Greece Greek Islands
Greece and the Greek Islands

Saronic Islands

Aegina

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General Information:

The small capital of the same name with its harbor and its neoclassical houses are reminiscent of the islands significance past. Of the churches, we mention the picturesque chapel of Agios Nikolaos at the port and the Metropolis, dedicated to the goddess Dionysios. It was built during the Turkish rule. In it, the first governor of Greece was sworn in. The archaeological museum houses exhibits from the Aphaia temple, a marble sphinx, a statue of Hercules from the Temple of Apollo, and other exhibits. In the city of Aigina you can visit the former seat of government of the Kapoistiras, where today a significant library is housed. In the north of the port, at the place called Kolonna, one sees a single standing Doric columns, which belonged to the temple of Apollo (6th century BC). 3 km northeast of the town of Aigina, a road runs north along the north coast through Plakakia, Leonti, Souvala, Vaia, along the coast there are places with private rooms, restaurants, taverns, bars, etc. up to Tourlo. Another road leads east from the main town to Palaiochora (6 km from Aigina). Palaiochora is a ruined city on a hill with a medieval castle on top. The place was the capital of the island from the 9th to the 19th century. Today only a few old churches are preserved. One should also visit the nunnery of Agios Nectarios, where Saint Nectarios lived and died in 1920. The Monastery is home of the Relics. The Tomb is also situated inside the Monastery. To honour him, a celebration is held on every 9th of November.

The town of Mesagros, inland, 9 km northeast of the main town, is known for its traditional pottery. From there you have a beautiful view of the Temple of Aphaia. This Doric temple is located on a hill, 4km from Agia Marina. It is one of the most important ancient temples with columns on all sides and gable sculptures of Parian marble. These sculptures were removed at the instigation of Ludwig of Bavaria and are now in the Glyptothek in Munich. 24 of the 34 pillars, one part of the Cella (rebuilt) and two pillars of the vestibule are preserved.

The road continues in a southerly direction to Agia Marina (13 km east of the main town) which is surrounded by pine trees on the coast and has a beautiful sandy beach.

The church of the place has its church festival on July 17. Many residents of the surrounding villages then find themselves there to celebrate. Another road leads from the main town in a southerly direction through the villages of Faros, Palaiopyrgos, Marathonas, Aiginitissa and Profitis Ilias and then to Perdika, a pretty fishing village in the Gulf of Marathonas. The whole west coast of the island has nice clean sandy or pebble beaches.

Opposite Perdika is the forested islet Moni (distance 3 nautical miles from the main town). During the summer months there are regular boat connections from Peridka. After Perdika, the road continues in an easterly direction to Sfentouri. Inland, near the village of Pachia Rachi, you can still see (at 530 m above sea level) the remains of the temple of Zeus Elanios. Four miles away from Aigina is the island of Angistri, reachable by ferry boats from Aigina and Piraeus. Angistri is forested, has clean beaches, rocky shores and is highly recommended for hobby fishermen, just make sure you have a fishing license. There is an abundant number of beds in guesthouses and private houses also you’ll find many taverns and bars.

Weather in Aegina

Geography and history:

Aigina is located almost in the middle of the Saronic Gulf, south of Piraeus and the island of Salamis and is surrounded by many small uninhabited islands. Aigina is a fertile island with scattered flat levels amidst low hills, charming bays and beautiful beaches. The land area is approx. 84 square kilometres. The climate is mild and particularly suitable for the cultivation of pistachio trees and wine growing. The island has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. The first known settlements appeared some 3,000 bc. at the place called "Kolona" and in Agia Marina. Later, the Dorians inhabited the island and brought with them the cult of Zeus Elanios. In the 6th century BC Aigina had a large merchant fleet and represented a considerable naval power. It’s ships brought the agricultural products of the island and the ceramics, which were produced on the island in all countries of the Mediterranean area. During the Persian wars, the fleet of Aiginas played an important role, but in the aftermath the Athenians won the supremacy. As a result, the island came during the year 456 BC. under the supremacy of the Athenians. During the Peloponnesian War, Aegina had sided with the Spartans and fought with them against Athenians, the division's counterpart. Subsequently, the island came successively under the rule of the Spartans, the Thebans, the Macedonians and the Romans and was eventually sold to Atalos, king of Pergamos. During the Byzantine period, the island was often attacked by pirates and looted, as a consequence the inhabitants of the island where moved inland. There they built the Byzantine capital, Palaiochora, and fortified it with a castle. Later, the island was conquered by the Venetians and finally by the Turks (1718). Aegina participated in the freedom struggle of 1821 against the Turks. After the liberation, Aegina was for a time the provisional capital of the newly-founded Greek state and seat of Kapoistria, the first governor of free Greece.

 

How to get there:

By ferry from Piraeus to Aegina and Agia Marina, the distance is about 13 or 17 nautical miles) There are also regular speedboat connections from Piraeus and Zea. There are also ferry and hydrofoil connections from Piraeus and Zea to Angistri, Methana, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, Emioni, Porto Heli, Leonidio, Monemvasia, Nafplion, Neapolis and Kythira.

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