Piraeus Tourist Attractions
Piraeus, now part of the Athens conurbation, is Greece's largest port and a major factor in the country's economy. From here ships sail to ports all over Europe and the Near East, and this is also the starting point of most domestic shipping routes, including services to the numerous islands which now attract so many visitors.
Piraeus was developed by Themistokles from 482 B.C. onwards as a commercial harbor and naval base for Athens. It was connected with Athens by the "Long Walls" and laid out in the time of Perikles on a regular street pattern in accordance with the system evolved by Hippodamos of Miletus. The town was destroyed by Sulla in 86 B.C. and thereafter was a place of no importance. In the Middle Ages it was known as Porto Leone, after an ancient marble figure of a lion which stood at the entrance to the harbor but was removed to Venice in 1682 and now stands outside the Arsenal there.Piraeus recovered its importance after the liberation of Greece in the 19th century, when the modern town was laid out on a regular plan as the ancient one had been.In addition to the principal harbor of Kantharos the two smaller ancient harbors on the east side of the town - Bassalimáni (the ancient Zea) and Mikrolímano, formerly called Turkolímano (the ancient Mounychia) - are still in use.New port installations to relieve the pressure on Piraeus are being developed in Pháliron Bay, site of the earliest harbor of Athens before the foundation of Piraeus.The most characteristic parts of the modern town, which combines the atmosphere of a large port with the amenities of a city, are around the principal harbor, in Korais Square on the higher ground between that harbor and Mikrolímano with its numerous tavernas.Piraeus is situated to the South West of Athens city centre and is accessible by Metro and buses. This is where most visitors will catch ferries to the Cyclades and other major destinations.
At Piraeus in addition to the principal harbor, Kántharos, the smaller ancient harbors to the east are still in use - Pasalimáni (ancient Zea), Tourkolímano and recently also Mikrolímano (ancient Mounychia). New port installations to relieve the pressure on the main harbor are under construction at Fáliron, where the original harbor of Athens, before Piraeus, had been. The most characteristic parts of the modern town, which combines the atmosphere of a large port with the amenities of a city, are around the principal harbor, around Mikrolímano with its tavernas, and in Korais Square, on the hill between the two harbors.
The remains of ancient boat-sheds can be seen under water on the east side of Pasalimáni harbor and behind the Archeological Museum in Chariláou Trikoúpi Street is a Hellenistic theater (second century B.C.). Stretches of Konon's town walls (394-339 B.C.) can be seen at the southwest tip of the town.
Greek Maritime Museum and the Hellenic Maritime Museum
The Greek Maritime Museum is housed in a modern semi-circular building on the Nea Marina, with the development of Greek sea-faring since ancient times being explained by exhibits covering 12 rooms. There are drawings and models of old ships as well as portrayals of famous sea-battles, including the battles of Salamis and Lepanto.The bridge of the submarine "Papanikolis" has been erected in the courtyard of the museum, and attracts a lot of visitors.An extensive and highly informative museum library is being built.
Piraeus Archaeological Museum and the Hellenistic Theatre
In the Archeological Museum of Pireaus can be seen the famous bronze statues of Athene (fourth century B.C.) and Apollo (sixth century B.C.), which were rediscovered some time ago in the nearby harbor.Other exhibits include black and red figured vases, tomb reliefs and interesting representations of battles between Greeks and Amazons.To the west, near the Archeological Museum, is the Hellenistic theater (second century B.C.). Round the west and south sides of the peninsula between the Kántharos and Pasalimáni harbors are remains of Konon's town walls (394-339 B.C.).
Address: 31 Charilaou Trikoupi Street, 18536 Piraiás, Greece
Opening hours: 8:30am-3pm; Closed: Mon
Always opened on: Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Óhi Day - Greece & Cyprus (Oct 28)
Entrance fee: Adult Admission Cost, Concession or reduced rate Discount, Students from EU Free, Child 17 & under Free
Useful tips: Admission is free on Sundays between November and March and on the first Sunday of each month except July, August and September.