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Concise and exciting - the Piraeus Archaeological Museum

230101-1 Artemis

While you are waiting for your ship to go to the islands, do not miss the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, a short 10-minute walk away. It is right next to the ancient theatre of the city, which also serves as the museum courtyard. Piraeus, featuring three safe, deepwater ports, was originally a rocky island (etymology anc. Pireefs = 'ferryman') close to the Attica shore, and then, already in classical Antiquity, a peninsula. In Athens' heyday and for two centuries it was the commercial hub of the Eastern Mediterranean and the home and shipyard of Athens' mighty 200 trireme-strong navy. The Archaeological museum is tiny compared to that of Athens, but it covers over 2,000 years of the city from the Mycenaean to the Roman times and houses some very rare exhibits: the only one of its kind metrological stone with engraved standardised measurements (foot, span, cubit, fathom), which was discovered built into the wall of a small church in Salamis island. Also exciting are a marble market inspection inscription listing the highest allowed prices of meat parts, a liquids gauge, a market decree of the Athens-loving Emperor Hadrian that waves taxes on fish, a wooden sarcophagus, archaic era mooring anchors made from volcanic stone, Minoan votive figurines from Kythera island, the large grave monument of Kalithea, and a bronze battering ram of a trireme! But the most dazzling certainly are a theatre mask and four exquisite bronze statues, one of Athena, two of Artemis and one of Apollo, from around 330 BCE, hidden by the locals when the Romans invaded. They were hidden so well inside a neosoikos (trireme dry dock) that they were only rediscovered during sewage system works in 1959. The museum currently houses an exhibition of important finds from a sprawling ancient cemetery recently uncovered during the construction of the Niarchos Cultural Centre in Phaleron. The burials reveal a lot about the socioeconomic structure of Athens in the era preceding the emergence of Athenian Democracy. A further 5-minute walk takes you to Zeas Marina, where you can have a snack and a drink while admiring some exotic yachts with equally exotic flags and perhaps also visit the Hellenic Maritime Museum. For more details visit 

Trireme battering ram
Metrological (measuring) engraving
Anthemium from Funerary Stele
The Kalithea Grave Monument
The Theatre, accessible from the Museum.
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