Aigio

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Aigio

Αίγιο
The town of Aigio
The town of Aigio
Aigio is located in Greece
Aigio
Aigio
Location within the regional unit
DE Egiou.svg
Coordinates: 38°15′N 22°05′E / 38.250°N 22.083°E / 38.250; 22.083Coordinates: 38°15′N 22°05′E / 38.250°N 22.083°E / 38.250; 22.083
CountryGreece
Administrative regionWest Greece
Regional unitAchaea
MunicipalityAigialeia
 • Municipal unit151.101 km2 (58.340 sq mi)
Elevation
61 m (200 ft)
Population
(2011)[1]
 • Municipal unit
26,523
 • Municipal unit density180/km2 (450/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
251 00
Area code(s)2691
Vehicle registrationΑΧ,AZ
Websitewww.aigialeia.gov.gr
www.aigio.gr

Aigio, also written as Aeghion, Aegion, Aegio, Egio, (Greek: Αίγιο, pronounced [ˈeʝo]) is a town and a former municipality in Achaea, West Greece, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Aigialeia, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.[2] The municipal unit has an area of 151.101 km2.[3] Its population is around 26,000. Aigio is a port town on the Gulf of Corinth, and takes its name from the ancient city of Aegium.

Geography[edit]

The southwestern part of the municipality consists of the foothills of the Panachaiko mountain. The river Selinountas flows into the Gulf of Corinth in Valimitika, 5 km east of Aigio town centre.

History[edit]

Antiquity[edit]

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 (sometimes called "The Lost Atlantis") were discovered in 2000 off the coast in the Corinthian Gulf. Archeologists are excavating the site.[4]

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.

Byzantine era[edit]

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 (it is unclear when exactly the change of name happened), it was renamed Vostitsa (Βοστίτσα). In the Chronicle of the Morea, it is first mentioned with this new name. The origin of this name is unclear.

Some scholars interpret the name as having a Slavic origin. For example, the German linguist and Slavicist Max Vasmer gives two possible interpretations,[5] one from the word Voščica (Voštane, slaven. Vošče) and one from the word ovoštь, meaning "fructus". Dionysios Zakythinos, a Greek scholar of Byzantium, gives a similar interpretation.[6]

Christos Coryllos, in his detailed book "Χωρογραφία της Ελλάδος, Νομός Αχαϊας", gives 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.[7]

Vostizza giá Egio, 1820 illustration by Pomardi Simone
Andreas Londos destroys 3000 enemies near Vostizza, by Peter von Hess.

Frankish/Ottoman era[edit]

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 the first town to be liberated from Ottoman rule. After Greek Independence, the town was officially renamed to its ancient name.

Modern era[edit]

On June 15, 1995, a serious earthquake destroyed many buildings and damaged roads in the downtown and southwestern sections,[8] 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.[9]

Landmarks and sights[edit]

The sacred shrine of Panagia Trypiti.
Faneromeni church, designed by Ernst Ziller.
  • 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.

Transport[edit]

View of the almost complete new railway station of Aigion and the works of laying the railway tracks (2017)

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.[10]

The port also has railroad tracks, but the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) announced suspension of service in Aigio and across the Pelopponese in January 2011.[11][12]

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.[13]

Roads serving the city are Motorway 8 (Greece) (Athens-Corinth-Patras) and Greek National Road 31 (Aigio - Kalavryta).

Infrastructure and economy[edit]

Port of Aigio. View of the new 256 m long pier.

Aigio, along with Patras and Piraeus, has been one of the main export hubs for Corinthian raisins since the 19th century.[14][15] In the book Geography of Greece - Achaia (1903) by Christos Coryllos,[16] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

Aigio houses two branch departments of the Technological Educational Institute of Patras, the department of Physiotherapy and the Optics and Optometry department.[20] 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.[21]

Sports[edit]

Aigio has a football stadium called "Municipal Stadium of Aigion", which has a capacity of ~7,000 (4,500 seats).[22] 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. [23]

Subdivisions[edit]

The municipal unit Aigio is subdivided into the following communities (constituent villages in brackets):

Historical population[edit]

Year Municipal district Municipality
1981 20,955 -
1991 22,178 28,903
2001 21,255 27,741
2011 20,664 26,523[1]

Mayors[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

Sporting clubs[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (in Greek)
  3. ^ "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-21.
  4. ^ Stewart, Iain (25 October 2000). "Echoes of Atlantis". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 18 August 2017 – via The Guardian.
  5. ^ Die Slawen in Griechenlad, Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1941
  6. ^ Διονύσιος Α. Ζακυθηνός, Οι Σλάβοι εν Ελλάδι. Συμβολαί εις τήν Ίστορίαν τοϋ Μεσαιωνικού Ελληνισμού, Αθήναι, Αετός, 1945 (αναφέρει το εξής "Βοστίτσα:Τόπος οπωροφόρος"
  7. ^ [1] Χρ. Κορυλλου, Χωρογραφίας της Ελλάδος, Α´, Νομός Αχαϊας, Αθήναι, 1903
  8. ^ Journal of Geodynamics Vol. 26, Issues 2-4, 1998, Pages 487-499 "Egio earthquake (15 June 1995): An episode in the neotectonic evolution of Corinthiakos Gulf"
  9. ^ "Greek fires blamed on 'culture of arson'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Σταματά στις 2 Μαΐου το φέρυ μποτ Αιγίου - Αγίου Νικολάου". Thebest.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Naftemporiki (23 December 2010). "ΤΡΑΙΝΟΣΕ: Διακοπή δρομολογίων και αύξηση κομίστρων". Naftemporiki.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  13. ^ [3], METKA signed contract for the completion of Kiato-Rododafni Railway project within 24 months, (September 2014)
  14. ^ "Athens News article 10 October 2010 - Hidden history: Of currants and crisis". Athensnews.gr. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  15. ^ "EGHIO (Town) ACHAIA - GTP". Gtp.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  16. ^ [4] Χρ. Κορυλλου, Χωρογραφία της Ελλάδος, Α´, Νομός Αχαϊας, Αθήναι, 1903
  17. ^ "Θ. Γκλίνος: "Δεν φτάνουν οι μειώσεις τιμών στους καταναλωτές"". Zougla.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  18. ^ [5]
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "ΤΕΙ Δυτικής Ελλάδας - Τμήμα Οπτικής και Οπτομετρίας". Optiki.teipat.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Home". Gnaigio.gr. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  22. ^ Stadia: Aeghio, Gov't of Greece
  23. ^ Article in daily newspaper Peloponnisos], 28 January 2018 0, tells about the new swimming pool and includes a photo of the facilities

External links[edit]