Τhe soap factory started its operations in the year 1875 at the west side of Eleusina, in a big land area between the coastal line and the archaeological site. It was the first industrial effort established in the area by Charilaos brothers, Lyssandros and Emmanoyhl, who came from Galatsi of Romania. Several domestic soap industries already existing in the city were the reason behind plant’s “birth”. So, they didn’t choose Eleusina by chance!
Plant’s first name was “Charilaos soap factory” but it was well- known as the olive oil press - “Eleourgio”. It produced oils by various sources such as the linseed oil and the seed oil but its basic production line was “the Eleusina’s green soap” resembles to the Massalias’ one.
The neighbor port plays an important role in the expansion of the production, while exporting all theabove products to other cities like Patra or Peiraues. Thus, the need for extended production was getting bigger and bigger. The same need led to staff increase. According to the statistics, ten workers were the first staff in contrast to two hundred fifty in 1939 with ten women among them. The soap factory consists of twenty-three building facilitiesthat chronologically belongs to different phases of plant’s life. Most of them have perfectly preserved and others have deteriorated or collapsed.The first years, the olive oil press run with steam which was substituted by electricity years later. It closes its doors in 1960.
Nowadays, the ownership of the olive oil press belongs to the National Bank of Greece which grants the right of its reuse to the municipality of Eleusina during Aisxylia festival since 2007. Extraordinary theatrical performances and virtual art exhibitions successfully take place here! A mysterious aura derived both from the place and from the cultural event presented is surely transmitting to the audience!
Another great example of a building reuse is the edifices that once housed the warehouses of the old soap factory. At a distance from the old olive mill, at the junction of adefonMouriki and hieraodos street, the standing facilities of the warehouses give a past remembrance to the surrounding. A long time ago, the buildings were cleaned and repaired from damages and hosts many local athletic and cultural clubs.
It is surreal that the plant which presents the start of industrial Eleusina, today hosts cultural events with such success! This full of variations profile of the city is always and everywhere present in each aspect of the everyday life! It became more obvious during these cultural events!
The brand “Votrys” established in 1906, eight years since the plant’s operation. Epaminondas Charilaos and Leonidas Oikonomidis, both chemists, were its founders. It is located at the west part of the city near the olive oil press. Both industries most of the time were faced as one single industry because of the common ownership and the same architectural design. The distillery produced various wines, cognac, vermouth and methylated spirit, based all on raisin. Its rapidly development is due to the spread of methyl spirit which turned the plant into one of the largest distillery industries of the country. Its function stopped in 1986. Votrys, as the soap factory does, hosts cultural events that the municipality organizes.