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Piraeus (Municipality, Greece)

Πειραιάς

Last modified: 2017-02-25 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Piraeus]         [Flag of Piraeus]

Flag of Piraeus, left, current flag, right, former flag - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 18 June 2014


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Presentation of Piraeus

Piraeus is the most important and famous port town in Attica. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its town center, and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.
The municipality of Piraeus (163,668 inhabitants in 2011, 1,087 ha) was not modified in the 2011 administrative reform. With several other suburban municipalities within the regional unit of Piraeus, it forms the wider Piraeus Urban Area or Greater Piraeus, with a total population of 448,997.

Piraeus, which roughly means "the place over the passage", had been inhabited since the 26th century BC. In 511 BC, the hill of Munichia was fortified by Hippias and four years later Piraeus became a deme of Attica. In 493 BC, Themistocles initiated the fortification works in Piraeus and later advised the Athenians to take advantage of its natural harbours" strategic potential instead of using the sandy bay of Phaleron. In 483 BC, the Athenian fleet was transferred to Piraeus. Piraeus was permanently used as the navy base for the developed and powerful fleet of Athens. After the second Persian invasion of Greece, Themistocles fortified the three harbours of Piraeus; the Themistoclean Walls were completed in 471 BC, turning Piraeus into a great military and commercial harbour. The city's fortification was farther reinforced later by the construction of the Long Walls under Cimon and Pericles, with which Piraeus was connected to Athens. Meanwhile, Piraeus was rebuilt to the famous grid plan of architect Hippodamus of Miletus, known as the Hippodamian plan.
During the Peloponnesian War, in 404 BC, the Spartan fleet under Lysander blockaded Piraeus and subsequently Athens surrenderred to the Spartans. Piraeus would follow the fate of Athens and the city's walls and the Long Walls were torn down. As a result, the port city was not able to compete with prosperous Rhodes. After the reinstatement of democracy, Conon rebuilt the walls in 393 BC, and the reconstruction of Piraeus went on during the period of Alexander the Great, but Roman Lucius Cornelius Sulla captured and totally destroyed Piraeus in 86 BC. The destruction was completed in 395 AD by the Goths under Alaric I.
Piraeus was led to a long period of decline which lasted for fifteen centuries. During the Byzantine period the harbour of Piraeus was occasionally used for the Byzantine fleet. In 1456, Piraeus became known as Aslan Liman (Lion's Port), a name given by Ottoman Turks during the Ottoman occupation of Greece. Throughout the Ottoman occupation, Piraeus was mostly deserted, and it was only used for small intervals for commercial issues.

There were at least two failed attempts to create a new town, the first in 1792 by bringing a population from Hydra and the second during the Greek War of Independence in 1825 by the installation of people from Psara, but it was not until 1829 that permanent habitation of the area was restarted. Piraeus at first developed into a small town. With the creation of the modern Greek state and the proclamation of Athens as its capital in 1832, the port again acquired a reason for growth, and developed into a great commercial and industrial centre.

Olivier Touzeau, 18 June 2014


Flag of Piraeus

The flag of Piraeus (photo, photo, photo, photo) is white with a blue border and the municipal emblem in the middle.
The municipal emblem must represent Themistocles, archont of Athens in 493-492 BC, who initiated the fortification of the natural harbour of Piraeus to house the Athenian fleet. The date "1835" recalls that Piraeus was granted municipal statutes that year.

The former flag of Piraeus Kokkonis website was dark red with a golden border, the emblem in gold on white, and the words "ΔΗΜΟΣ ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑ" in black beneath.

Aleksandar Nemet, Tomislav Šipek, Ivan Sache & Olivier Touzeau, 2 October 2012


Yacht clubs

Hellenic Offshore Racing Club

[Burgee of Hellenic Offshore RC]

Burgee of Hellenic Offshore Racing Club - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005

Hellenic Offshore Racing Club (HORC, Πανελλήνιος Όμιλος Ιστιοπλοΐας Ανοικτής Θαλάσσης, website) was established in 1961 in Piraeus. For many years, it was the only Greek sailing club involved only in offshore sailing. HORC organizes the most important sailing race in Greece, the Aegean Rally. HORC is operating an offshore racing school since 1969, with more than 15,000 graduates to date, and is representing Greece at the International Offshore Committee in Mediterranean for 25 years.

The burgee of HORC is quartered red-blue with a white disc charged with a blue fouled anchor.

Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005


Yacht Club Piraeus

[Burgee of YC Piraeus]

Burgee of YC Piraeus - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 July 2001

The burgee of YCP (website) is a dark blue triangular flag, in proportions 3:5, with a yellow emblem made of a eight-pointed star with the northern, western, southern, and eastern points longer than the four other ones and a point added to the northern branch.

Ivan Sache, 27 July 2001