The Temple of Afaia

The Temple of Afaia is built on a peak approximately 300 m.a.s.l, 3km from Aghia Marina. Ancient Greeks usually chose extremely beautiful sites for their temples and the setting here is no exception. Afaia was the Goddess of invisibility and was a friend of Artemis, the Goddess of hunting. King Minos had a burning passion for Afaia and while she was trying to escape him fell into the sea. Luckily she was rescued by fishermen and brought to Aegina but unfortunately one of the fishermen took liberties with her and she ran away towards the wood of Artemis and disappeared forever. The islanders dedicated the temple to her. The first temple was built in the seventh century B.C. but the temple we see today was not built until 490 B.C. It is one of the finest examples of archaic architecture and is very well restored.


The Temple of Apollo, and the hill of Colona

The Temple of Apollo was built on top of the Hill of Colona in the fourth or fifth century B.C. Apollo was the God of music and poetry. Colona is named after the only column that remains of the temple. It was on the hill the first inhabitants lived and formed their society.

By then Aegina had two ports, the commercial one which is still used even today and the secret military one to which only the local seafarers found access. The town used to be surrounded by a five meters high wall and there were only a few entrances. The Temple of Apollo was built on the sight of a smaller one but almost nothing remains of this one.

Excellent pottery dating from the Bronze Age, found at the hill of Colona is exhibited at the museum close to the remains of the Temple.


The Archeological Museum

The Archeological Museum is located next to the Temple of Apollo at the hill of Colona and contains a rich collection of pottery and other findings.

A model of a typical house of Colona is exhibited, also various things that prove that Aegina actually was a very important trading center during its time of glory are on show.


Aghios Nektarios

Aghios in Greek means saint and Aghios Nektarios was a bishop known for his ability to cure illnesses and diseases.

He lived the last part of his life here and died on 9th November 1920.

On this day everybody called Nektarios or Nektaria celebrate their name day and these names are extremely popular, especially here on Aegina. Many thousands of people also visit the island to celebrate the anniversary of the saint’s death. The bishop has always been very popular among people but he was not made a saint until 1961.

The monastery was built on 1904-1910 and is today inhabited by about 20 nuns.The relics of Aghios Nektarios are kept in a marble casket in the small monastery church and it is said that you can still hear his heart beat if you put your ear close to the casket.

The new church is placed in front of the monastery and is one of the biggest churches in Greece. It was ready in 1994, after 10 years of built. Both the church and the monastery are open to the public.


Palaiochora

In Greek means “Old Town”.

In the tenth century, Aegina was so severely raided by Arabs that its inhabitants considered it too dangerous to live by the coast and resettled up here on the hill above the monastery of Aghios Nektarios.

Palaiochora was inhabited for about 900 years, but after 1800, people began to move back down the coast.All that remains today are approximately 30 churches but those are surprisingly well restored. Many of them contain beautiful wall paintings and are open to visitors.

Mount Oros

Is the highest point of Aegina, 532 m.a.s.l. According to Greek mythology, Aegina’s and Zeus’s son Aikos, prayed to his father for rain, to end an extensive drought at the top of this mountain. Zeus answered this his prayers and in gratitude Aikos built a sanctuary on the mountain.

Today there is a small chapel on top of the mountain. It is dedicated to the Ascension of Christ and on Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, a liturgy is celebrated her.

There are excavations of buildings here and there on the mountain slopes, the oldest dating back to early Bronze Age. Though, it is not quiet clear what purpose those buildings have served.