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Summary Article: Peiraias
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Port of both ancient and modern Athens and main port of Greece, on the Gulf of Aegina; population (2001 est) 193,400. Peiraias is situated in the west of the district of Attica, about 5 km/3 mi from the centre of Athens. Much of Athens's industry is located at Peiraias and the city is a major settlement. The port is a busy transit location for both goods and passengers. Ferries for the islands of Greece leave from the port and it is connected to Athens by the metro line.

The site on which Peiraias stands has been inhabited since 2600 BC. The city was originally planned by the architect Ippodamos from Melos, and was built in the 5th century BC. Wall defences were built around the port 493–79 BC. Later, Pericles completed the fortification by building the Makra Teiche (the Long Walls) which protected both sides of the road between Athens and Peiraias. The area went into a state of decline from 395 BC onward, and was only revived in the early 19th century AD. In the intervening period the port was rarely used, except by pirates and invading enemies. The recovery of Peiraias began in 1829, and in 1834 the port was rebuilt using the original plans. During World War II the port suffered extensive damage from both German, and subsequently Allied, bombing of the harbour and the boats moored in it. When the occupying German army left Peiraias they attempted to blow up the port on their retreat; resulting in its near-destruction.

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