Up until the 1960's the small port of Saint Nicholas was a very popular tourist resort among people living in the outskirts of Pireas. Visitors used to swim at the sea, fathers taught their children how to fish and celebrated many events like Kathari Deutera and Theofania.
As time passed the little gem of Ikonion sea, started changing. The water got more and more polluted and the big electricity factory, which is very prominent in every recent photograph of the area, helped a lot to achieve this. What used to be a relaxing paradise for the residents, had become an old and unhealthy environment, that only a few remaining fishermen visited. The power plant of Keratsini has been active for many years. It has been one of the first power stations build in modern Greece and has been the source for work for many people living in Keratsini and Drapetsona.
It's really impossible to miss it if you ever visit the area. The large, red and white chimney, creates such a contrast compared to the small fishermen boats that sail at the small port. Of course with everything that man creates also come the disadvantages, especially towards the nature. The station is using water from the sea to cool down the large power engines and until the recent years, where stricter environmental policies appeared, most of the waste was thrown back to the sea.
Hope But there is always hope. I remember a movie quote that said "The worst thing in the world is when good people do nothing to change what is bad" or something along the lines. In our case some good people cared enough and they changed everything. In March 1959 a small group of men, mostly fishermen, created an association called The Embellishing Association of Amateur Fishermen of Keratsini and Drapetsona. Its president Petros Monogios and the other members worked passionately to restore the port and it's surrounding area.
Today the association includes members from all social and educational backgrounds like doctors, architects, even politicians. Over those 45 years they have achieved so many things! Some of most notable are:
- Building roads and walls at the port
- Providing power and lights
- The construction of a theatre and a fountain.
- Construction of a cafeteria that attracts many people, even celebrities and has been used as a set for many movies!
- Building the small church of Saint Nicholas
Every year the association organizes the Fishermen Festival. The first years the celebrations used to last for one week and they included theatrical shows, food and a lot of wine with music. Today, due to the difficult financial times, they have been reduced to one day, while still offering a lot of fun and something different for people who enjoy fish and the view of the small port.
I highly recommend all my readers to visit the sight one day. You will be really impressed with the contrast of images that you will see! References: http://www.koutouzis.gr/limanaki.htm