Discover Aegina’s Ancient Ruins
Despite lying just 17 miles from Athens, the Saronic Island of Aegina is the picture of peace and quiet, dotted with small towns and idyllic coves. However, what Aegina does share with the Greek capital is a history that dates back thousands of years and, as a result, the island boasts some of the most impressive ancient ruins around.
Translating as ‘old town’, Paleochora is found on the hills of Aegina, a medieval city that, until the early 19th century, was the island’s capital. While it is less accessible than other attractions for anyone arriving via water on a Greece sailing holiday, it is nevertheless a worthwhile expedition and the views alone are enough to land it in the travel books. Overlooking valleys brimming with lush green vegetation, it offers panoramic views and the ruins themselves, adjacent to the Monastery of Agios Nektarios, are a sight to be marvelled at, with over 30 churches to visit and explore.
Temple of Aphaia
Aphaia was an ancient Greek goddess who was worshipped almost exclusively on Aegina, giving the sanctuary of Aphaia particular significance today. Often deemed the ‘jewel in Aegina’s crown’, the temple is an outstanding piece of architecture and history, again strategically built on a hilltop and overlooking stunning natural scenes. Visitors can wander amongst the 20 towering columns that remain of the temple and learn all about the myths and legends surrounding the local deity.
Named ‘Kolona’ by Venetian sailors after its sole remaining pillar, the prehistoric settlement is found next to Aegina Town’s harbour and was originally the acropolis of Aegina and the political and religious base for the city. While today only the ruins of the columns and walls remain, dating back to 3000BC, extensive excavations have unearthed relics from the Bronze Age as well as a number of temples dedicated to the ancient gods, namely the Temple of Apollo found atop Kolona Hill.