Piraeus » City Info » History

Piraeus has a very long recorded history. It dates back to ancient Greece. The city was founded in the early 5th century BC. Piraeus in the olden days was an island. In the late 6th century BC, when Hippias first fortified the peninsula, the city gained importance as a deep water harbour.

Themistocles planned the city. Piraeus was a deme of Attica in ancient Greece and was a separate city from Athens. Themistocles built a fortification around Piraeus to guard it against the Persians and make the best usage of the city’s commercial harbour.

Piraeus was the major Athenian port during the Peloponnesian War, because of which it faced a colossal collapse where its strong fortified walls were tattered. When democracy finally marked its presence, these walls were reconstructed by Conon around 393BC, who also founded the temples of Aphrodite Euploia, the sanctuary of Zeus Sotiros and Athena, and built the famous Skevothiki of Philon, the ruins of which have been discovered at Zea.

Piraeus again faced demolition by the Roman Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Goths & Alaric. The Ottomans occupied the land of Piraeus for a brief period, after which the Greek War of Independence took place.

In 1792 & 1825, attempts were made to rehabilitate the Piraeus; but it was not until 1829 when permanent inhabitation of the city restarted and came into force. Piraeus became a small town with huts and a few farm-buildings, far away from its glorious past as a prosperous city, and its population consisted mainly of fishers. It was rebuilt as per the plans by architect Hippodamus of Miletus, known as the Hippodamian plan. Later Piraeus flourished, to become a highly secure port with booming commercial activity, and a city bustling with life.