Aphaia Temple, Aegina
The Temple of Aphaia (fifth century B.C.), dedicated to a daughter of Zeus, a divinity associated with Artemis who was revered as a protectress of women (dedicatory inscription; terracottas), is built on the foundations of an earlier sixth century temple, on the site of a pre-Greek shrine. It is a peripteral temple of six by 12 columns, with a pronaos and opisthodomos in antis. The roof of the naos was supported on two rows of columns. In the opisthodomos is a stone altar-table. There survive 23 columns of yellowish limestone, mainly at the east end and the adjoining sides, still preserving remains of the original stucco facing; most of the columns are monolithic. The roof and sculptural decoration were in Pentelic marble. Unusual features are irregularities in the floor of the naos and the subdivision of the opisthodomos. In the floor can be seen holes left by the railing behind which votive offerings were kept. The sculpture from the pediments is now in the Glyptothek in Munich, and there are some other remains of sculpture in the National Archeological Museum, Athens, and the Aíyina Museum. Outside the east end of the temple and connected with it by a ramp are the foundations of an altar, and to the south of this is the Propylon, with octagonal pilasters, by which the temple was approached. The temple stood on a terrace built up to a level surface and retained partly by the natural rock and partly by masonry walls. Systematic excavations in recent years have brought to light fragments of the earlier temple of around 580 B.C., enabling the façade to be partly reconstructed. This reconstruction, with other material from the site, is in the excavators' store to the west of the temple. In the surrounding area are the remains of dwellings of the Neolithic period (fourth-third millennium B.C.). From the temple precinct there are magnificent views over the Saronic Gulf to the mainland, from Athens to Cape Soúnion.The Temple of Aphaia stands 13km/8 mi east of the town of Aíyina. The road leading to it takes us through partly wooded, partly built-up hilly terrain. First we pass the Church of Áyii Theodóri, built from remains of an ancient temple; note the frescoes dating from 1289. After 8km/5 mi we come to the old medieval island capital of Palaeochóra (abandoned in 1800), with some 20 chapels from the 13th -18th century. Above lie the ruins of the medieval kastro, and further still the scattered houses of Mesagró. Finally a steep path brings us to the temple.
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 8am-7:30pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 8:30am-3pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 8:30am-3pm
Always opened on: Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Óhi Day - Greece & Cyprus (Oct 28)
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Greek National Day (Mar 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian, Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €4.00, Concession or reduced rate €2.00, Students from EU FREE, Child 18 & under FREE
Useful tips: Admission is free on Sundays from November to March and the first Sunday of each month except July.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.