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Aegina and Stone

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Thousands of years ago, Aegina rose from the depths of the sea so every piece of rock could be put to proper use. On the north side, there was the golden yellow porous limestone - pouri. It was a soft stone used in antiquity to build the Temple of Aphaia. Seven of the temple's columns are in a single piece, with the capitals at a height of 5.25 m. The stones were cut from the paspara area, a quarry that has much to teach about the Temple of Poseidon, the Temple of the Nymphs, the ancient theatre, the ancient stadium and ancient walls. It is not known what the squared-off stone blocks found in the rivers of northern Aegina or various other spots on the island were used for or what temples they came from. Dozens of houses were built in Athens using the light blond stones of Aegina, chosen by architects to add a touch of beauty to their designs. A little further from the north side, you come across the black stones found in river beds. Stones were cut in the area of the first Marathonas beach to build the temple of Hellanion Zeus, at the foot of Mount Oros. Stones for this sanctuary were also cut from Nikolaki Mountain. Kakoperato is a little further on from the second Marathonas beach. It was here that they would cut and shape the famous round mill stones that were used all over Greece. In Kakoperato, one can still see some abandoned half-finished mill stones. Black stones, which were used in hand mills (amateur flour mills), were also found northwest of the mountain. Below the settlement of Lazarides there are remains from stones that were cut and sent to decorate the fortresses in Crete, an old-timer once said. There were many stone quarries in Aegina, and numerous miners working to extract the stones. Once cut, the stones were taken up by the artisans who carved, chiseled or built with them - the ones who spoke to the stones. They would select the best face and start to build from the outside; if it was not such a good piece, they would improve upon it with their tools. After Ioannis Kapodistrias' arrival, many magnificent buildings were constructed in the town using stones from the island that are well worth visiting. There are also churches built with the golden blocks: Mitropoli, Agios Nikolaos, Panagitsa, Agia Varvara, Agia Paraskevi, Agia Filothei and Myrtidiotissa, in addition to private manor houses and shops. Nowadays, there are still Aeginetans who continue to speak to the stones, bringing out the life hidden within this primordial material.

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