The Archaeological Museum
The wonderful Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, with the courtyard where the only ancient theater has been preserved, is on Trikoupi street.
The first Archaeological Museum of Piraeus was founded in 1935 near the ruins of the Hellenistic theater of Zea. Today it is used as warehouse for sculptures, while its successor, the new museum, was opened on the same site in 1981. The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus is one of the lesser known Greek museums.
Over 10 halls, the city comes alive in the eyes of the visitor, as the exhibits, from archaic to Roman years, silently but eloquently tell the story of the years of prosperity and decline of the port.
Among them stand the imposing tomb of Kallithea, the famous bronze statues and a bronze shield of the fourth century BC (the supernatural dimension of Athena’s helmet decorated with griffins and owls), the statue of Artemis and the oldest known cast statue, a strict archaic kouros known as Apollo of Piraeus (6th century BC) etc.
From the time of the naval domination, when light triremes were equipped with bronze oars, we see a bronze piston, the great glory of the museum, which is probably the oldest surviving (4th century BC) in the world. It is a unique exhibit definitely worthy of the location where the masterpieces of the history of the largest port in ancient Greece are placed.
Piraeus lost its glamour in the late 5th century BC. The period of Roman domination seals the end of the city. The decorative Athenian paintings on display were meant to decorate a Roman building, but sank with the boat that transported them and were found in 1933 in a shipwreck at the bottom of the harbor of Piraeus.