Piraeus

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Piraeus (pronounced /paɪˈriːəs/; Modern Greek: Πειραιάς, Peiraiás, [piɾɛˈas], Ancient Greek: Πειραιεύς, Peiraieús) is a city in the periphery of Attica, Greece and within the Athens urban area,[2] located 12 km southwest of its center and upon the Saronic Gulf. According to the 2001 census, Piraeus has a population of 175,697 people within its administrative limits and it is the third largest municipality of Greece and the second within the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens. The Piraeus urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits to the suburban municipalities, with a total population of 466,065.

Piraeus has a long history, which dates back to ancient Greece. The effects of its natural space and geographical place have been critical factors for the configuration of the historical fate of Piraeus. The development of the harbour has been always combined with periods of proportional acme and progress of the city, while in the periods of the harbour's decay the city languished. The city was largely developed in the early 5th century BC, when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. Consequently, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, and began to grow again in the 19th century, especially after the declaration of Athens as the capital of Greece. In modern era, Piraeus is a big city bustling with life and an integral part of Athens, having the biggest harbour in the country and all the typical characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial center.

The city is the seat of the Piraeus Prefecture, while the port of Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe[3][4] and the third largest in the world,[5] servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the first ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in Eastern Mediterranean.[6] The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens.

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