Elefsina begins year as a Cultural Capital of Europe for 2023
The industrial town of Elefsina – site of the famous Elefsinian Mysteries of antiquity − next month will launch its one year reign as a Cultural Capital of Europe, an event that is helping revive the city’s image and reposition it as a cultural destination.
“Elefsina, as a European Capital of Culture, now has the opportunity to be internationally recognized for its rich ancient history but also reintroduce itself as a place of social development and innovation,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni this month at an event marking the formal handover of the title to the city.
Located 21 kilometers west of Athens, Elefsina is the fourth Greek city to be named European Capital of Culture after Athens itself, Thessaloniki and Patras previously. The city, which is the birthplace of the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, has planned 465 events that will take place in 30 different locations – many of them in disused industrial facilities like old oil mills or the city’s railway station.
Once a destination for visitors from around the ancient world, in the 19th Century, waves of industrialization – shipyards, refineries, factories – transformed Elefsina into a center for heavy industry. Over the last few decades, however, many of the local industrial facilities have been shuttered. Now, the city aims to repurpose those facilities as cultural venues in an effort to revive its attraction to visitors.