Athens | The archaeological site of Mycenae, one of the most imposing in Greek prehistory, grazed by a forest fire on Sunday, did not suffer major damage, the Greek Minister of Culture assured Monday, after an inspection of the ruins.
“The damage to the archaeological site is as minimal as possible, as the fire services acted quickly and dry vegetation was removed from the area,” Minister Lina Mendoni said on the spot.
The fire broke out at midday on Sunday near the Bronze Age site in the Peloponnese, about 120 km southwest of Athens.
The flames licked the ruins near the tomb of the Homeric hero Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae and leader of the Achaeans during the Trojan War, resulting in the immediate evacuation of visitors and staff.
The city of Mycenae, which overlooks the Argolis plain in the north-eastern Peloponnese, gave its name to the Mycenaean civilization which flourished between 1600 and 1100 BC, and played an essential role in the development of the culture classical Greek.
Its famous 3,250-year-old Lion’s Gate, which marks the entrance to the ancient city, has been blackened by smoke, according to photos released Monday.
The site remained closed to visitors on Monday, but its archaeological museum, which adjoins the ruins, has reopened to the public.
The Minister of Culture said the entire Mycenae site would reopen soon, adding that “visitors would only see a little burnt grass on the ground.”
Greece faces violent forest fires every summer, fueled by drought, high winds and temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees.
13 years ago, the site of Olympia, birthplace of the modern Olympic Games, was affected by fire. Temples and stadiums in the city, located in the northwestern Peloponnese, had been preserved by firefighters, but dozens of residents living in the surrounding area had perished.