Elefsina, the city of the homonymous mysteries of antiquity, over the years gradually turned into the cradle of industrial activity, hosting large factory facilities on its territory, which, however, slowly began to disappear. Nowadays efforts are being made to reintroduce us with a new face, inviting us to visit and discover it. Let's see what Elefsina was like then, but above all what this city looks like now.
The city of Elefsina can only be inextricably linked to the homonymous mysteries, the most sacred and respected celebration of antiquity, in all our minds. Bearing an eminently religious connotation, the Elefsinian mysteries were performed in the utmost secrecy in honor of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, whom she located in the area, after her abduction by the god of the underworld, Pluto. Their initially local reach gradually spread, making Elefsina particularly popular on a wider geographical scale, until the time of the abolition of the sacraments by the Emperor Theodosius, who imposed strict measures with the ultimate goal of spreading Christianity.
Elefsina: The industrial aspect of the city
Elefsina, at the end of the 19th century until shortly after the middle of the twentieth, slowly began to acquire a highly successful industrial face, since it became one of the places where persecuted Greek refugees from Asia Minor flocked. Soap factories start operating in the region, soon gaining worldwide prestige, since they export their products throughout the Mediterranean Sea. The baton from the soap industry is taken over by the winery "Votrys", with the start of industries producing wine and cognac with raisins as the basic material, putting Elefsina once again at the center of economic developments.
The continuation belongs to the cement industry with the establishment of the famous "Titan", while a little earlier the company "Kronos" makes its appearance with its main activity alcohol. In the years that followed, along with the shipyards and refineries, pollution occurred on its soil, resulting in the closure of many industries during the 1980s and 1990s, radically changing the image of Elefsina until then and forcing it to find a way to change its identity again.
Aeschylia Festival: A cultural institution in Elefsina
In the aftermath of the overthrow of the colonels' junta, in 1975 a promising institution was born in Elefsina, the festival bearing the name "Aeschylia". With its creation, the city tries to identify with the arts and creativity, giving a platform to all its forms, including music, theater and painting, to be expressed and appreciated by the audience that will watch it. So, against the backdrop of the old olive oil mill, every year the artistic program of the festival, selected by the competent committee, manages to attract the attention even on an international scale, but above all to open the intellectual horizons that choose to attend it.
Today, Elefsina has managed to completely reinvent its image. Elected as the Capital of Culture for 2023, it is once again entering the spotlight by exorcising the past of the distorted industrial aspect, turning into a cultural oasis with many extensions. Activities dedicated to the environment, art exhibitions and unique performances adorn it from end to end, giving ambitious visitors another reason to move in its direction.
Besides its cultural richness, Elefsina also embraces renewal and athletics. With the help of public funding, the future Elefsina is striving to build contemporary venues for sports teams and their requirements, and more importantly, to showcase another aspect of this city that fosters and promotes sports.
Mysteries, industry, culture and sports are some of the essentials that can characterize Elefsina, a city that has the power to change without losing any of its value.