Piraeus (Pireas in modern Greek) has been the port of Athens since antiquity and one of the most important ports of the ancient times.
The modern city, built on top of the ancient one, is a major shipping and financial centre. All the ships that link the capital with island Greece and the rest of the world leave from the historic port. Piraeus is to the south-west of Athens, about 10 km from the centre of town. It is connected to the city by buses and the Athens underground.
Piraeus is the biggest and best equipped port in Greece and the third-largest sea hub in the Mediterranean, with more than half a million inhabitants, making it the main shipping, industrial and transport centre of the country, as well as the country's economic, tourist and commercial heart.
The advantageous geographical position of Piraeus and its port has created a singularly appropriate environment for the development of companies belonging to the secondary and tertiary economic sectors.
It is considered the most important gate to South-eastern Europe, linking Asia and the Middle East with Europe. It has become an International Transhipment Centre served by hundreds of shipping companies and banks from all over the world.
However, Piraeus of today could not be recognised as it once appeared in the film "Never on Sunday". Seamen's cafes and port-front bars do not exist any more, as they have been replaced by banks and shipping headquarters. Commercial traffic is heavy, as regular passenger and cruise lines link the mainland of Greece with its islands, through Piraeus. But the local colour still exists on the other side of the city, from Passalimani to Mikrolimano.
Piraeus's little natural harbours are among its busiest and most tourist areas. Countless seaside taverns provide delicious seafood washed down with the uniquely Greek drink, "ouzo".