The news that came to the Ministry of Finance in August 1903 was dire. The Eleusinians watched helplessly as a unique ecosystem and a basic source of income for their families went up in smoke.
We do not know whether or how Eleusis honoured Aeschylus, her favourite son. The reconstitution of the community in 1914 enabled its residents to envision the erection of a statue dedicated to the great poet.
In the early 1880s, Lepsina (as Eleusis was known at the time) was an insignificant town on the edge of the Thriasian Plain. The establishment of industries brought significant wealth to Eleusis and enabled wealthy middle-class urbanites to set up home here. Obviously, the new residents demanded imposing residences, so within fifty years (1880-1930) the neighborhoods around the archaeological site were filled with neoclassical buildings to accommodate their needs.
Many years before the arrival of the first industrial chimneys, Eleusis depended on agriculture. The land was generally dry and arid but the pine-clad mountains that surround the Thriasian Plain contained great wealth in the form of pine resin. This substance supported an entire way of life that grew and died with the forests of Eleusis.
The arrival of the first train in Eleusis in late 1885 was a major event for the small community. The station became a favourite destination for the young people of Lepsina, while the railway station’s coffeehouse served the first souvlaki and Fix beer to the people of Eleusis.
The bloodshed during the labour protest of March 5, 1929, was a jolt to the state apparatus. While Eleusinians mourned the dead worker and fought for their rights with the ministers of the Venizelos government, Eleusis was practically occupied by strong gendarmerie detachments…
Eleusis was a prosperous town during the Roman period. It benefited greatly from the popularity of the Eleusinian Mysteries among the Romans, as well as the benevolence of Roman emperors.
The excavation of the sanctuary of Demeter transformed Eleusis into an international destination. As the archaeologists demolished the old houses of the settlement and removed the soil that covered the Telesterion
When the most conservative elements of the middle class go on strike, surely something is terribly wrong. On March 10, 1927, merchants and shopkeepers expressed their disagreement with a devastating policy introduced by the all-party government of Alexandros Zaimis
Every Sunday morning, the suburb of Tzitzifies was full of people. Hundreds of fishermen from all over Athens gathered here to buy bait and secure a seat in the boats or the buses that would transport them to paradise: the Saronic Gulf fishing grounds.
From the mid-1920, Eleusis began to change rapidly. The arrival of refugees from Asia Minor, the return of the enlisted men after the end of a decade of war, and the development of industry transformed the semi-rural town into a dynamic urban center full of life.
There was not a moment to lose. Every delay could prove fatal to the freedom of the Athenians who were bracing for the inevitable attack by the army of the Great King on the plain of Marathon.
“The roots of the nation lie in the fields […], for the present generation of Greeks […] it is necessary […] to thicken the nation’s rural roots […] and to intensify to the utmost limit the exploitation of agricultural resources”. Thus spoke the Minister of Agriculture of the Metaxas government in January 1937.
In the early 20th century, Eleusis was at the forefront of industrial development. The abundant (and inexpensive) land, the opening of the Corinth Canal, the Piraeus-Athens-Peloponnese railway line and the port of Eleusis had transformed the city into an ideal location for the founding of new industries.