Aigio, also written as Aeghion, Aegion, Aegio, Egio (Greek: Αίγιο, pronounced [ˈeʝo]), is a town and a former municipality in Achaea, West Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Aigialeia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. Aigio is the second largest city in Achaea after Patras. The municipal unit has an area of 151.101 km2. It has population of around 26,000 while the municipality has about 49,000 inhabitants. Aigio is a port town on the Gulf of Corinth, and takes its name from the ancient city of Aegium.
The town of Aigio
|Administrative region||West Greece|
|• Municipal unit||151.101 km2 (58.340 sq mi)|
|Elevation||61 m (200 ft)|
|• Municipal unit||26,523|
|• Municipal unit density||180/km2 (450/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Before the founding of the city, the area had a Neolithic settlement. The city of Aigion was founded during Homeric times and became part of the first Achaean League since around 800 BC. The city had several Olympic winners, including Xenophon, Ladas (stadion race), Athenodorus (Αθηνόδωρος, stadion race), Straton (Στράτων, pancration and wrestling).
After the disaster of Helike, which was destroyed by an earthquake and buried by a tsunami in 373 BC, Aigion took the territory of the neighbouring city. The ruins of Helike were discovered in 2000 off the coast in the Corinthian Gulf and are sometimes connected to Plato's Atlantis myth. Archeologists are excavating the site.
From 330 BC, Aigion was for fifty years under the Kingdom of Macedon. Around the year 275 BC the people expelled the Macedonian garrison and the city joined the new Achaean League. With the famous temple of Zeus Homarios, Aigion became the Achaean assembly place. It remained their capital until the Roman conquest in 146 BC. After the annexation of Achaia, the Romans removed the wall of the city and Aegium lost its importance.
After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, Aegium became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire. Later, in 805 it was captured by Slavic tribes during the Slavic invasions and it was renamed Vostitsa (Βοστίτσα). In the Chronicle of the Morea, it is first mentioned with this new name.
Some scholars interpret the name as having a Slavic origin. The German linguist and Slavicist Max Vasmer gives two possible interpretations, one from the word Voščica (Voštane, slaven. Vošče) and one from the word ovoštь, meaning "fructus" or "garden". Dionysios Zakythinos, a Greek scholar of Byzantium, gives a similar interpretation explaining the name as "fruit-bearing place".
Christos Coryllos, in his detailed "Description of Greece", had given another interpretation. He writes that after the plague epidemic, numerous Avar or Slav shepherds migrated to this area. One of their leaders had the name "Vostitzas", from whom the town later took its name.
Frankish and Ottoman eraEdit
The city was captured by the Crusaders in the early 13th century and became the seat of a barony of the Principality of Achaea. In the early 15th century, it was conquered by the Despotate of the Morea.
In 1459 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, who ruled it until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, except for brief interruptions by the Venetians from 1463 until 1470, and from 1685 until 1715. The city was captured by the Greek rebels on 26 March 1821, becoming one of the first towns to be liberated from Ottoman rule.
In July 1822, at Akrata, near the town, a force of Greek fighters under Londos, Zaimis and Petimezas surrounded and attacked a group of 4000 Turks marching to Patras, after their defeat at the Battle of Dervenakia. Only a few Turks were lucky to escape when Yusuf Pasha sent ships to take them to Patras.
After Greek Independence, the town was officially renamed to its ancient name.
On June 15, 1995, a serious earthquake destroyed many buildings and damaged roads in the downtown and southwestern sections, with a number of casualties. The earthquake shattered Aigio: small memorials are found throughout the city, with candles aglow day and night to remember the victims. The mountainous countryside near Aigio was severely damaged by the 2007 Greek forest fires.
Landmarks and sightsEdit
- The church of Panagia Tripiti is a notable attraction. It is a national sacred shrine dedicated to the Theotokos, God-bearer or Mother of God, the Life Giving Spring. It is built on a steep cliff almost 30 meters high, near to sea, in a beautiful landscape full of cypresses and pine trees.
- The church of Panagia Faneromeni (inaugurated in 1914), which is the cathedral of Aigio, is the work of Saxon-Greek architect Ernst Ziller. The interior is decorated with paintings of Constantine Fanelis.
- The Archaeological Museum of Aigio is housed in the former municipal market of Aigio. It also was designed by architect Ernst Ziller and it was built in 1890.
- Ypsila Alonia Square, the central square of the town. In the square there is the neogothic Tower of Ypsila Alonia which now houses a cafeteria
- The beach promenade
- Plateia Agias Lavras is also a known square in the centre of the town, lined with neoclassical houses and shops
Until May 2011, a ferry served the port of Aigio, connecting it to the north-eastern mainland city of Agios Nikolaos (not to be confused with the Cretan city of the same name). The ferry service was limited, with only three ferries daily. The trip was 45 minutes long. In May 2011, the shipping company that operated the ferry announced that it was suspending the ferry because of financial reasons. An electric ferry is planned.
As of 2017, a new double and electrified railway line was under construction, as well as a new railway station at the east outskirts of the city. According to OSE, completion was expected in 2019, when the city of Aigio would again be connected by train to Athens and Corinth.
Infrastructure and economyEdit
Aigio, along with Patras and Piraeus, has been one of the main export hubs for Corinthian raisins since the 19th century. In the book Geography of Greece - Achaia (1903) by Christos Coryllos, it is mentioned that the area of Aigio produced 7.5-10 million Kgs of raisins and 600 thousand kgs of olive oil annually. Today the port is used as a fruit import hub for Chiquita Brands International, mainly for the importation of bananas.
A new 256 m-long pier northwest of the existing port was inaugurated on 7 August 2013. The whole project cost 8.6 million Euros and is intended to enhance trade and tourism opportunities for the city.
Aigio houses two branch departments of the Technological Educational Institute of Patras, the department of Physiotherapy and the Optics and Optometry department. The Aigio General Hospital is situated a few kilometres out of the town and has a capacity of 100 beds. The Hospital performs the greatest number of laparoscopic surgeries in Greece, while more than 50,000 people are examined on a yearly basis.
Aigio has a football stadium called "Municipal Stadium of Aigion", which has a capacity of ~7,000 (4,500 seats). It was built in 1951 and was last renovated in 1999. For many years Aigio lacked basic facilities for water sports such as swimming or water polo. A new outdoor swimming pool was completed in January 2018.
The municipal unit Aigio is subdivided into the following communities (constituent villages in brackets):
- Aigio (Aigio, Agios Nikolaos, Sotir, Foniskaria)
- Kounina (Kounina, Agia Anna, Pelekistra, Petrovouni)
- Mavriki (Ano Mavriki, Agios Ioannis, Kato Mavriki)
- Melissia (Melissia, Lakka, Pyrgaki)
- Pteri (Pteri, Achladea, Agios Andreas, Agios Panteleimonas, Boufouskia, Kato Pteri)
- Anastasios Lontos
- Dimitrios Meletopoulos
- Dimitrios Oreinos
- Georgios Meletopoulos
- Inokentios Romaniolis
- Diomidis Polychroniadis
- Andreas Michalopoulos
- Sotirios Messinezis
- Athanassios Farazoulis
- Konstantinos Kanellopoulos
- Spyros Panagiotopoulos
- Leonidas Petropoulos
- Panagos Lyrintzis
- Efthymios Gatos
- Christos Lambouris
- Georgios Kanellopoulos
- Polychronis Noukopoulos
- Polychronis Polychroniadis
- Ioannis Stavropoulos (until 1936)
- Sotiris Stavropoulos (1936–1941, 1951–1952)
- Andreas Londos, fighter in the Greek War of Independence
- Dimitrios Meletopoulos, fighter in the Greek War of Independence
- Hermes Pan (1909-1990, original surname Panagiotopoulos), American dancer and choreographer who collaborated with Fred Astaire on his film musicals; Pan's father emigrated from Aigio and he maintained ties with family here
The Heroon. The inscription reads an epigram of Tyrtaeus.
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- Max Vasmer: Die Slawen in Griechenland. Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1941.
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- , METKA signed contract for the completion of Kiato-Rododafni Railway project within 24 months, (September 2014)
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- "Θ. Γκλίνος: "Δεν φτάνουν οι μειώσεις τιμών στους καταναλωτές"". Zougla.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Σπηλιωτοπούλου, Πέπη. "Υπεγράφη το πρακτικό διοικητικής παραλαβής για τη χρήση του έργου της ολοκλήρωσης του νέου λιμένα Αιγίου - Filodimos.gr". Filodimos.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "ΤΕΙ Δυτικής Ελλάδας - Τμήμα Οπτικής και Οπτομετρίας". Optiki.teipat.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
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- Stadia: Aeghio, Gov't of Greece
- Article in daily newspaper Peloponnisos, 28 January 2018 0, tells about the new swimming pool and includes a photo of the facilities
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aigio.|
- Official website of the municipal unit of Aigio (in Greek)
- Official website of the municipality of Aigialeia (in Greek)
- Aigio Port Authority (in Greek)
- General Hospital of Aigio
- Tourist guide of Aigialeia (in English)
- The directory of the city of Aigio (in Greek)
- Blog regarding the city of Aigio (in Greek)