The port of Piraeus

Piraeus is the central port of Greece. It is a city in the region of Attica, located southwest of Athens. The city of Piraeus is consisted of three separate deep-water harbors: The main one of Kantharos and the two smaller of Zea and Munichia. In ancient times, Piraeus was the flourishing trade and naval centre of Greece for two hundred years, suppling Athens with funds under the protection of the powerful fleet of the Athenian Democracy, and, therefore, ensured its political eminence. Since then, many peoples passed through Piraeus; Romans, Francs, Turks and others. Piraeus went into decline. In the dark ages, Piraeus lost its ancient name and was called Porto Leone or Porto Drako, after a large marble statue of a lion on the coast that incoming ships could spot. Travelers who passed through Piraeus before the Struggle for Independence describe the city using one word, “wasteland”.

Before the Revolution of 1821, in Piraeus there were only a few shacks, a shed which was used as a customs office and the St. Spiridon monastery with only a few monks. The turning point for Piraeus in modern history was in 1834, when the capital was moved to Athens. The city had to be inhabited and the port formed in order to serve the new needs of the neighbouring capital. In the following years, the city undergoes a large demographic, economic and construction development and in the last three decades of the 19th century it develops into the commercial and industrial capital of the century. At the dawn of the 20th century, Piraeus had a population of 75,000 residents and was characterized by the press of the times as “the city of labour”. Next followed the frivolous period of the Belle-Epoque -wich was best applied in the development of Neo Faliro- and was followed by the settlement of Asia Minor refugees in the mid-1920s.

The industries received a large number of new workers, specialized and cheap labor, and the city’s population was doubled. However, the consequences of WWII were rather grave for the city. The violent bombardment of January 11th 1944 Anglo-American forces severely destroyed most of Piraeus’ industrial infrastructure. After the war, nothing was the same anymore. The sparse attempts to reconstruct Piraeus’ industry never managed to have any long-term results. Nowadays, the Municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities form the greater Piraeus area with a total population of about 500,000. The University of Piraeus is one of the largest universities in the country. The city hosted events in the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. Today, the port of Piraeus is the main port of Greece and one of the largest in the Mediterranean See. Piraeus is the largest port in Europe and one of the largest in the world in passenger traffic. In 2020, Piraeus is ranked as the 4th container handling port in Europe. Piraeus is also one of the largest cruise ports in Europe.

Short discovery tour

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Long discovery tour

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The Catania port system

In addition to the main port of the city, Catania is characterized by a minor port system made up of small fishing docks and dedicated to boating. The Ionian coast, which goes from Catania to Acicastello, has some peculiar characteristics, determined by the presence of lava: just think of the seaside villages of S. Giovanni Li Cuti and Ognina in Acitrezza with its stacks and the island of Lachea, These small ports are interconnected as a single system with great tourist potential. But let's see what these villages are: San Giovanni li Cuti is the name of a small fishing village in Catania, accessed from the homonymous street, crossroads of viale Ruggiero di Laurìa, in the district of Santa Maria della Guardia. The beach is between the port of the same name, used only by small fishing boats, and some beaches which can be accessed via the nearby Piazza Europa. Ognina is another small seaside village in Catania.

The port, always known as Porto Ulisse, Ilsi is located on the north coast of the city of Catania obtained from an inlet in the rocky cliff; it was a port of Catania since ancient times. In the area where the current port stands, a river the Lognina (or the Ognina) flowed, which was buried by a lava flow from Etna in medieval times. The port is located about 3 miles north-east of the Port of Catania and is protected by a breakwater of over 150 m with a red warning light on the head, a smaller internal pier and various floating piers. Acitrezza is a fraction of the municipality of Aci Castello, in the province of Catania. It is the first of the villages north of Catania. It is a fishing center with an ancient and remarkable tradition, famous for its landscape. It overlooks the Ionian Sea and is about 9 kilometers from Catania. The port overlooks a stretch of sea characterized by the island of Lachea and the Faraglioni. Declared a nature reserve by regional decree, the Faraglioni and Lachea Island complex represent an ecological and geological environment that has few comparisons.

Discovery tour

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The port of Bastia

The Old Port of Bastia is nestled in the heart of the old town like a jewel in its case between the Market Square and the Citadel. Bastia was founded in 1378 when the Genoese governor Leonello Lomellini left the castle of Biguglia to settle in a fortress "A Bastia". This site dominated a fishermen's navy that was then called Porto cardo (the present Old Port). The settlement of Genoese citizens and the construction of ramparts protecting the new settlement gave rise to a district: Terra Nova (the present Citadel). The old Porto Cardo then became, in contrast, Terra Vecchia. The ramparts were completed in 1480 and it took fifty years (1530) for the Governors' Palace to be completed, leaning against the old keep. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the upper town followed the tradition of Genoese towns: checkerboard layout and straight streets. From the end of the 18th century, the town prospered and its population grew significantly.

During the 19th century, the city expanded northwards and upwards. The urban landscape was then undergoing major changes: construction of the law courts, extension of the Place Saint Nicolas, construction of numerous bourgeois buildings along wide boulevards. Comfortably seated on one of the terraces of a café in the Old Port, you will let yourself be carried away by the ballet of pleasure boats, whose comings and goings seem protected by the church of Saint Jean-Baptiste, whose emblematic bell towers proudly dominate the navy. A picturesque district, the Old Port has managed to preserve its soul of yesteryear. In the past, frequented by the Genoese fleet, royal and imperial ships gave way to pleasure boats and fishing boats which from the early hours of the morning appear on the waters of the basin. The early risers and the luckiest can even enjoy some days freshly caught fish sold directly from the quay.

A place of life and entertainment, the Old Port is home to many restaurants offering a wide variety of culinary delights: traditional cuisine, world specialities, fish and seafood, home-made ice creams... no doubt you will find what you are looking for. During the summer period, Bastians and holidaymakers alike have the pleasure of enjoying a neighbourhood made pedestrian in the evenings, where religious events and musical and cultural activities follow one another at a frantic pace.

Discovery tour

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The port of Split

SPLIT – The port older than the city The beginnings of the port of Split are going back to the time when neighbouring Salona was an Illyrian settlement - the first written mentioning of Salona comes from the 2nd century BC. With its excellent position on the east side of Adriatic, the port attracted Greek traders and sailors. Later conquered by Romans, subsequently grown into a city out of the Diocletian's palace in the 4th century AD, and finally turning into the one of most important Adriatic ports. In the 12th century, medieval Split developed both caravan and sea trade, thanks to its position that connected the coast with inlands. Lazaretto and customs building were built in the 16th century when Ottoman caravans started arriving. In the 17th century, the long-lasting War of Candia ended the golden era of the Split port. The port activity successfully recovered and continued to develop until the 19th century.

The Austrian-Hungarian monarchy in the 19th century gave supremacy to another Croatian port, thus causing stagnation of Split. Lazaretto was closed and caravan traffic stopped. At the end of the 19th century, the traffic in the port increased because of the sudden need for Dalmatian wines. After the World War II, the port started to develop again. The Homeland War in the 1990s stopped the traffic of the goods. However, from the beginning of the new millennium, the port started growing and became an important logistic mark of the area. Owing to its strategic position in the Mediterranean, between Venice and the Aegean ports, the port of Split is one of the most important ports for cruises in the Adriatic. At the same time, its long history and numerous cultural and heritage sights attract thousands of tourists to visit. Today, with around 170.000 inhabitants, Split is the second largest city in Croatia, an important cultural, tourist, industrial, commercial, administrative and sports centre of Dalmatia.

Discovery tour

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