View of Mikrolimano, Piraeus.|
View of Mikrolimano, Piraeus.
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Among the archaeological sites of Piraeus, parts of the ancient Themistoclean Walls and Eetioneia, a mole in the entrance to the harbour, are still preserved in good condition. Excavations in Pasalimani revealed the Skeuotheke, an ancient structure where ship rigging equipment was stored, designed by architect Philon. In Kastella the Syrangion is to be found, which probably served as a sanctuary to the local hero Syrango, and the Cave of Arethusa, both prehistoric. Ruins of the ancient city at the basement of the cathedral of Agia Triada and the ancient Theater of Zea next to the Archaeological Museum, the ancient neosoikoi in Zea, Munichia and Kantharos navy yard, can also be seen.
The Bronze Statues
The discovery of four bronze statues at a construction site near the Tinaneios Gardens in Piraeus, Greece on July 18, 1959 is still remembered by an entire generation as a momentous discovery in Modern Greek archaeology. The statues are now featured in the Piraeus Museum, and are largely responsible for the creation of the modern Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. While drilling in order to lay pipes, the Hydrex Company came across the hand of a bronze kouros (youth) at a depth of approximately 1.50 meters. Excavations began after the custodian of the local museum, Dimitrios Kalantonis, and the Director of the Archaeological Service, Yiannis Papdimitriou, were informed. Four noteworthy bronze statues were uncovered in the continuing excavations – the Archaic Apollo (the kouros whose hand had originally been seen), the large Artemis, a smaller Artemis, and a larger-than-life Athena. However, the enthusiasm for the dig led to poor documentation of the details and context of the finds, leaving rare photos taken by the media or public as the only record. There are multiple theories as to how the statues came to be carefully arranged within what is thought to have been a small square room. When and why the statues were apparently hidden is open to debate, along with their origins, date, and style. One early theory suggests that the statues had been stored near the harbour with the intention of being shipped to Italy ; however, the presence of coins near the statues dating from a period of war opens up another possibility – that the statues were hidden for safe keeping, and then lost when the building was destroyed. Dating the concealment of the statues is another issue, as they may have been buried anytime between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD. The statue of the kouros was recognized to be of Apollo, and dated to the 5th century BC. The other three female statues, from the 4th century BC, show a different, more human, form of sculpture that sets them apart from their older companion.
Leisure and entertainment
The city provides a wide variety of entertainment. Piraeus is famous for its tavernas and restaurants, renowned for their cuisine. Most are spread along the coasts of Mikrolimano and Piraiki, specializing in seafood and attracting many visitors, including tourists. The nightlife of the city is vibrant, with numerous bars and nightclubs. Plenty of major shopping areas can be found on the central avenues of Piraeus, Iroon Polytechneiou and Grigoriou Labraki.
One of the most popular events in Piraeus is the Ecocinema International Film Festival, staged annually in late February. During this event, a number of films are screened at the Atticon Cinema and the Cineac Cinema, both of which are to be found within the city's Town Hall Square. In the summer, the Maritime Festival and the Piraeus Rock Wave Festival take place, while the Three Kings' Way Festival marks the beginning of the carnival, with all the associated costumes and entertainment.
The Municipal Theater of city has been the center of the arts in Piraeus, hosting a variety of cultural events including theater, dance and music events. The open air Veakeio Theater in Kastella is a popular destination during the summer and hosts concerts, folk music bands and Greek and foreign troupes, while the Menandreio Theater, widely known as Delfinario, is popular for hosting variety shows. Village Park, a large multipurpose center and part of the Village Cinemas built in suburban Agios Ioannis Rentis, attracts a large number of people from the whole of Athens, offering a diversity of shops, cafes, and restaurant, in addition to the twenty cinemas making it the largest cinema complex in Greece. Next to it, the Allou Fun Park is the most recent and largest amusement theme park in Athens, offering its numerous rides and attractions, restaurants and pastry shops.
Piraeus is home to several museums and other institutions of great interest within their field. The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus displays objects from classical antiquity found at the area of Piraeus and the greater coastal zone, typical of the history and culture of the ancient city. The city also houses the Hellenic Maritime Museum, with exhibits relating to the nautical tradition of Greece, the Panos Aravantinos Decor Museum, the Georgios Averof Museum Ship and the Museum of Electric Railways, hosted in the Piraeus station. The Municipal Art Gallery and the Municipal Library, one of the largest in Greece, are also prominent within the culture of Piraeus.
Traditionally, Piraeus has played a major role in Greek sport. The city boasts the most popular and one of the most prestigious Greek multisport clubs, Olympiacos CFP. The other major club is Ethnikos Piraeus, with a long athletic tradition, while other historic clubs are Atromitos Piraeus F.C. and Peiraikos Syndesmos. Others historic clubs from an another city of Piraues are Proodeftiki F.C. of Nikaia and Ionikos of Nikaia.
In football, Olympiacos F.C. is the most successful club in Greece, having won by far more titles than any other Greek football club, and its ground is at the Karaiskakis Stadium, in Neo Faliro. Ethnikos Piraeus F.C. had a longstanding presence in Super League Greece and also used the Karaiskakis Stadium as home ground, but in recent years the club has competed in lower divisions and currently plays home matches at the Helleniko Stadium, in Ellinikon. Proodeftiki F.C. of Nikaia had a longstanding presence in Super League Greece and also used the Karaiskakis Stadium as home ground, but currently uses as home ground the Municipal Stadium Nikaia. Ionikos of Nikaia had a longstanding presence in Super League Greece and its home ground is the Municipal Stadium Neapoli.
In basketball, Olympiacos B.C. is the only major club from Piraeus, one of the most successful at domestic and European level, and its home arena is the Peace and Friendship Stadium, while the volleyball department of the same club, Olympiacos S.C., is the dominant domestically and has made great success in European competitions as well. Piraeus rides really high in water polo, where Ethnikos Piraeus and Olympiacos departments have entirely dominated in Greece; the first is considered the "Emperor" of the sport and the latter is the only Greek water polo club to have been crowned European Champion.
First class sporting facilities can be found in Piraeus. The Karaiskakis Stadium, built in 1885 as a bicycle track, enlarged in 1964 and completely rebuilt in 2004, is the second largest football venue in Greece with a capacity of 33,334 and one of the most modern in Europe. It hosted the 1971 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final and several games of the football tournament in the 2004 Summer Olympics, while it was used as a velodrome in the 1896 Summer Olympics. The Peace and Friendship Stadium, part of the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex and built in 1985 opposite to the Karaiskakis Stadium, is the second largest indoor arena in the country and one of the most impressive around Europe, having hosted multiply major international events in several sports, including the volleyball tournament in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 1998 FIBA World Championship, the EuroBasket 1987 and the Final Four of the Euroleague 1993.
Greek Maritime Industry
In addition to being the largest marine–based shipping centre of Greece, Piraeus is also the commercial hub of Greek shipping, with most of Greece's shipowners basing their commercial operations there, largely centred around the street Akti Miaouli. In its capacities as host to Greek shipping, Piraeus has been affected significantly by the various governments of Greece. Following World War II, the Greek government attempted to nationalize the proceeds of the insurance payments given to Greek shipowners who had lost vessels as a result of those vessels having been commandeered by the Allied Forces; the insurance had been provided by Lloyd's of London and guaranteed by the coalition of the allied forces. Although Greek shipowners ultimately won their case against the Greek government in the British courts, most were uninterested in continuing to base their headquarters in Piraeus, both out of distrust of the Greek government, and because the war had left the greater Athens area in a state of severe poverty. As a result, Greece's shipowners left Piraeus en masse in favour of operations in London, New York, Alexandria and other major shipping cities.
1967 Military junta
In 1967, when a group of colonels staged a coup d'état against the government, in order to increase desperately needed revenues, the junta offered lavish incentives for Greek shipowners to bring their companies back to Piraeus. This included both tax incentives and other inducements, as highlighted by the fact that Aristotle Onassis was allowed to purchase the entire island of Skorpios, which otherwise would have been a violation of Greek coastline laws.
1974 democratic government
After the junta fell in 1974, the successive democratic government generally maintained the deregulation of Greek-based shipping, and many shipowners have maintained commercial operations there since. Today, however, as a result of traffic congestion plaguing the Athens area, and the fact that most shipowners reside in the lavish northern suburbs of Athens, many shipowners have opted once again to move their bases away from Piraeus to Northern Athens.
Piraeus, nevertheless, is still a major centre for Greek and international shipping, and bi-annually acts as the focus for a major shipping convention, known as Posidonia, which attracts maritime industry professionals from all over the world. Piraeus today is one of the largest ports in Europe, and the annual number of 19 million passengers makes it the third largest worldwide in terms of passenger transportation. Piraeus is currently Greece's third-busiest port in terms of tons of goods transported, behind Aghioi Theodoroi and Thessaloniki. The central port serves ferry routes to almost every island in the eastern portion of Greece, the island of Crete, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, and much of the northern and the eastern Aegean Sea, while the western part of the port is used for cargo services.
The following operators serve the port:
- Minoan Lines
- ANEK Lines
- Blue Star Ferries
- GA Ferries
- NEL Lines
- LANE Lines
- Aegean Speed Lines
- Hellenic Seaways
- Louis Cruise Lines
- Monarch Classic Cruises
Piraeus is served by autobuses, trolleybuses (ILPAP), Proastiakos, the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP) and the Athens Tram. Piraeus station refers to the two railway termini located next to the seaport.
The city of Piraeus is marked by the diversity of culture among its neighbourhoods. The hill of Kastella is one of the most prosperous and attractive neighbourhoods of the city, with a panoramic view over Athens and the Saronic Gulf. Its elegance comes from its numerous neo-classical mansions, while the Veakeio Theater and a church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah are the most popular buildings. The coastal area of Neo Faliro has been upgraded and is also prominent, with the Peace and Friendship Stadium and the Karaiskakis Stadium, an indoor arena and a football ground respectively lying opposite one another, predominating. Mikrolimano and Bay of Zea, the smaller harbours of the city, attract large numbers of visitors with their picturesque vistas and vigorous nightlife, hosting fishing boats as well as yachts and cruise ships. Kaminia, by contrast, is a working-class neighbourhood which still preserves the traditional look of an earlier period. The Municipal Theater in downtown Piraeus was built in 1885 and remains an impressive neo-classical building. Located across from the Neo-Byzantine Piraeus Cathedral, it forms one of the most renowned landmarks of the city and a popular meeting place.
Movies filmed in Piraeus include:
- Stella (1955 film)
- The Angry Hills (film)
- Never on Sunday
- The Red Lanterns
- The Burglars, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo
Twin towns — sister cities
Piraeus is twinned with:
Mayors of Piraeus
- Katina Paxinou, actress
- Dimitris Pikionis, architect
- Dimitris Papamichael, actor
- Aimilios Veakis, actor
- Dimitris Rontiris, actor and director
- Yannis Tsarouchis, artist and painter
- Thanassis Vengos, actor
- Nicola Zaccaria, Greek bass
- Octavian Morosan, salt mine
- Giorgos Dalaras, singer
- Costas Simitis, PM of Greece
- Charilaos Vasilakos, Olympic medalist
- Tolis Voskopoulos, singer
- Pantelis Thalassinos, singer and song-writer
- Jannis Kounellis, artist
- Piraeus map 1908.jpg
Map of Piraeus, 1908
- 20100412 egine19.jpg
The promenade with the Piraeus Tower, built in the 70s
- Statue de Thémistocle.JPG
Statue of Themistocles
- Lion of Piraeus.JPG
A modern copy of the "Piraeus Lion"
- Piraeus Kastella1.JPG
View of Kastella
- Peiraias budynek 3.jpg
Buildings of the city
- Attica 06-13 Piraeus 06 StNicholas Church.jpg
The church of St.Nicholas
- Karaiskakis Faliro monument.jpg
Monument to Georgios Karaiskakis
- Agios Konstantinos Piraeus.JPG
Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen
- Piraeus port pedestrian bridge.jpg
The pedestrian bridge outside the metro station
- List of settlements in Attica
- Never on Sunday – Film set in Piraeus
- Tintin and the Golden Fleece
- Geography of Greece
- "Detailed census results 2011" (in Greek).
- National Statistical Service of Greece (2002). Στατιστική Επετηρίδα της Ελλάδος 2002 (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. p. 54.
The table includes the urban areas of Greece, officially defined by the National Statistical Service of Greece, powered by the Ministry of Finance of Greece. The municipality of Piraeus and its greater area belong to the Athens urban area (Πολεοδομικό Συγκρότημα Αθηνών), referred to as greater Athens.
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- ზოგადი ინფორმაცია / დამეგობრებული ქალაქები [in Georgian]
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- 12px This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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