HISTORY OF AGISTRI ISLAND
Agistri together with Aegina and the surrounding islands formed the Kingdom of Aegina of the mythical King Aiacus and most of the island’s population were soldiers of the Myrmidons, the fleet of Aegina island, which took part in the Trojan War.
According to Homer and Plinius, Agistri had the name Kekrifalia, which means “decorated head” and appears as an ally of Aegina in the Trojan War.
The name “Agistri” was attributed to the island, because of its natural beauty, which fascinated the travelers, many of whom where “hooked” and they stayed forever on the island.
Besides Homer and Plinius, other historians who mention the island in their writings are Thucydides and Diodorus.
Aponisos, Megaritissa and Kontari are of greatest archaeological interest.
All along the west coast of the island, there are sunken antiquities, just below the surface of the sea, while various archaeological findings are found in Megalochori. These finds show that the island was inhabited at least from the 5th BC. century, from Peloponnesians who had come to the island.
Historians report that the island was inhabited from the Proto-Hellenic period, up to the Hellenistic era.
Later it passed to the Romans and the Byzantines. After the fall of Byzantium, along with the rest of Greece, it became part of the Ottoman Empire.
In general, we don’t have many testimonies from historians about the history of the island. At times, in its recent history, Agistri received many settlers from the opposite coasts of the Peloponnese, mainly Arvanites, around the 14th century. A.D.
At the end of the 17th century, most of the inhabitants left the island, due to frequent raids by pirates, while some moved further south, creating the village of Limenaria.
In the pre-revolutionary period, in 1772, in the failed revolution of the Orlofs, in the area where the Church of Agios Georgios exists, a battle took place between the Greeks, led by Mitromaras, and the Turks, in which Mitromaras fell in battle.
His bones, together with the bones of his 411 men, were placed in 1814, in a stone tomb, located opposite the Chapel of Agios Georgios and protected by the tax office of Byzantine antiquities.
Mitromaras was a famous pirate whose real name was Mitros Lekkas or Mitros Dedes. The Monument of Mitromaras exists in the forecourt of Agιοι Anargyrοi in Skala.See more about Mitromaras.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the island was again inhabited by a small population of people. In 1835, the Municipality of Agistri was established for the first time by a Royal Decree, which was based in the Megalochori settlement and belonged to the prefecture of Attica and Viotia. During the census made at that time, 248 inhabitants were mentioned, which doubled in a few years.
In 1912 it was abolished as a Municipality and recognized as a Community which was maintained until 31 December 2010.
On January 1, 2011, according to the Kallikratis program and Official Gazette 87A – 07/06/2010, it was reconstituted as the Municipality of Agistri, which administratively belongs to the regional unit of Piraeus & Nison, in the region of Attica, while ecclesiastically it is part of the Holy Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses, Aegina, Hermionis and Troizinia.
The new Municipality of Agistri includes the settlements of Megalochori (the capital of the island), Skala, Metohi, Limenaria, as well as the nearby islets and rocky islets Metopi, Dorousa, Kyra, Spalathronisi, Aponisos.
At the same time in 2011 it is recognized as a “green island” from the Prefecture of Piraeus and the National Technical University of Athens.
The population of Agistrio experienced an increase in the period 1879 – 1907, but until 1940 the population of the island remained small. After 1940 the population started to increase again and stabilized around 1991. Today, the population of the island is approximately 1,107 inhabitants (2021 census) and in the summer months it approaches 5,000 inhabitants.
Until 1960, transportation was done by boats coming from Aegina. In 1960 the island was connected directly with Piraeus and in 1973 it was electrified.
On September 1, 2006, the opening of the new port in Megalochori took place, while in August 2019, the opening of the new port in Skala took place, which contributed to the overall tourism upgrade of the island.
The flying dolphins of the ferry connection with Piraeus are today approaching the new port in Megalochori, while the ferry boats are approaching the new port of Skala.