“Temple of Aphea (or Aphaea or Aphaia) is dedicated to the Greek Goddess Aphea”
This is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece
The Temple of Aphea has an unusual plan, and it used to have important sculptures. Historians believe they illustrate the change from Archaic to Early Classical technique.
These sculptures are now housed in Munich’s Sculpture Gallery.
There are also several fragments exhibited in Aegina’s archaeological Museum and on the site’s Museum.
Temple of Aphea has an extremely beautiful setting. This is usually the case with places chosen by the Ancient Greeks for their Temples.
Some thought that the sanctuary was dedicated to Hellenio Zeus. The truth is, when the Pedi mental sculptures were discovered, it became apparent that it was dedicated to Goddess Athena.
Ever since further angler’s excavations in 1901, the established opinion has been that the sanctuary belonged to the Crete-Mycenaean Deity Aphea. This was indicated by an inscription found in the Temple’s foundation. It is said to be connected with the Minoan Deity Britomartis, a friend of Goddess Artemis. The Deity unwittingly provoked a burning passion in King Mitios, and while fleeing from him, fell into the sea.
Some fishermen caught her and brought her to Aegina.
As soon as she was on the island one of the fishermen pressed his advances upon her. She then fled toward the woods of Goddess Artemis and suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.
The islanders dedicated a Temple to her, the now Temple of Aphea. It is likely that the pre-Hellenic cult of Aphea, which came to Aegina from Crete, eventually merged with the cult of Goddess Athena.
As it appears, the first Temple, to which belongs the inscription found in the foundations and now in the Aegina Museum, dates from the 7th century B.C.
It was a simple square building, of which there remain only a few foundations of the altar.
In the early 6th century B.C. a Temple with a three-aisle cella was on the same site.
Several architectural fragments from the Temple still survive, used as building material in later construction.
Today the Temple of Aphea is one of the finest examples of Archaic Architecture. It was built in 490 B.C. Construction is made out of local poros in the peripteral Doric style, with six columns on the short sides and twelve columns on the long sides.
A large door with Marble Pilasters led from the front porch to the cella, in which stood the gilded Ivory and Wood Statue of Goddess Aphea.
This space was divided by a double row of five columns into three aisles, which formed a two-storied stoa on the north, east, and south sides of the cella.
The offered ceiling was decorated with golden stars, while the floor was covered with a thin red plaster, traces of which can still be seen. A smaller door, probably built later since it is not in the axis of the Temple, leads to the rear porch.
To the right and left of it are two square marble blocks between two vertical slabs, which may have been offering tables. The entire surface of the Temple of Aphea was covered with a yellowish plaster, and some architectural parts like the cornice and the pediment tympana were colored.
As soon as the Temple was completed, a New Altar was built outside to the east and the sanctuary space was enlarged with isodomic retaining walls.
Simultaneously, an enclosure with an entrance to the south side surrounded the Temple of Aphea and the Altar.
A new propylon was built, keeping roughly to the earlier plan and dimensions, with two stoas.
The interior room was larger and led down four steps to the courtyard.
Five large rooms and two stoas east of the propylon must have been the Priests’ Quarters.
All these buildings were surrounded by an enclosure with an entrance in the south.
Further south, below the sanctuary entrance, are the foundations of a three-roomed house which probably served as a guest house.
Aegina island was a rival to Athens City, the great sea power in antiquity.
During the 6th century BC, as an independent power, it was the first city of the western world to mint coins.
The capital of the island is the Town of Aegina (pop. 13.056 in 2011 census).
Due to its proximity to Athens City, it is a popular quick getaway during the summer months. As a result, many Athenians own second houses or cottages on the island.
Fishermen, Sailors, or Shipbuilders are the usual professions on the island of Aegina.
Some are also farmers, and they grow olives, pistachio nuts and fruit.
The town of Aegina, the capital of the island, has many Attractions;
A ride through the town with a Horse Carriage is a unique experience as well as a great way to enjoy the sights of the capital of the island, with its many Interesting Buildings and Neoclassical Houses.
Ioannis Kapodistrias was the first governor of Greece. He founded the Orphanage. It is one of the First Greek Government Building to be built.
Myth and Truth
According to mythology, Aegina was a Beautiful Princess with whom God Zeus fell in love.
To be alone with her, he took her to this uninhabited island, and they had a son, Aeacus, who became the First King.
During the Neolithic period, the island was inhabited. As can be seen from the finds at Kolona, near the town of Aegina, which date from around 3000 BC.
Later, the Minoans came to the island of Aegina, to be followed by the Achaeans and the Dorians. Even though Aegina island was a rival of Athens City, it helped the Athenians in their victory against the Persian fleet at the Naval- Battle of Salamis.
From the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, Aegina Island began to develop its trade. At the same time, the island emerged as a strong naval power. Ships carried the products of the island, chiefly ceramics, to the Cyclades, Crete, and mainland Greece. Ιt reached the zenith of its development during the 6th century BC. As an independent power, it was the First City in the Western world to mint coins.
Aegina greatly contributed to the struggle against the Turks in 1821. After that, the Greeks decided to name it the First Greek Government under Kapodistria. Later on, Nauplion City claimed this title.
Because of its important position in antiquity, there are still many Ancient sites to see. Noteworthily, Aegina island was a rival to Athens City, the great sea power of the era.
The most famous site of Aegina is the Temple of Athena Aphea from the 6th century BC.
Surrounded by pine trees, on a hilltop above the town of Agia Marina, this Doric Temple, built around 490 BC, is the Best Preserved Classical Temple in the Greek islands.
Dedicated to the Cretan Nymph Aphea, it predates The Parthenon on The Acropolis of Athens City by around 60 years.
Another very interesting place to visit is the Monastery of Ag. Nektarios.
Ag. Nektarios himself is buried here and is said to hold miraculous, healing powers.
Very close to where Ag. Nektarios monastery is located we find Palaechora Town, which is an abandoned Byzantine town.
Palaechora Town was once the Capital of Aegina Island. Nowadays, in this area, there are only the ruins of a medieval castle.
The editor of Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazatzakis, owned a house on Aegina.
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A great cruise close to Athens! Beautiful islands and so much fun on board! It's a way to take full advantage of your day by visiting 3 islands!
Aegina Island is marvelous and the Temple of Afaia is in the best picturesque area