Eleusis was chosen as a European Cultural City for 2023 because of its unique characteristics as a Greek city. The final goal of making Eleusis a European Cultural City for 2023 is to establish Eleusis as a dynamic cultural centre in the region with a sustainable future and improved quality of life.
Eleusis or Elefsina is a town with a population of 30,000 and is situated 20 km from the city of Athens. The town is known for its ancient and modern industrial history. In ancient times it was considered to be, for almost 2000 years (e.g. 1600-400 AD), one of the five holy cities, where the Eleusinian Mysteries attracted pilgrims from all over the known world for years. Thanks to the great tragic poet Aeschylus, Eleusis gets even more famous in the ancient world and our days.
After 14 centuries of obscurity, in 1827, after the liberation from the Turkish occupation, Eleusis appeared as a small town of 250 inhabitants. In the 1860s, Eleusis began to change its urban profile by constructing new buildings and installing specific small crafting industries. During the 1880s, industrial development was started with the foundation of a soap factory (CHARILAOU -1875), the cement industry TITAN (1902), and distilleries BOTRYS (1906) and Kronos (1922).
In 1922, 2000 refugees were installed in Elefsina, doubling its population. After the 2nd World War, hundreds of employees from around Greece were installed in Elefsina to work in the area's industries.
During the 21st century, Eleusis is developed into a modern town that disposes of the distinctions of a glorious past. It constitutes the administrative centre of the wider area and is the headquarters of the Prefecture of Western Attica. The Archaeological Site and its Museum constitute international promotion and tourist attraction areas. Furthermore, the Festival “Aeschylia”, the cultural event organized by the Municipality each autumn, is nowadays an institution that allows the expression of modern cultural matters of the town.
Thus, alongside the economic development, the ongoing efforts for infrastructural improvement and protective environmental measures, efforts are made from the side of public authorities, private associations and individuals for rehabilitation of the spiritual character of the town to be worthy of the heritage that bears the name “Eleusis”.