Aegina - Greek Islands

Aegina (Aiyina) island is located in the Aegean Sea, near Athens. The island is mountainous and triangular in shape, with an area of 85 sq km (35 sq miles). The principal town, Aiyina, is on the north-western part of the island in a fertile plain growing vines and olive, fig, almond, and pistachio trees. Tourism and sponge fishing are the other major industries of the island. A well preserved 5th century BC temple to Aphaea, the ancient Aeginetan deity, can be found on a wooded hilltop in the east of the island whilew near the town are the ruins of an ancient temple of Apollo. The island, named after the mythological nymph Aegina whose son Aeacus was king of the island, was conquered by the Dorians about 1200 BC. It became a prosperous port, trading in corn, oil, wine, and slaves, but it declined in importance after being conquered by Athens in 459 BC. It was later conquered by the Romans and then by the Venetians and remained in Turkish hands from the 16th to the 19th century. Aiyina served as the temporary capital of Greece in the late 1820s, during the Greek War of Independence.