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Eleusis

Elefsina
Ελευσίνα
View over the excavation site towards Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf.
View over the excavation site towards Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf.
Elefsina is located in Greece
Elefsina
Elefsina
Coordinates: 38°2′N 23°32′E / 38.033°N 23.533°E / 38.033; 23.533Coordinates: 38°2′N 23°32′E / 38.033°N 23.533°E / 38.033; 23.533
Country Greece
Administrative region Attica
Regional unit West Attica
Government
 • Mayor Georgios Tsoukalas (SYRIZA, Democratic Left)
Area
 • Municipality 36.589 km2 (14.127 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 18.455 km2 (7.126 sq mi)
Highest elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Municipality 29,902
 • Municipality density 820/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 24,901
 • Municipal unit density 1,300/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 192 00
Area code(s) 210
Website www.eleusina.gr

Eleusis (Greek: Ελευσίνα Elefsina, Ancient Greek: Ἐλευσίς Eleusis) is a town and municipality in West Attica, Greece. It is situated about 18 kilometres (11 miles) northwest from the centre of Athens. It is located in the Thriasian Plain, at the northernmost end of the Saronic Gulf. North of Eleusis are Mandra and Magoula, while Aspropyrgos is to the northeast.

Eleusis is the seat of administration of West Attica regional unit. It is the site of the Eleusinian Mysteries and the birthplace of Aeschylus. Today, Eleusis is a major industrial centre, with the largest oil refinery in Greece as well as the home of the Aeschylia Festival, the longest-lived arts event in Attica Region.

On 11 November 2016 Eleusis was named the European Capital of Culture for 2021.

The municipality Elefsina was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following two former municipalities, that became municipal units:

The municipality has an area of 36.589 km2, the municipal unit 18.455 km2.

From as early as 600 BC up to the 4th century AD, Eleusis was the site of the Eleusinian Mysteries, or the Mysteries of Demeter and Kore. These Mysteries revolved around a belief that there was a hope for life after death for those who were initiated. Such a belief was cultivated from the introduction ceremony in which the hopeful initiates were shown a number of things including the seed of life in a stalk of grain. The central myth of the Mysteries was Demeter's quest for her lost daughter (Kore the Maiden, or Persephone) who had been abducted by Hades. It was here that Demeter, disguised as an old lady who was abducted by pirates in Crete, came to an old well where the four daughters of the local king Keleos and his queen Metaneira (Kallidike, Kleisidike, Demo and Kallithoe) found her and took her to their palace to nurse the son of Keleos and Metaneira, Demophoon. Demeter raised Demophoon, anointing him with nectar and ambrosia, until Metaneira found out and insulted her. Demeter arose insulted, and casting off her disguise, and, in all her glory, instructed Meteneira to build a temple to her. Keleos, informed the next morning by Metaneira, ordered the citizens to build a rich shrine to Demeter, where she sat in her temple until the lot of the world prayed to Zeus to make the world provide food again.


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