“Truly, i have no words to describe what an amazing experience that was! This is a must place to visit for all History Lovers visiting Athens and Greek TravelTellers have designed a unique journey that brings you as close as possible to the Great Mysteries! We felt like being a part of the most sacred religious rite in ancient Greece! From the moment we got in the car it was like we traveled back in time and we were part of the ancient procession to Demeter's Temple! Our two guides were truly exceptionally prepared and kept our interest at the maximum level during the whole time!! We had never before experienced such a tour! The level of interaction and participation we had was huge! Interactive initiation tests, symbolic games... the creative and fun role-playing, the tasting of Demeter's holy drink... poems and philosophy... I truly have no words! We were so lucky to find this tour and honestly i can't recommend it enough!!! A big thanks to the team of Greek TravelTellers for this experience!
- Patricia K, USA
2. What you can expect
After picking you up from your hotel, we will travel to Eleusis by car, the city selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2021. We will follow the ‘Iera Odos’ (Sacred Way), the road that the procession of the Eleusinian Mysteries used to take to Eleusis, which still survives, 2500 years later.
The Eleusinian Mysteries were secret religious rites of ancient Athens that annually celebrated the story of Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, who was kidnapped by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The Eleusinian Mysteries were famous in the ancient world and many prominent men were initiated into them; Plato, Pythagoras, Pericles, the Roman Emperor Hadrian, to name a few… What is so intriguing about the Mysteries is that, despite the fact that many thousands of initiates took part in the rituals over so many centuries, no one ever divulged the secrets of what really took place. One reason for this silence is obvious: speaking of the sacred rituals was a crime punishable by death. What we do know, though, is that those who participated in the mysteries were no longer feared death.
With the help of our travel-teller, we will follow the steps and many stages of initiation through interactive narrative and games. We will get to know the Goddess of harvest and fertility, Demeter, and the places she walked on during her life on Earth, according to Greek Mythology. Through a fun theatrical play, we will learn why Eleusinian Mysteries were established and what they symbolised for ancient Greeks.
The deeper we delve into the different stages of initiation, the more we unfold. We will hear about stories and secrets, rituals and legends! We will have the chance to taste the famed 'Kykeon', Demeter's sacred drink. We will also approach and observe one of the ancient gates to the Underworld, the Kingdom of Hades.
Finally, we will visit the small but very important site Museum. There, we will observe the headless statue of Demeter, dating back to the 5th century BC, the Eleusis amphora, one of the most splendid examples of the Proto-attic style, which bears a representation of the blinding of Cyclops Polyphemus by Ulysses, and the colossal statue of a Cistophorus Kore, who was one of the two Caryatids supporting the roof of Lesser Propylaea. After we admire the view over the hill to the sea, we will head back to Athens' city-centre or your hotel, whichever you like best.