Located in the heart of the Argo-Saronic Gulf, the island of Aegina is a favourite destination for Athenians and the perfect choice for tourists who visit Greece. Just 17 miles from the port of Piraeus, Aegina’s rich history was born in the fourth millennium BC, when the first settlers arrived.
Flourishing from the eighth to the fifth centuries BC, Aegina was the first city to mint coins (in the seventh century BC) and with its large maritime fleet developed and mastered commercial control of the entire eastern Mediterranean. In 480 BC the island’s naval fleet played a major role in the defeat of the Persians at the battle of Salamis.
Despite seeing a significant decline in commercial and strategic importance during the rule of Athens, Aegina once again took centre stage during the Revolution of 1821 against the Ottomans and was subsequently designated the first capital of modern Greece in 1827, under governor Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Although the capital was officially transferred to Nafplion in 1829, Aegina island remained a focal point of Greece’s vibrant social, political, financial and commercial life.
In Aegina island, history is ever-present, as evidenced by a number of impressive sites, including the Archaeological museum and Kolona, both very close to the port and definitely worth a visit.