Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, was not just one port, but rather a complex of ports that served different purposes throughout history. The port complex consisted of three main harbors: Kantharos, Zea, and Munichia, each with its own distinct characteristics and functions.

Kantharos (nowadays, main port), the largest and deepest of the three ports, was the main commercial harbor of Piraeus. It was a natural harbor with a narrow entrance that was easily defended, making it a safe haven for ships during times of war. Kantharos was surrounded by warehouses, workshops, and other commercial infrastructure, and it was the center of the city’s maritime trade.

Zea (nowadays, Marina Zea),  the middle harbor, was the military port of Piraeus. It was named after the ancient Greek word for “boiling”, due to the bubbling of the water caused by the many ships entering and leaving the harbor. Zea was home to the naval installations of Athens, including shipyards, workshops, and a large naval arsenal. The harbor was also home to the famous triremes, the fast and maneuverable warships that were the backbone of the Athenian navy.

Munichia (nowdays, Mikrolimano), the smallest of the three ports, was the least important in terms of commerce and military operations. It was mainly used for fishing and leisure activities, and it was home to a small temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis.

Despite their different functions, the three ports of Piraeus were connected by a network of roads and walls, forming a unified complex that was essential to the economic and military power of Athens. The port complex was protected by a system of fortifications, including the famous Long Walls of Athens, that connected the city to its ports and provided a secure passage for Athenians to travel between the city and the port.

Today, the ancient ports of Piraeus are still visible, although much of the infrastructure has been replaced or modified over the centuries. Visitors to Piraeus can still see the remains of the ancient harbors, as well as the Long Walls of Athens and other important landmarks and monuments that attest to the city’s rich and fascinating history.