Piraeus is a city in the periphery of Attica,Greece and within the Athens urban area,located 12 km southwest of its center and upon the Saronic Gulf. According to the 2001 census, Piraeus has a population of 175,697 people within its administrative limits, making it the third largest municipality in Greece and the second within the Greek capital following the municipality of Athens. The Piraeus urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits to the suburban municipalities, with a total population of 466,065.
Piraeus has a long history, which dates back to ancient Greece.The effects of its natural space and geographical place have been critical factors for the configuration of the historical fate of Piraeus. The development of the harbour has been always combined with periods of proportional acme and progress of the city, while in the periods of the harbour's decay the city languished. The city was largely developed in the early 5th century BC,when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens.
The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the third largest in the world,servicing about 20 million passengers annually.With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs,Piraeus is placed among the first ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in Eastern Mediterranean.The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens.
With the creation of the modern Greek state and the proclamation of Athens as the capital in 1832, the port again acquired a reason for existence and growth, and developed into a great commercial and industrial centre populations, mainly from the Aegean Islands,continued arriving to reside in Piraeus. A town plan for Piraeus was also drawn up and approved by King Otto,but it was not completely fulfilled ,as it was revolutionary for its time.Following the establishment of Piraeus as a municipality in 1835 and the petitions from the new prosperous bourgeoisie that was emerging, municipal elections were held to elect a mayor for the city, who was to be Kyriakos Serfiotis from Hydra. Piraeus numbered around 300 inhabitants at the time.
However, the involvement of Greece in World War II came as a major setback to the city's progress. After the war the city began to develop once more, as damage to the port and the city were repaired and new additions took shape after 1955. Piraeus is now the third largest municipality in Greece; the city proper with its suburbs form the Piraeus urban area, which is incorporated in the Athens urban area, thus making Piraeus an integral part of the Greek capital. Furthermore, the port of Piraeus is an important international port and the largest of the country.