Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Piraeus, roughly translating to “the place over the passage”, is an important Greek port located within the Athens agglomeration, in the Attica Basin. It is 12 kilometers from the municipality of Athens, considered the fourth largest and is the third most populous amongst all the municipalities of Greece. Now a peninsula, Piraeus, originally a rocky island, was developed in early 5th Century B.C. when it was initially designated as Athens’ import and transit trade port. It is the largest marine-based shipping center of Greece, one of the largest ports in Europe, and considered the second largest passenger port in the world. Inhabited since the 26th Century, it wasn’t until the 6th Century B.C. that Piraeus began catching attention. The land of Piraeus was essentially impassable, flooded by the sea most of the year until centuries passed and the flooding ceased. By the 5th Century B.C. it became a navy base for the Athenian fleet for the natural harbors and the strategic potential they carried. Athenian general and politician Themistocles fortified Piraeus’ three harbors Kantharos, Zea and Munichia, created ship houses and completed his walls in 471 B.C., which led to the port becoming a great military and commercial harbor. There are many archaeological sites, points of interest and entertainment available in Piraeus. Most famous for its tavernas and cuisine, several popular events take place in Piraeus, such as the Ecocinema International Film Festival, the Maritime Festival, the Piraeus Rock Wave Festival and the Three Kings’ Way Festival. There are also many theaters, including the Municipal Theater, the open air Veakeio Theater, and the Menandreio Theater. Museums in Piraeus include the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, the Merchant Shipping History Institute Exhibition, the Panos Aravantinos Decor Museum, the Georgios Averof Museum Ship and the Museum of Electric Railways. Be sure to catch the panoramic views available from the hill of Kastella, overlooking Athens and the Saronic Gulf!
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