What Kind of Arch Is Used at Lions Gate?

This imposing structure, built during the Late Bronze Age, captivates all who behold it with it’s grandeur and mystery. The Lions Gate derives it’s name from the awe-inspiring relief sculptures of rampant lions that flank the entryway, their stone paws firmly planted as if guarding the secrets of the past. But behind this enigmatic façade lies a structural marvel that’s fascinated archaeologists and historians for centuries – the arch. The arch, a defining feature of the Lions Gate, represents an architectural marvel that was well ahead of it’s time, showcasing the remarkable ingenuity and advanced building techniques employed by the ancient Mycenaeans. So, what kind of arch is used at Lions Gate? Join me on a journey of discovery as we unravel the secrets of this magnificent structure, exploring the unique arch design employed at Lions Gate and the rich historical context that’s shaped it into one of the world's most renowned archaeological treasures.

Is the Lion Gate a Corbelled Arch?

The Lion Gate, also known as the Lions Gate, is an iconic archaeological site located in Mycenae, Greece. This ancient structure is renowned for it’s architectural ingenuity, but contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t feature a corbelled arch. Instead, the gate showcases a different type of arch known as a relieving arch.

A relieving arch is a variant of the corbeled arch, as it also lightens the load supported by the lintel. However, unlike a corbeled arch that gradually projects stone blocks inward until they meet at the center, a relieving arch consists of stones arranged in an upwardly curving arch that bridges the gap above the lintel. This innovative technique effectively distributes the weight over a wider area, minimizing stress on the lintel and allowing for the creation of larger openings.

History and Significance of the Lion Gate in Mycenae

The Lion Gate in Mycenae is a monumental entrance that dates back to the late Bronze Age, around the 13th century BCE. It’s the main entrance to the fortified city of Mycenae, located in modern-day Greece.

The Lion Gate is named after the two large limestone lions that stand above the entranceway. These lions, with their imposing presence, signify strength and power. The gate itself is made of massive stone blocks, creating a grand and awe-inspiring entrance.

The Lion Gate holds great historical and symbolic significance. It’s considered one of the finest examples of ancient Greek architecture and engineering. The gate not only served as a formidable defense mechanism but also represented the authority and prestige of Mycenae.

Architecturally, the Lion Gate features a unique type of arch known as a corbel arch. This type of arch is created by layering stone blocks horizontally, gradually projecting inward until they meet at the top. The corbel arch design provides stability and strength to the structure, allowing it to withstand the test of time.

Today, the Lion Gate is an iconic symbol of Mycenae and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to admire it’s historical significance, impressive architecture, and the powerful imagery of the lion sculptures.

The Lion Gate of Mycenae, a main entrance to the Bronze Age citadel, is made of dressed stone laid in regular courses, known as ashlar masonry. The gate itself and the surrounding walls, which are nearly 20 feet thick, are constructed using these massive stones. This type of construction is often referred to as Cyclopean due to the impressive size of the stones used.

What Is the Lion Gate of Mycenae Made Of?

The Lion Gate of Mycenae is a remarkable structure made of ashlar masonry, which involves the use of dressed stones laid in regular courses. This technique creates a visually appealing and robust architecture that’s withstood the test of time. The gate itself, as well as the surrounding walls, are constructed with immense stones, towering almost 20 feet thick.

The Lion Gate holds significant historical and archaeological value, serving as the main entrance to the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae. This entrance was erected approximately 1250 BC during the thirteenth century BC. Located on the northwestern side of the acropolis, it stands as a testament to the advanced engineering skills and artistic craftsmanship of the time.

The stones used to build the Lion Gate and the walls of Mycenae are often referred to as Cyclopean. This term originates from the belief that only giants or Cyclopes (mythological beings) could have lifted and placed such massive stones. While the actual method of construction remains a subject of debate, what’s undeniable is the awe-inspiring grandeur and durability of the structure.

The precise fitting of the dressed stones creates a seamless and imposing façade that’s fascinated historians and visitors alike. The gates design features two massive stone monoliths with a lintel stone above, forming an imposing entrance crowned by a triangular pediment.

Despite being thousands of years old, the Lion Gate still stands proudly, offering a glimpse into the rich history and culture of ancient Greece. It’s construction and use of ashlar masonry continue to captivate scholars, architects, and tourists, reminding us of the ingenuity and creativity of our ancestors. The Lion Gate serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of the ancient civilizations that thrived in this region, leaving behind impressive architectural masterpieces that continue to inspire and awe.

The Significance of the Lion Gate in Mycenaean Culture: Explore the Cultural and Religious Importance of the Lion Gate in the Context of Mycenaean Civilization.

The Lion Gate is an iconic archaeological site that holds immense cultural and religious significance within the context of the ancient Mycenaean civilization. It’s a grand entranceway to the citadel of Mycenae, an ancient Greek city. The gate is named after the magnificent relief sculpture depicting two lions standing on either side of a column, creating an imposing and awe-inspiring entrance.

Within the Mycenaean culture, the Lion Gate represents the power and authority of the ruling elite. It signifies a symbol of protection, strength, and regality, reflecting the values and aspirations of the civilization. The lion, known for it’s bravery and ferocity, epitomizes these qualities and is often associated with the divine and otherworldly.

The Lions Gate also has religious connotations, as it was believed to be a sacred threshold between the earthly realm and the realm of the gods. Passing through this gate was seen as a transition from the secular world to the divine, making it a crucial site for religious rituals and ceremonies.

Overall, the Lion Gate at Mycenae serves as a testament to the artistic skill and religious beliefs of the Mycenaean civilization. It encapsulates their values of power, authority, and the nexus between the mortal and the divine.


It’s unique horseshoe shape, constructed with carefully carved and solid stone blocks, showcases the mastery of engineering employed by it’s creators. The arch's aesthetic appeal and structural strength have endured the test of time, serving as a testament to the rich historical and cultural heritage of the region. Understanding the significance of this architectural marvel deepens our appreciation of the past, reminding us of the remarkable achievements accomplished by ancient civilizations.

Scroll to Top