Aegina

This week's topic is the island Aegina. It is one of the most popular islands amongst tourists because it is the closest to Athens. Some Athenians even have a second house on the island for the weekends and the summer.

According to old myths, the island has its name because of the daughter of the river god Asopos, a nymph whom Zeus fell in love with. They eloped to the then deserted island. From 1827 until 1829 Aegina was even the capital of the new Greek state. During that period a lot of impressive neoclassical houses were built on the island. In general, Aegina offers a lot of sights even though it is a rather small island. To make it easier to understand: Chios is almost ten times the size of Aegina.

Aegina town is the capital of the island and known for its beautiful and well-preserved buildings. However, there are also small villages to explore that offer more traditional characteristics. Moreover, there are many smaller islands surrounding Aegina which can be easily reached by boat.

One of the most popular sights on Aegina is the Temple of Aphea Athena. It's a stunning example of ancient architecture with a breath-taking view of the sea. Many people believe that it forms the "holy triangle" of antiquity with the Pantheon and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.
Aegina also holds one of the largest monasteries in the Balkans: Agios Nektarios. Many people visit this place and ask for the help of the saint.
What I personally find interesting is the Camera Obscura that you can find in Pérdika. How does a Camera Obscura work? Well, light enters a totally dark, round building through small openings and creates an upside down replica of the outside world on the walls. The specialty of the one on Aegina is that it is the only one worldwide that offers a 360° panorama.

Of course, Aegina also offers a lot of sandy beaches with crystal clear water. It is recommended to visit the island in spring or autumn to avoid bumping into a lot of fellow tourists. So, pack your things and go to Aegina, its ancient villages on hillsides, fantastic sea views and amazing sights are definitely worth the visit. One special advise for young travellers: You won't find a McDonald on this island - so enjoy your trip and try some of the local food!

 

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