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Elefsina to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021

Elefsina will be the European Capital of Culture in the year 2021 together with Novisad in Serbia and Timisoara in Romania, as it was declared by the European Commission a few days ago. Elefsina is the fourth Greek city to win this title, following Athens in 1985, Thessaloniki in 1997 and Patras in 2006 and is considered of great importance as 2021 coincides with the celebration of the 200 years from the Greek Revolution, which resulted to the establishment of the new Greek State.
Elefsina is located 20 km. west of Athens and its surrounding bay bares the same name as the town, which counts 30.000 inhabitants and since the late 19th century has become Greece’s major industrial center.

During antiquity, Elefsina was for almost 2000 years ( from 1.600 BC until 400 AD) one of the five holy cities of Greece with the famous Eleusinian Mysteries –which were linked to the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone- attracting pilgrims from all over the known world. Nowadays, its sanctuary is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the country, while the Archaeological Museum (located in the archaeological area), the west cemetery and the visible traces of the Sacred Way, which connected the city with Athens, are of exceptional interest. Birthplace of the leading tragic poet Aeschylus (525-456 BC), the town has a great cultural heritage that includes festivals, folklore associations from all parts of Greece, many artists and many friends of the city, which form its modern cultural history.

The main idea of the Eleusis program is summarized in the phrase «Transition to EUphoria». The vision for the artistic programme is incited by the challenge of sustainability, and nourished by the belief that art and culture are the “keys” to building a sustainable future. It is inspired by the Eu-Transition-Eleusis triptych, and seeks to answer the question: What would a city be like if art and culture were at the heart of every human activity? Both Eleusis and Europe, at this point in time, are invited to reinstate the concept of “eu” in daily life, to redefine a model of sustainability in order to proceed towards the future with optimism.

Inspired by the figure of Persephone, the transition and alternation of the seasons, the programme includes five key events that link the natural flow of time to the evolution of Europe and the European Union. The Key Events are: Opening Ceremony (January 2021), Closing Ceremony-Winter Solstice (21 December 2021), May 2021 (Connection of Europe Day and the arrival of Persephone and spring), June 2021 (Connection of European Development Days and European Day of Music with the Equinox, the arrival of summer and fruition), September 2021 (Connection of European Heritage Days and the end of summer, the beginning of autumn and the Equinox).

Thematically, the programme focuses on the three great challenges that the concept of sustainability is currently faced with, which also correspond to the three main categories of relationships that need to be redefined. First is the challenge of our relationship with the environment and nature (EUnvironment). Then comes the challenge of our relationship with others in the framework of society (social sustainability), which we approach through the contemporary city (EUrbanization). And finally, there is the challenge of the relationship between the individual and his or her Self (personal sustainability), which is crystallized in the individual’s relationship to work, i.e. to the need for survival, creativity and recognition (The EU Working Classes). Each of the 3 themes includes 4 major programmes, resulting in 12 major programmes, as many as the months in a year. Moreover, the programme includes the “Innovation and Capacity Building Centre”, which spans all three thematic units. Each programme consists of a series of events and projects that combine diverse forms of artistic expression. Finally, the programme includes the infrastructure «Eleusis: The Living Museum», a project that documents the activities of the ECoC, links it to relevant resources throughout Europe and projects this material in both the digital and urban space, thus creating a living museum.
Each program consists of a series of works and projects that combine different forms of artistic expression.

Visit the official site of the Agency "Elefsina 2021" here.

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