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Shepherd Entertainment gives you the history of Pireus and takes you on a tour of the its sites and attractions. Pireus visitors
may explore the busy Pireus Harbor, the unique Circular Bay and the Tourkolimano Harbor with its sports facilities.
Pireus lies 10km southwest of the center of Athens. The rocky octi peninsula protectively embraces a larger and a smaller bay, both ideal natural harbors. This is why Pireus was already Athens’ most important harbor in ancient times. Now, it has become part of the capital. Back in the 1960s, there were fields and meadows between the two cities. But over a few decades, these gradually gave way to apartment blocks, villas, public buildings, shopping centers and residences until the two became as one. If you’re not travelling by car, you can take the metro from downtown Athens to Pireus harbor. In ancient times, the bays of Pireus served as commercial and military ports. Now, there’s a commercial port and a ferry port for passengers and also a marina for yachts. The harbor is used by gigantic ocean liners, ferries and luxury passenger boats so it’s a very busy place most of the time. Regular ferries from most Greek islands leave from the southwest quay of the greater harbor.
Themistocles realized that protecting the port city is crucial for Athens and he started to build fortifications and the long wall of defense. The harbor employed thousands of people so public building and temples were soon required. The ancient agora or marketplace is still there just like the square grid street plan drawn by the genius architect Hippodamus of Miletus. Although the city was destroyed several times in the course of history, it was always reconstructed according to the original plans of the greatest ancient architect. Pireus also has an archeological and naval museum.
Many tourists roam the winding coastal paths on the southwestern part of octi peninsula along the wall enjoying the view of the sea, the islands and the distant blue mountains. The bay was once called — and was used as a military port. Today it’s called — and houses white luxury yachts and private sailboats. The circular bay, protected from the winds is carved into the east coast of the land strip and measures 400m in diameter. In the middle ages, the city was called Porto Leone after antique marble statue of a lion at the port entrance. The statue is no longer there. It’s been guarding the arsenal of Venice since 1862.
The fishing port of Pireus is located further east in a similar circular bay. Tourkolimano at the foot of Castella Hills is also the harbor for the sports crowd. This is where beginners are introduced to the mysteries of sailing. Life is more tranquil here. Some tourists enjoy visiting the taverns and fish restaurants along the harbor. In addition to the beach, Tourcolimano has a fresh water swimming pool. A new stadium and other sports facilities have been constructed nearby. Pireus also receives ships coming in from North Africa and the Middle East which add a real oriental flavor to the brisk trading activities of the streets. The road to Perama and Daphne is the realm of north African rug traders.
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