The Archaeological Museum of Aegina
The Archaeological Museum of Aegina was the first National Museum of Greece. It was founded on 21 October 1829 by Ioannis Kapodistrias in Aegina, the then capital of the Greek state.
Originally the Museum was housed in the Kapodistrian Orphanage and after several relocations, it found its current position in 1981 in the archaeological site of Kolona, next to the ruins of prehistoric settlements and the acropolis of historical times.
In the three halls of the archaeological museum, the collections exhibited cover the period from Prehistoric to Roman times and include findings from Kolona, the Temple of Aphaia, the Temple of Ellanios Zeus, the Temple of Artemis, the Temple of Apollo and more.
Also, vases from the Cyclades and Crete are exhibited, thus proving the intense commercial activity of the Aegineans of the time.
The Museum also features a reconstruction of a Proto-Helladic, two-storey residence known as the “White House”, as well as a copper foundry, while among the wonderful exhibits you will find ceramics, marble statues, ancient jewels, bronze vessels, pots, inscriptions and coins.
Through a number of impressive sculptures, Aegina confirms its reputation as one of the most well-known schools of the plastic arts in the Archaic period (7th-5th century B.C.). The sculptures of the pediments of the two archaic temples of Apollo, the two sphinxes of the sanctuary and some reliefs are some of them. Another interesting piece is the inscription which refers to the oldest temple of Aphaia.
The most important exhibit of the Museum is the statue of the Sphinx, a work of the classical period (460 BC), which was dedicated to god Apollo and was unearthed during the excavations of 1903. We are talking about an excellent sculpture of a creature whose body is half lion and half eagle, while the head is that of a female human.
In the patio you can admire the tombstone reliefs from the cemetery of Rhenia. By the sea under the hill there are traces of the island’s war harbor, known as the “Cryptos” (hidden) harbor. There the Aegineans kept their 400 triremes.
The collection of the museum is planned to be transferred to the space from which it originated, namely the Kapodistrian Orphanage, which is being repaired and shaped to house Aegina’s “Diachronic Museum”.