past as separate communities, were in fact a large area of ​​the city itself including the area in the south west along the ridge of Panagia. Its proximity to the fertile valley surrounding it ensured its food supply.
         According to Greek mythology the first fortifications of Mycenae were built by its legendary founder Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae.
         The palace at Mycenae was located in the highest site - the Acropolis. It was surrounded by walls built in three stages (1350, 1250 and 1225 BCE). On the southeast part of the city, a steep slope provided natural protection.
           The lowest Mycenaean citadel served the population living outside the inner wall in difficult times. Before the Lions' Gate, outside the walls, there were small buildings, pavilions of mercenaries, shops and homes of artisans and merchants, which were a sort of  market.
        On the hills near the Acropolis lived residents of various classes. There was a wealthy residential quarter and there were quarters of the smaller houses where the poor lived. The most impressive houses outside the fortress were built on the ridge of Panagia and along the eastern slopes looking out onto the main road to Argos leading to the citadel. The homes of lower class were located on the western slopes of the ridge of Panagia and to the north and north-west of the castle.      
             Mycenae looked like a city, the city called by Hera  - (Iliad, Book Four) "Mycenae of the broad streets."
         At the southern end of town there are no signs of wall fortifications, but there was a guards' structure to protect the spot where the road leading to Argos entered  the city.
         In 1100 BCE Mycenae was burned to the ground. Some 100 years later the Dorians invaded the city from the north and replaced the Mycenaean culture by their own.  Life in the city continued, but the glory has never returned to it. All that has remained today is the city walls and the foundations of its buildings .

      The City of Tiryns
           The city of Tiryns, located about 15 km southeast of Mycenae, is situated on the cliff towering above the plane of Argolis, three kilometers from the beach. Its terrain becomes higher from north to south. Artificial construction has created three levels in the city, of which the southern was the highest, where the king's palace was built. The acropolis was fortified with roughly arranged cyclops stones, which were joined together with cement and dried mud.
          Paosanias tells that Tiryns was named after the son of Argos and the grandson of Zeus - Tiryns. Homer described it as "Tyryns of the big walls". According to Greek mythology Tiryns was built by Proitos with the help of Cyclops from Asia Minor, and was the birthplace of Herakles who is also called Ttiarintiuc Tyrinthius after it. As Mycenae, Tiryns was also ruled by Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danae, and later - by the son of Perseus and Andromeda.
      The earliest settlement in Tiryns was in the Neolithic period, about 5,000 years BCE. Almost all the remains of the ancient settlement were destroyed in the Mycenaean period, but an evidence to the existence of a settlement from the early Bronze Age (2500-2000 BCE) has survived. In the site, on the top of the hill have remained blocks arranged around a large circular building, 28 meters in diameter.
             The city reached its peak during the years 1400-1200  BCE, when the fortifications were built. Is was divided into blocks expanding beyond the wall and around the Acropolis.
          During the Achean period, in the 13th century BCE, Tiryns was an independent kingdom (Some say that it was dominated by Mycenae). About 15,000 inhabitants lived there until the Dorians' invasion in that century.
        Today the ruins of Tiryns cover an area of ​​300 m x 100 m or so, an area that includes the palace on the upper level and commercial, religious and military buildings on the lower level.
             Recently a small temple was discovered in Tiryns, with a stoa leading to a small room. In the center of the room was a fireplace, and a bench adjacent to the back walls.
            the city of Tiryns survived after the fall of Mycenaean culture, but was destroyed by the inhabitants of Argos in 468 BCE.


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