Piraeus in Greece
Piraeus was known in medieval times as Porto Leone, a name due to the enormous stone lion, which guarded the port's entrance. So, its life had been joined to the sea since its creation. Today, the life of Piraeus is centred on its three ports. You can walk around the central harbour, shared by cargo and passenger ships alike, and watch the constant comings and goings of goods and people from around the world. Then, continue your walk to the other two... Read more...
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Piraeus was known in medieval times as Porto Leone, a name due to the enormous stone lion, which guarded the port's entrance. So, its life had been joined to the sea since its creation.
Today, the life of Piraeus is centred on its three ports. You can walk around the central harbour, shared by cargo and passenger ships alike, and watch the constant comings and goings of goods and people from around the world.
Then, continue your walk to the other two harbours, Zea and Mikrolimano, maybe touristier and more pleasant for the visitors. Piraeus is not only a harbour, this city is full of surprises and unexpected sights worth to explore.
Piraeus is next to Athens. You can get there through Pireos Street or by the coastal road, following the signs to Piraeus and to the port.
You can also catch a train from the center of Athens (Omonoia Station). The terminal station is located next to the port.
Regional buses from almost every part of Athens, also head to different areas of Piraeus.
Many buses run through Piraeus. More info on the routes here www.oasa.gr
When to go
Piraeus is by the sea, but you won't find any beaches, or the ones that you may find are not suitable for swimming, as the port and the urban life, have polluted the sea. So avoid summertime as it can get very hot. Prefer to visit the city in spring and fall.
Zanni & Afentouli, Tel: 213 2081000
Mantouvalou 3, Nikaia, Tel: 213 2077000
Piraeus has been inhabitated since the mid of the 3rd millennium B.C. Even thought, Piraeus remained an insignificant place until the 5th century B.C. It was then that the city was fortified and expanded based on an urban plan. The port was innovative for its time, as it had piers, docks, warehouses, lodges, markets and a place for exchanging goods. The port was mainly used for imported goods and it had great shipping and freight traffic, especially from October to April, when the weather conditions facilitated the travel of sailboats.
Many foreign retailers stayed permanently in Piraeus. The presence of these people and the busy port influenced the locals in the direction of adopting more progressive opinions and becoming more open-minded. At that times, the city was characterized as “the London of antiquity” because the prices of many goods were formed here and the tariffs for several things was determined at the port
The decline of Piraeus came together with the decline of Athens, after wars and the invasion of Romans. From that time and onwards, the city almost didn’t exist. The port had none or minimal traffic, although it was used from Byzantines and pirates. From 1318 A.D., Piraeus was renamed to “Porto Leone”, “Porto Draco”, and later “Aslan Harbor”, because of the marble statue of a lion. The lion stood there until 1688, when it was taken to Venice.
Throughout the Ottoman period, the desolation and abandonment were the main characteristics in the area of Piraeus.
After the Greek Revolution in 1821, people come to live again in Piraeus. In 1835 the municipality of Piraeus is founded. Athens is the capital of the Greece and the future development of the city is obvious. So many people come to live in Piraeus. The port acquires its old glamor and strength and it becomes the most important in the country. Trade and industry develop and the population grows.