Piraeus - The Port Of Ancient Athens
By Jakob Jelling
Piraeus, also known as Peiraeus or Pireas, is a city located in the prefecture of Attica, towards the southern side of Athens. This city's main attraction is based on the fact that in ancient Greece, it was used as Athens' main port, and therefore it played a very important role in the city's life.
Besides than being the port of ancient Athens, Piraeus has been also named port of modern Athens since 1834. This way, nowadays this port can be seen in action, and although it does not look just like it used in ancient Greece, it still shows some of such antique characteristics which turn it into a very interesting and peculiar place to meet.
The name of this area, Piraeus, means "the place over the passage", a meaning which is very significant to its past history. In its origins as a populated area, Piraeus was a small island which was connected to the land by a narrow stretch of land. Although at first the area received other denominations, this geographical characteristic finally inspired the actual name.
Although its main port is the most famous one, Piraeus also has two other smaller harbors which have also helped turning this spot into a very active one. The benefits of this spot and its harbor was not noticed until the decade of 490 BC when Themistocles constructed a fortification by this spot with the purpose of being able t easily use the ports and protect the citizens of Athens from Persians attacks.
Piraeus has a population of about 175.000 people, with a density of 15.972 inhabitants per km2. IT is one of the few municipal authorities located within the metropolitan area of Athens. Besides Pireus, this metropolitan area has other municipal authorities among which we can name Keratsini, Korydalos, Drapetsona, Nikaia, Perama, and Rentis.
Piraeus has been home town of several important people, such as per example the Andrianoloulos brothers, who founded the Olympiacos sporting club, Yiorgos Batis, an important Greek musician who lived between 1885 and 1967, or Dimitris Gkogkos, an important Greek musician from beginnings of the XX century.