In the mythology Aegina was the most beautiful of the river Asopos twenty daughters. Zeus, who was the noblest of all Gods and also very fond of women, fell in love with her dazzling beauty and made her one of his numerous mistresses. To protect her from his jealous wife, Hera, he transferred her to the island, which, therefore, came to carry her beautiful name.
Archaeological findings prove that the island has been inhabited since early Bronze Age, about 2800 B.C. and had its great days of glory in 734-459 B.C.
As early as in the Seventh Century B.C. Aegina was first in the Greek world to mint their own coins. These were made of silver and bore the image of a turtle. The turtle coins were used all over the Greek world for generations and were minted to better the growing trading cities in power, Asia Minor. The standardization of weight and measures also contributed to its growing power as a trading center and Aegina soon became extremely important in the Mediterranean.
Merchants came all the way from the Black Sea to the Nile Delta to trade in grain, wine, oil and slaves since they on Aegina found both necessary capital and helpful legislation, there were even special franks for foreigners.
Already in the sixth century B.C. Aegina had salaried physicians who acted as commissioners of public health. In 459 B.C. they no longer could hold their ground against Athens and Aegina lost its independence.
During the following 2000 years Aegina was brutally ravaged by Hellenics, Romans, Byzantines, Franks and others and was finally, in 1540, included in the Ottoman Empire. The Greek liberation from the Turks started in 1821 but Aegina was not liberated until 1826. During 1827-1829 Aegina served as provisional capital of the New Greek state and was center for all political, social and cultural events.
In 1829 the first coin of modern independent Greece was minted in Aegina and it bore the image of a Phoenix, which is a symbol of national revival.
In Aegina there is a rich offer on everything one can imagine and the island is extremely popular among both Athenians and foreign tourists. The landscape is predominantly mountainous, and rather barren inland. Along the 57km long coast pine trees grow and the cliffs drop steeply into the sea but there are also idyllic unexplored beaches, and long sandy beaches with various facilities around the island.
Around the picturesque villages fertile valleys stretch out and the fields carry almond, fig and olive trees. The most common sight though is pistachio trees. The island is so famous for its nuts that Greeks name them Aegina nuts.
The architecture in Aegina town shows a rich and exciting past that makes one curious and encourages one to stroll around for hours in the picturesque little seaside town.
Nightlife is on offer for all tastes. Cozy taverns and restaurants serve everything from traditional Greek food to international dishes and along the seashores in the seaside resorts you will find romantic bars where you can enjoy a beer or a cocktail in peace and quiet watching people strolling after sunset.