The Peiraieus was the main port of Athens in ancient times and is now the main port of Greece, with hundreds of offices, warehouses, shipping companies and so on. Zea Marina and the Small harbor (Tourkolimano) are quieter than the large harbor (Kantharos), because they are purely intended as marinas. Development of the port began in 493-492 B.C. when Themistokles had the Mounychia hill fortified, plus two other points around the harbor. Under Pericles, the Ionian architect Hippodamos was commissioned to build a new city around the later acropolis of the Peiraieus (Mounychion), with a regular pattern of houses and straight streets. He also had the entire port walled, and two walls built parallel to each other from Athens to the port of the Peiraieus (the Long Walls), in order to secure the food supply of the city forever. In the time of Pausanias these walls, like the walls of the Peiraieus itself were dilapidated so he payd no attention to them. Of the ancient remains in the modern harbor, the most important are: 1) The “tomb of Themistocles” ”  discussed by Pausanias, 2) the City Gate, 3) the gate of Eëtion, 4) two theaters, 5) the shrine of Artemis Mounychia, 6) the storage of Philo, 7) remains of the walls of Konon. Also of great importance is the archaeological museum, which houses some of the most beautiful finds in Greece.




On the photos:

Right: the theater of Zea (near the museum) and bronze statue of the goddess Athena, on display in the museum.

Under: Philo’s store. An inscription has been found of this storage room, in which rigging, oars and masts were stored for the Athenian navy, listing the requirements the architect had to meet, length, width, height, number of windows, etc. This allowed archaeologists to accurately reconstruct  this three-aisled hall. The theater at Mounychion has now been built in with flats.

Next to that a relief from the Asklepios shrine. The god bends over the sleeping sick person and examines the patient.

Antique walls

The ancient defensive walls of the port, which were once directly connected to the defensive walls of Athens itself by means of two parallel walls, can still be seen over long distances, although these are not always impressive. The antique funerary monument that Pausanias refers to  as ‘Themistocles tomb’ has unfortunately disappeared behind steel gates.