Eleusis, probably the antiquity’s most sacred place in Greece, has been a cradle of culture and arts throughout the centuries. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, Eleusis and the surrounding area, most notably my hometown of Aspropyrgos, have turned to a — notoriously unplanned — industrial area with terrible consequences both for the area’s natural environment and the pertinent local society. In 2017, the 1843 magazine of The Economist, very rightly described Aspropyrgos as Europe’s heart of darkness.
Much as most of locals are taken by despair and the only thing they do is basically fleeing the area, there are a few notable exceptions of individuals who not only develop arts and culture but they do so while staying over there; I am convinced that arts and culture can be the only effective means for improving the living conditions in an area which is treated just as the dirty backyard of Athens.
I would, then, like to recognize the excellent work done by my good friend Panos Pestrovas, a researcher of local history and folklore as well as a prominent photographer, for the photo exhibition he organizes in Eleusis from May 5th to May 22nd. Not only it is a worth-visiting expo but it helps in setting a new standard (or, to be precise, it helps returning to the pre-WW2 standards) regarding the area’s cultural activities. Most importantly, Panos offers an outstanding example for the area’s youth, which I truly hope that many will follow!
Who knows, thanks to people like Panos, there might still be hope for Aeschylus birthplace.