This article is about the modern city in Greece. For other uses, see Eleusis (disambiguation).

View over the excavation site towards Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf.

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
  Mayor Georgios Tsoukalas (SYRIZA, Democratic Left)
  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)[1]
  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:[2]

The municipality has an area of 36.589 km2, the municipal unit 18.455 km2.[3]


Ancient Eleusis

Marble sarcophagus with a relief about the hunt of the Calydonian boar on its main face (2nd century AC), in the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis.
The entrance of the Archaeological Museum.

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.

Modern Elefsina

Today, the city has become a suburb of Athens, to which it is linked by the Motorway 6 and Greek National Road 8. Eleusis is nowadays a major industrial area, and the place where the majority of crude oil in Greece is imported and refined. The largest refinery is located on the west side of town.

There is a military airport a few kilometers east of Eleusis. Eleusis Airfield played a crucial role in the final British evacuation during the 1941 Battle of Greece, as recounted by Roald Dahl in his autobiography Going Solo.

Eleusis is home to the football club Panelefsiniakos F.C., and the basketball club Panelefsiniakos B.C.


The Hellenic National Meteorological Service (HNMS) weather station of Eleusis has an average maximum July temperature of 33.0°C (1958-2001 HNMS)[4] and has recorded temperatures over 45.0°C nine times between 1973–2007). The Eleusis phenomenon is not yet completely understood however factors of geomorphology, warm water masses in the summer and warm winds might be responsible for its summer climate.[4] According to Kassomenos and Katsoulis (2006), based on 12 years of data (1990–2001), the industrialization of west Attica, where at least 40% of the industrial activity of the country is concentrated, could be the cause of the warm climate of the zone.[5] According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Eleusis has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.[6]

Climate data for Elefsina, Greece (1958-1997)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.0
Average low °C (°F) 5.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48.4
Source: Hellenic National Meteorological Service[7]

European temperature record

Eleusis is one of the two Athenian suburbs (the other one is Tatoi) with the highest ever officially recorded temperature in Europe according to the World Meteorological Organization of 48.0°C (118.4°F), on 10 July 1977, by the use of minimum-maximum thermometers.[8]

Historical population

Elefsina municipality within West Attica.
Elefsina municipal unit.
Year Municipal unit Municipality
1981 20,320 -
1991 22,793 -
2001 25,863 -
2011 24,901 29,902


Eleusis hosts the multi-sport club Panelefsiniakos with successful sections in football and basketball. Other historical club of Eleusis is Iraklis Eleusis, founded in 1928.

Notable sport clubs based in Eleusis
Club Sports Founded Achievements
Iraklis Eleusis Football1928Earlier presence in Gamma Ethniki
Panelefsiniakos Football1931Earlier presence in A Ethniki
Basketball1969Earlier presence in A1 Ethniki

Notable people

See also


  1. "Απογραφή Πληθυσμού - Κατοικιών 2011. ΜΟΝΙΜΟΣ Πληθυσμός" (in Greek). Hellenic Statistical Authority.
  2. Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  3. "Population & housing census 2001 (incl. area and average elevation)" (PDF) (in Greek). National Statistical Service of Greece.
  4. 1 2
  5. Kassomenos P.A., Katsoulis B.D. (2006). "Mesoscale and macroscale aspects of the morning Urban Heat Island around Athens, Greece". Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 94, 209-218.
  6. Climate Summary for Eleusis, Greece
  7. "Climatological Information for Elefsina, Greece", HNMS climatological table, web: .
  8. . Arizona State University World Meteorological Organization
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