A new light is shed on Eleusis

The industrial city of Elefsina, home to the site of ancient Eleusis, one of Attica’s most significant archaeological areas, was recently brought under a new light, literally. Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis and an array of local MPs were present when the switch was flipped to present the new lighting of the area, designed by France’s Pierre Bideau. «The dream has come true,» said Dimtris Dedes, director of the Titan cement factory, the project’s sole sponsor, at last week’s presentation. «Titan originates from this same place and so naturally, the company was the one to take care of Elefsina’s archaeological site,» noted Andreas Kanellopoulos, president of the company’s board of directors. «The city has remained in the dark for 14 centuries. This permanent lighting will not only promote the ancient site but give light to the entire city,» said Giorgos Abatzoglou, mayor of Elefsina. There is a strange coexistence between Elefsina’s archaeological site and the modern, shabby houses that face and surround it. There’s a little church, a bell tower, ancient finds, and the houses’ courtyards, all of which seem to be exist in their own time, away from the fast pace of big cities. Following the inauguration of the new lighting design, a large procession of officials, sponsors and locals walked all the way to the new municipal cultural center, named Leonidas Kanellopoulos after the founder of Titan. The new venue, once Kanellopoulos’s private residence, has been entirely refurbished and is ready to start servicing community life. Marking the beginning of the new cultural center’s operations is a retrospective exhibition of works by Thanos Tsingas. Meanwhile, Titan has also offered the Prefecture of Western Attica an area of 1.1 hectares for the development of the new prefectural hall. At the same time, the deputy culture minister renewed his committment to a new Elefsina Museum, to be constructed in an area donated by the National Bank of Greece. Lighting designer French specialist Pierre Bideau has worked extensively in Greece, executing lighting projects for a number of archaeological sites, including the Acropolis and the Thisseio and Philopappou Hill monuments in Athens. Bideau was initially invited to Greece four years agoby accalimed Greek filmmaker Michael Cacoyiannis, who asked the designer to work on various sites leading up to the Athens 2004 Olympics. The warm, yet cold white light with which Bideau has «dressed» the ancient site inspires a re-acquaintance with the old city.

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