Aegina, Greece: The Island of Artists

According to myth, this island’s name comes from a nymph who was one of the river god Asopos’ 20 daughters. Zeus fell in love with her and brought her to this island.

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

Aegina has attracted the likes of photographers, scholars, painters, sculptors, poets, potters, and musicians. Internationally acclaimed writer Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek, The Last Temptation of Christ) was drawn to the peace and quiet of this Saronic Gulf location that is ~16 nautical miles from Athens’ main port of Piraeus.

Built between 1904-1910 by Bishop Pentapoleos Nektarios, The Monastery of Saint Nektarios draws a large number of visitors every year. A Greek Orthodox saint, Agios Nektarios, was recognized as a saint in 1961. Many people visit his tomb to pray and ask for blessings, as he is known to perform miracles for those seeking help.

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

Since 2008 the island has hosted its annual Aegina Fistiki Festival, which promotes the cultivation of the “Aegina pistachio” as it is known internationally. The first organized commercial pistachio nursery was created on this island, and residents were encouraged to plant this tree in their gardens, around their houses, and in the fields. Because it was easy to grow and yielded high prices from buyers, the pistachio tree eventually replaced grape vines as the major crop, and Aegina became the leading location for pistachio production in Greece.

Categories: Greece, Snapshots | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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