when we visited aegina the first time, and stopped by the monastery of agios (saint) nektarios, we noticed some small churches on the adjacent hill. on our second visit, we again saw the churches from the side of the road, sitting above the groves of pistachio trees, so we decided to climb up and see what was there.
paleochora (literally, “old town”) was the capitol of aegina for about a millennium, from the ninth to the 19th century. the residents of aegina island retreated up the hill to avoid centuries of repeated pirate raids, including an attack in 1537 by the famed pirate barbarossa, interspersed with attacks by ottoman forces. it is said that there were 365 churches in all – one for each day of the year – but today you can see only the remains of 35, five of which are still in use. (in contrast, none of the original houses remain.)