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Port of Piraeus [Athens]
37deg/56min N 023deg/39min E

The Port of Piraeus is located in the southwestern Aegean Sea on the southernmost peninsula of mainland Greece. The island of Crete lies about 150 n mi to the south. The port is the main port of Athens, the capital of Greece.

Sixth Fleet ports of call are also located throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Ship visits ensure continued access to essential bases and infrastructure. Engagement capitalizes on naval strengths of mobility and sustainability, using the inherent prestige of U.S. flagged warships. Formative engagement is further enhanced by incorporating the full range of naval assets -- including Seabees, the chaplaincy, the Judge Advocate General corps, and civil affairs units -- during port visits.

There are two anchorage areas in the vicinity of Piraeus that are normally used by U.S. Navy ships. One is located south of the island of Psittalia, about one n mi west of the harbor entrance. The other is in Falirou Bay approximately 2 1/2 n mi southeast of the harbor entrance. Carriers and other large ships generally use this second anchorage. Holding is considered good in sand and mud bottoms. Anchor dragging has been reported in Falirou Bay as a problem when anchored shoreward of depths of 72 ft or less, due to the hard bottom. Both anchorage areas are exposed to southerly winds and waves.

The port lies at the innermost point of the Saronikas Gulf which opens to the south. Entry to the Gulf is made between Cape Skillaion and Cape Sounion, about 27 n mi to the east-northeast. Piraeus is situated at the head of the Gulf on the eastern coastline, approximately 25 n mi from the mid-point of the entrance. The western coastline of the Gulf is irregular with many islands and bays, while the eastern side is more uniform and continuous. Both sides feature mountainous terrain with elevations ranging from 2500 ft to near 3500 ft. Numerous rocks, shoals and small islands are found in coastal waters throughout the Gulf.

The harbor facilities for the Port of Piraeus are located within Kendrikos Harbor. The harbor is situated within a natural bay that extends inland about 1 1/4 n mi. Entry is made from the west through a 170 yd wide channel between Themistokleous and B. Yeoryiou breakwaters. All mooring and wharfage in Kendrikos basin are of concrete construction. Berthing utilized by the U.S. Navy is located on the south side of the harbor about half-way into the basin. The harbor can handle vessels with drafts of up to 31 ft. Ship traffic is heavy both inside the harbor and outside the entrance area day and night. Cross traffic, during both day and night, is a particular problem outside the entrance. Pilots are required within Piraeus Harbor. For vessels entering the harbor, pilots board about 1000 yd west southwest of the entrance area.

Athena was the goddess of wisdom, and no other city in the world can claim to have seen more of it. From what you have read about all the contributions the ancient Greeks made to the arts, science and philosophy, it's easy to understand why Athens is called the birthplace of Western Civilization. But that was a very long time ago and the Athens you will encounter today is struggling, like every big city all over the world, with modem problems. Congestion is a big one; and that has brought pollution. The smog is called nfos, a brown, stinging haze that hangs over the city which has resisted attempts by the politicians to get rid of it. The bottom line is, while you will be wowed by the hospitality of the Greek people, and will marvel at what their ancient ancestors left behind for you to visit, don't expect to be dazzled by the beauty of modern Athens. You will have one pleasant surprise if you visit in the summer. While much of the rest of the Mediterranean virtually soaks you with humidity, Athens' climate is dry. So, while the temperatures will occasionally climb into the upper regions of the thermometer, you should stay fairly comfortable.

When you get to town, the first thing you'll notice is the big rock in the middle of Athens. That's the Acropolis, where the city began. And those ruins sitting on top of it is the famous Parthenon, built by the ruler Pericles in honor of Athena. If your liberty is a short one, at the very least make it to the top of the Acropolis, for a look at this grand temple (which has been partially restored after being sacked and shelled throughout its history) and the best view of the city. At the base of the Acropolis, north and east, that teeming neighborhood of shops, restaurants, hotels and open-air commerce is the Plaka, the place to be" and the place you'll probably end up most nights. At the northeast corner of the Polka is Sindagma Square, the central hub of Athens. You'll find the main Greek National Tourist Office, and other services here.



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