Ietionia Gate

Ietionia Gate

Ietionia Gate, part of the City Gates along with the City and the Middle Gate, situated on the hill Kastraki, on the southern part of the port of Piraeus, was built in 411 BC and owes its name to Ietionia Coast which, according to various sources had probably been conquered by Ietion, a hero of the land of Attica (700 BC).

As the rest of the City Gates, Ietionia Gate is part of the Long Walls, and played a major role in the general fortification project conceived by Themistocles.

Built on the rocky hills of Ietionia, this part of the walls was of primary importance, as it protected the city and its ports by land, let alone the panoramic view from the top of the hill that would allow the gate guards to detect any possible incoming threat in time.

There were two towers, the tower in Ietionia and the tower in Alkimos, both guarding the narrow passage in Piraeus port.

The fortification of Piraeus reached its final form in the years of Conon, who actually rebuilt the walls in 391 BC. The new wall was built of two rows of carved stones filled with gravel. This is where Ietionia Gate opened.

A small temple of Aphrodite must have been located nearby, while the two circular towers near Ietionia Gate must have been erected probably in the Macedonian Period.

Unfortunately there are no written sources providing us with exact information on the time and the various phases of construction except for some fragmentary statements concerning the beginning of some works and some not so well written engraved inscriptions.

At this very point we have to underline the fact that until 1987 the area of Ietionia Gate seemed a lost cause within the archeological community, as the hill of Kastraki was embanked so that it could serve the needs of Piraeus Port Authority and its buildings.

However, in 1997 and during works aiming at opening the new Schisto Highway, the northern part of the walls came to light. The old fencing was demolished and a new stone wall was built.

Next to Ietionia Gate and on the north was discovered a dry moat destined to prevent siege engines from approaching. Foundations of residences, tombs, quarries for in situ extraction of building materials, tombstones and various stone or marble articles were also discovered.

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