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During the 6th century BC Aegina built up a large commercial fleet and emerged as an important naval power. At this time too local potters were producing the well-known Aeginetan clay vases. Fine arts flourished on Aegina in antiquity and the Aeginetan sculpture workshop, which had its heyday in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, was renowned. On account of its navy, Aegina played an important role in the Persian Wars. It was captured by the Ottomans in 1718. After the Liberation, the first government of the newly founded Greek state was installed in Aegina in 1828.

Aegina, the islandís capital and port, is an attractive town with colourful Neoclassical houses. Interesting sights are the quaint chapel of Aghios Nikolaos by the waterís edge, the metropolis of Aghios Demetrios (Greek Orthodox cathedral) where the first government of Modern Greece was sworn in, the Government House (Kyverneion) of Capodistrias, now the premises of a notable library.

On the picturesque Kolona hillock near the harbour, stands a solitary Doric column, the sole remnant of the temple of Apollo which stood there in the 6th century BC.

The Aegina Archaeological Museum (tel. (22970) 22.637) houses significant finds from the area. On a hill 4 km from Aghia Marina, is the islandís most important archaeological site, the temple of the ancient goddess Aphaia, patron deity of Aegina.

Peripteral and in the Doric order, traces of the previous temple can be seen in its foundations. Twenty-four of the 34 columns of the peristyle, part of the restored entablature and two columns from the pronaos have survived. Remains of the propylaia, an altar and priests apartments are also preserved. Aphaia, a deity little known to the Greeks, was replaced by Athena in order to boost their morale in the Trojan War, which is why this monument is alternatively known as the temple of Aphaia Athena.

The Monastery of the Virgin Phaneromeni is quite close to the town. North of the town are the seaside resorts of Plakakia, Leonti, Souvala and Vaia, with accommodation for holidaymakers, restaurants, tavernas, bars and other amenities. At Souvala there are therapeutic springs. The road along the islandís N coast ends at Tourlos.

Six km NE of Aegina is Palaiochora, the islandís capital from the 9th to the 19th century, with a medieval castle and many interesting churches. Not far away is the convent of Aghios Nektarios. Information, tel. (22970) 53.800, (22970) 53.806. The interesting architecture of the Monastery of the Virgin Chrysoleontissa, founded in 1600 in the heart of the island, is reminiscent of the fortified monasteries on Mount Athos.

The medieval village of Mesagros, 9 km NE of Aegina, B with its long tradition in pottery-making, offers a superb view of the Aphaia temple. To the S is Aghia Marina (13 km from Aegina) , the islandís most popular seaside resort, set in the midst of pine woods.

The road along the coast S of Aegina passes through Faros, Paliopyrgos, Marathonas, Aiginitissa and Profitis Ilias. It ends at the pretty fishing village of Perdika, with the thickly wooded islet of Moni 3 km offshore. There are frequent boat services between Perdika and Moni in the summer months. There are mooring facilities for private craft in the harbour at Aegina. Information from the Harbour Office, tel. (22970) 22.328. The islandís characteristic products include pistachio nuts and local pottery.

 
 
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Mr. Babis Doukakis (we speek greek, english or german)