Archeological Site of Elefsina: The archeological site of Elefsina is one of the biggest archeological sites in Greece, with findings that date back to various historic periods.
It is located 24 Km east of Athens center.
The town of Elefsina was a significant religious and cultural center for many centuries in Ancient Greece.
Findings suggest that Elefsina has been inhabited since the prehistoric period, although the town's extensive development occurred around 2000 BC.
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During the Mycenaean Period, the first temple dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of nature and grains, was constructed on the acropolis of Elefsina.
There was a complex fortification system surrounding the town and the acropolis and parts of its walls are still located there.
Rituals dedicated to Demeter were local in the beginning, although over the years, the entire region of Athens started to celebrate the goddess.
This led to the establishment of the annual Eleusinian Mysteries, one of the biggest ancient rites practiced every year in Athens during autumn and spring, for more than 1000 years!
The original temple of Demeter was destroyed and rebuilt around 500 BC. The ancient celebrations started to decline around the 4th century BC and so did the temple, until it was ultimately abandoned.
The very first archeological excavations in the area started in 1812, although excavation works took place many more times in the past, with the last ones being in the 1990s.
Findings retrieved from the site date to the Mycenaean, the Hellenistic, the Roman and the Byzantine periods.
Scattered around the site of the acropolis, you will find the remnants of sculptures, columns, statues, a fountain, the propylaea gateways, a Roman temple of Poseidon and Artemis and the Plutonian cave among others.
In addition, there is an archeological museum which exhibits findings from both the archeological site and the ancient necropolis of Elefsina.
Elefsina was nominated as a European Capital of Culture in 2021 due to its rich historical and cultural background, having been one of the most important religious centers of antiquity in Greece.