Tholos Tomb of Menidi - History and Facts | History Hit

Tholos Tomb of Menidi

Athens, Greece

This beehive tomb in Acharnes is one of the best-preserved in Europe, having sat hidden for over 3,000 years.

Lucinda Smyth

21 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia / Schuppi

About Tholos Tomb of Menidi

This beehive tomb in Acharnes is one of the best-preserved in Europe, having sat hidden for over 3,000 years.

History of Tholos Tomb of Menidi

In 1872, farmers in the ancient village of Menini, in the village of Acharnes noticed some strange-looking large rocks on the ground. They appeared in a circular formation, as though they had been placed there deliberately. After clearing the surrounding area, more rocks were found, again in a circular pattern. Excavations later revealed it was the site of a Mycenean tholos (beehive) tomb dating from the 13th or 14th century BC.

The tomb sits at the end of a 90-foot-long sunken walkway flanked by stone walls. It leads to a large entrance-way with 3 tombstones above it – the only known tholos tomb with this design. The underground tomb chamber is one of the largest of all Mycenaean tholos tombs, measuring 8.2 metres wide and 9.1 metres high.

The artefacts recovered inside included musical instruments, jewellery, bronze weapons, and a rare ivory compass.

The Tholos Tomb of Menidi today

Today, the tholos tomb of Menini is one of the best-preserved beehive tombs in the country. Although the artefacts are now housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the tombs themselves are well worth a visit. Stone walls flank a walkway which leads to the door of the ancient tomb, comprising three chambers where at least six people are buried. After their burial, the entrance to the tomb was filled in.

Though it is unknown who exactly they are, the sheer size of the tomb and the artefacts found inside indicate that they would have been royalty. The tomb also suggests Acharnes was once an independent entity.

Admission is free.

Getting to the Tholos Tomb of Menidi

The Tholos Tomb of Menidi is situated in the village of Acharnes, north of Athens, and south of the Tatoi Forest. The tomb is located on Posidonos street, just off the main Filadelfias street.

It’s easiest to get there by car, which takes about 30 minutes from the centre of Athens. If using public transport, bus route 755 stops nearby. The nearest train station is Kato Acharnai on Konstantinoupoleos street.