The city of Tiryns, situated on a ridge in the plain between Nauplion and Mycenae, has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age (3rd millennium BCE) but attained its greatest splendor in the late Mycenaean period (c. 1400-1200 BCE). The bluff on which it stood was only 18 m (59 ft) higher than the surrounding plain, which in ancient times was a salt march. Tiryns was associated in ancient legend with Perseus and with Eurysthus, in whose service Hercules performed his twelve labors.  The palace on the summit of the citadel was excavated (1884-85) by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and until the later discoveries in Crete was considered the most complete example of the home of a prehistoric king in the Aegean area. It includes entrance gates, paved courts, large halls, vestibules, smaller rooms, and a bath. It was apparently built by stages; the complex of buildings representing both earlier and later palaces. Tiryns survived into the classical period but was destroyed by Argos about 468 BCE.

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Plan of TirynsPlan of the citadel of Tiryns.

West side of Tiryns

Panoramic view of the fortification walls along the western side of the citadel of Tiryns. The citadel confirms Homer's epithet "mighty-walled". The citadel's impressively thick fortress walls have stood for over thirty centuries.

East rampThe ramp on the east side of the acropolis leads to the main entrance.
Entrance passage & main gate  

The entrance passage and main gate of the acropolis, located along the eastern side of the citadel, leads to the palace.
Cyclopean wallsThe Cyclopean walls which surround the citadel have a total perimeter of approximately 700 m (2,300 ft) and a width between 4.5 and 8 m (26 ft). The fortifications, over double their present height, were stronger than those of Mycenae since Tiryns was not located on a naturally strong site. The palaceView of the palace looking west.
Small & Great MegaronThe palace of the acropolis of Tiryns. The small megaron (mid-left) and part of the Great Megaron (front-right) of the palace are visible. The top on the east ramp is also visible to the far left. Great MegaronThe northeast view of the Great Megaron (foreground) and the small megaron (far left) and courtyard (far right) in the background. The top on the east ramp is also barely visible in the distant background (middle). The Great MegaronThe southeast view of the Great Megaron of the palace.
View of the palaceView of the palace. SE corner of the palaceThe southeast corner of the palace. Corbelled galleryOne of the galleries in the acropolis. The upper courses of the walls are corbelled inwards, narrowing to a sharp angle at the top. The galleries lead to a series of storerooms.

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All pictures are Copyright 2000 Grisel Gonzalez and Jeff Prosise