Piraeus, the foremost among Mediterranean ports is also one of the largest cities in Greece. It has been the port of Athens since ancient times. Themistokles started the “Long Walls” between Athens and Piraeus in 480 B.C. However, later they were destroyed by roman Sulla in 86 B.C. and at Middle Ages Piraeus was no more than a fishing village. Piraeus was once again revitalized with New-Classical buildings and modern factories, after Athens became the Greek capital in 1834. Later in 1923, one hundred thousands refugees came to Piraeus from Asia Minor, bringing their culture and contributing to the cosmopolitan flavor of this modern port city of our days.
N O W D A Y S
Contemporary Piraeus is actually the same city with Athens constitutes the Southwest part of the four million habitants city. It is not only one of the most significant cities of shipping business around the world, but the gate of continental Greece to it’s hundreds of islands as well. A modern port-city with the highest financial activity in Greece, the biggest passenger port in Europe, and among the biggest commercial ports in the world.
But Piraeus is not only business. Although many irreplaceable New-Classical public buildings were razed in late sixties civic pride re-emerged with a vengeance. Beside the Municipal Theatre, one can find nice little open-air restaurants and fountains at the shade of building’ s New-Classical facades. On the narrow streets behind the main banks and ticket offices that rim the central ferry port, there are smart restaurants and shops, as well as some fine samples of New-Classical architecture such as the Electric Railway’ s Terminal and National Bank of Greece building by the port, the N.A.T. manor and Bank’ s of Greece building at Gounari street etc.
At the south and east area of the electric railway terminal lays the lively market area, with an unusual and at the same time seductive combination of activities: fishmongers’, fruit and vegetable stalls together with chandlers and hardware stores.
On Sunday mornings there is also a bustling flea market, which is centered on the antique shops around Ippodameias Square and also on the proximate streets by the railways.