“Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power in antiquity. During the 6th century BC, when, as an independent power, it was the first city of the western world to mint coins”
Aegina Island is one of the Islands in the Saronic Gulf, just 17 miles (27 km) from Athens City. Aegina Island, along with offshore islets, comprises the Municipality of Aegina in Piraeus Prefecture, a part of the Attica Region. The capital is the Town of Aegina Island (pop. 7,410 in 2001 census), situated at the northwestern end of the island.
As a result to its proximity to Athens City, it is a popular quick getaway during the summer months and quite a few Athenians owning second houses on the Island.
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The people of Aegina Island have always been involved with the sea: either as fishermen, sailors or shipbuilders. Some are also farmers, and they grow olives, pistachio nuts and fruit. The Town of Aegina Island has many attractions. Fist of all take a ride through the Aegina Town with a horse carriage. It is a nice experience and a good way to enjoy the sights of the Island’s Capital. Many interesting buildings and neoclassical houses can be seen in the Town of Aegina Island. Among them most noteworthy is the First Greek Government Building, the Orphanage Building that was founded by the First Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias.
According to Mythology, Aegina Island was once a beautiful princess with whom Zeus fell in love with. In order to be alone with her, he took her to this uninhabited island. At the same time they had a son, Aeacus, who became the first King. As has been noted Aegina Island was inhabited in the Neolithic period. As can be seen from the finds at Kolona, near the Town of Aegina, which dates around 3000 BC. Later, the Minoans came to the island, to be followed by the Achaeans and the Dorians.
In the middle of the second millennium BC, Aegina Island began to develop its trade. Also, at the same time emerged as a Strong Naval Power. Ships carried the products of the island, most of all chiefly ceramics, to the Cyclades, Crete and mainland of Greece. Aegina Island reached the zenith of its development during the 6th century BC, when, as an independent power, it was the First City of the Western World to Mint Coins. In spite of the fact that Aegina Island was a rival of Athens, it helped the Athenians in their victory against the Persian fleet at the Naval- Battle of Salamis.
The Athenians, who had never trusted it, finally seized Aegina Island in the mid of the 5th century BC. The subsequent history of the Island follows roughly the same course with the rest of Greece. Aegina Island made an important contribution to the struggle against the Turks in 1821. In addition Aegina Island was the Seat of the First Greek government, under the First Governor Kapodistrias, before being succeeded in this role by Nauplio.
Because of its important position in antiquity, there are still many ancient sites to see. The most famous being the Temple of Athena Afea from the 6th century BC. Surrounded by pine trees, on a hilltop above the town of Agia Marina. The Temple of Athena Afea is a Doric temple, built around 490 BC. and is the best preserved classical temple in the Greek islands.
Dedicated to the Cretan Νymph Aphaia, it predates the Parthenon in Athens by around sixty years. Notably the Τemple was part of a pre-Christian, equilateral Ηoly Τriangle of temples including the Athenian Parthenon and the Τemple of Poseidon at Sounion.
Aegina Island is famous for growing of pistachio. As a matter of fact pistachio trees have been cultivated in Aegina island since 1860. Later spreading to other parts of Attica and Greece. Throughout Aegina Island, the dominant variety is known by the name “Aeginis”, or “Koilarati” meaning “round”. Most of all this variety is considered of high-yieding and quality lacking in foreign varieties. Given that the ideal climate of Aegina Island and the unique soil composition lend exceptional flavour and aroma to the Aegina Pistachio.
All in all this has distinguished it from other pistachios and earning well-deserved recognition as the finest pistachio in the world. The exclusive right to identify the pistachio as “Aegina pistachio” was secured by the E.U. regulation of 1263/96, protecting the local pistachio from those of other regions.
Equally important and a very interesting place to visit is the Μonastery of Ag. Nektarios. In fact the saint himself is buried here and is said to hold miraculous, healing powers. Very close to Ag. Nektarios Μonastery is Palaeochora, which is an abandoned Byzantine Τown. Once, was the capital of Aegina Ιsland. Located, also, in this area are the ruins of a medieval castle.
Last but not least in Aegina Island is the house where Nikos Kazantzakis the author of Zorba the Greek lived for some years. Also worth seeing is the mansion that hosted the first government of Greece under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias.
The best choices for you to visit, stay and have fun!
Multiple sandy beaches and friendly locals make Aegina Island one of the most popular destinations near Athens.
Visit the peaceful Monastery of St. Nektarios, the pistachio groves and taste the world famous pistachio nut.
Discover the Temple of Afea Athena, one of the Ancient Temples forming The Mystical Triangle along with the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio and the Temple of Parthenon in Athens.
Explore the Town of Aegina by a horse carriage or relaxe at a waterfront café like the locals do.
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I was relactant but in the end we had a great time on the islands.
I really enjoyed the openess of the port of Aegina. The whole trip was very interesting.
We had a ncie day. The products on Aegina island are magnificent