The Greeks we usually think about and talk about did not know that their Mycenaean ancestors ever lived. A great Dark Age is in between the Classical Greeks and the Mycenaean Greeks. Mycenaean Greece is buried in the dark past and beneath heaps of rubble.
The Classical Greeks did see some of the Mycenaean palaces and citadels. They found them strange. They were made with such huge stones. Some of the stones weighed as much as two tons each. The Classical Greeks had an answer for how these buildings came about. They were buildings built by the one-eyed giants called the cyclopes.
As the the Mycenaean buildings are unearthed, the archeologists call their design cyclopeian. That's because the archeologists are also amazed by the size of the stones used in buildings.
Just how the Mycenaean workers are able to move and stack such heavy stones is still unknown. It is an amazing feat of engineering and construction. Nothing like it would be seen until the Classical Greeks began building temples. Even then, the Classical Greeks used much smaller stones.
Clearly, such a walled fortress is easy to defend. It is difficult to capture. And when richly equipped and decorated it is an appropriate home for a king.
Above, you see the Lions Gate. It is the main entrance to the Palace of Mycenae. The Palace of Mycenae is supposed to be the home of the great king Agamemnon. In the Iliad, he is referred to as the king of kings meaning the greatest and most important of the Greek kings. The gate is designed to show the importance and power of the king both by its size and the lions. Think of what you would have felt like back in that time walking down this entry way and through that great gate. Think what this gate on such a palace said about the owner of this palace.
The German, Heinrich Schliemann, first dug up the ancient city of Troy in what is now Turkey. After his "success" there, which focused as much on finding treasure as doing history, Schliemann turned to Greece. He wanted to dig up the Palace of Mycenae. The story of the Trojan War says it was the site of riches. He unearthed parts of the palace. These included graves. The beehive graves often contained considerable treasures. Rich people are buried with much of their wealth to demonstrate for all time their power and importance.