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    Eleusis, Attica, Greece

The last hierophant

The last priest of Demeter was a crook, but it no longer mattered; the old religion was dead and nobody cared about his resume. Acclaimed Eleusis, the light of the world for more than a thousand years, soon became a shapeless mass of ruins and disappeared from the face of the earth. But some people preserved the memory of the Great Mysteries, a celebration considered the greatest gift of ancient Greece to humanity. The hope of one day discovering the sacred objects displayed by the priest as he stood enveloped in an otherworldly light, and the commentaries that inspired countless generations with optimism about what was to come after their death breathed new life into the Eleusinian antiquities.

The last hierophant is a journey to ancient Eleusis and the unflagging charm of its monuments and its history. At the foot of a rocky hill near the sea, King Celeus and the citizens of Eleusis built a temple dedicated to the goddess Demeter. Later generations made it bigger and more beautiful. Visionary politicians, talented artists, and ambitious emperors left their personal mark on the sanctuary’s stones and made it famous to the far corners of the ancient world. 

From the outer court of the sanctuary of Demeter, the only area accessible to the uninitiated, we will embark on a tour of Eleusis in order to discover the archaeological treasures and the human stories of a city largely unknown to the public. We will visit the baths near the old port where travellers tried to regain their calm composure after that idiot sneezed as he boarded their ship and delayed their departure. We will see the ancient pier where fishermen landed their catch (no red mullets or sharks though). We will admire the Roman aqueduct that transformed this arid city into an aquatic paradise and we will follow the Sacred Way in the company of the boisterous initiates who walked to Eleusis from Athens. We will also seek the truth behind the abduction myth of Persephone and, near the ruins of a Roman villa, we will read the prophecy of the last legitimate hierophant who proclaimed the coming destruction of the sanctuary and the renowned city of Eleusis.

Route information

3-4 hours

No special preparation is required to participate in this experience. Depending on the weather and personal preferences, guests should dress comfortably and bring with them sunglasses, hats and sunscreen