Elefsina

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Less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the center of Athens, Elefsina (called Eleusis in ancient times) is a fun and accessible day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As well as being the birthplace of the playwright Aeschylus, the great father of Greek tragedy, Elefsina was famous in the ancient world for its cult of Demeter, goddess of agriculture and fertility. According to myth, Demeter, searching for her kidnapped daughter Persephone, stopped at Elefsina disguised as an old woman. When she revealed herself after being disrespected by the local Queen Metaneira, her husband, King Keleos, had a temple built and dedicated to her.

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So, for hundreds of years, the site was home to the “Eleusian Mysteries,” a religious ceremony during which the priests and priestesses of Demeter consumed kykeon, a mysterious drink with psychedelic properties. These traditions were maintained for more than a thousand years, until the late 4th Century CE, and the site contains many Roman ruins in addition to those of the ancient Greeks. The local archaeological museum is filled with art and other depictions of the Greek myths that date from the height of the Athenian era.

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