Category Archives: Miscellaneous

SS Hellas Liberty – A Museum Ship in Piraeus

A special class of steam-powered cargo ships constructed during WWII, under the directive to supply the Allied Forces, eventually came to be known as ‘Liberty Ships’. 2.710 such vessels were built in eighteen shipyards in the US and though they were British in conception, several modifications were adopted in order to make the vessels larger, yet cheaper and easier to build. ‘Liberty Ships’ have since become the symbol of the US American wartime industrial output. Approximately 2.400 ‘Liberty Ships’ survived WWII, and more than 800 of them were used as post-war cargo/merchant ships. Of the remaining … < Read More >

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Siraggio or Paraskevas’ Cave

At the feet of the Prophet Elijah hill, right above the public beach “Votsalakia” in picturesque Kastela, “Siraggio” or “Paraskevas’ Cave”, was discovered in 1897. Siraggio is an ancient tunnel, the construction of which is attributed to the Minyes, the pre-historic inhabitants of Piraeus. The pre-historic monument is approachable either by descending the stone steps connecting the main road of Kastela, Vasileos Pavlou St., to “Siraggio”, or by taking the lane ascending from the beach. The only thing we know about this mysterious tunnel for sure is that it owes one of its names to Emmanuel Paraskevas, the owner of … < Read More >

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The Shipsheds of Zea – The Shelter of the Almighty Athenian Fleet

Dockyards (neoria) were installations near the sea which were used as safekeeping places for battleships, throughout antiquity. Ancient dockyards were thus organized as to be equipped with all essential military infrastructures, the most important of which being the webs of shipsheds (neosoikoi). The shipsheds were built to accommodate fleets in period of peace. The long warships could not be preserved and maintained battalious if not kept ashore and protected. For instance, in case hull-fragile triremes, stayed into … < Read More >

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A 5th Century BC Residence Preserved in the Foundations of a Modern Building

On a summer day, not long ago, on my way to the city centre, I decided to take some convenient shortcuts. Walking hastily on the pavement I passed by all kind of stores, houses and people until I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks, absolutely certain I had just seen something it shouldn’t be there. Naturally, I turned around to take a closer look. I stood before a modern multi-storey building, at number 84 – 86 Ipsilantou Street. There was a fresh-painted, clean entrance with a close-circuit TV next to it; nothing out of place so far. Next to the house … < Read More >

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The Hippodameian Cistern – An Ancient Treasure Hidden in a Modern Building

The Hippodameian Cistern (a tank to collect rainwater), found in the basement of the building housing the Christian Youth Oraganization in Piraeus, is a unique example of the exquisite Hippodameian Water Supply Network. The size of the Hippodameian Cistern, dated in the 5th century BC, is impressive: it is 10,20 meters high (distance between the top of the cistern and its lowest part at the bottom), while the diameter of its base is 9 meters. The Hippodameian Cistern was a structure including three wells, but only one … < Read More >

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The Arsenal of Philo – Ancient Port of Zea’s Ship Equipment Storehouse

The Arsenal of Philo, a famous archaeological site, characteristic of the naval history of Piraeus, was built by the famous architect Philo between 346 and 328 in the 4th century BC. It was an amazing building situated in Zea’s port, right behind the ship sheds (“neossikoi”) and was used as storage space for all the equipment of the Athenian fleet as well as as a repository of new materials to replace old, worn-out parts of the ship. The Arsenal of Philo (123 meters long, 17 meters wide and 30 meters tall) was a … < Read More >

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