The first crematorium in Greece is reportedly operational as of Thursday, ending a decades-old prohibition that was followed by an unwillingness of successive Greek governments to license such a facility in the country.
The inaugural crematorium in the country is located some 70 kilometers north, northeast of Athens in the industrial Ritsona district, a few kilometers west of the city of Halkida.
The privately financed and managed facility, with one of the owners being the Hellenic Society for Cremation, a NGO that has lobbied for years to built such a facility in Greece.
According to the president of the group, Antonis Alakiotis, some 2.5 to three million euros are spent by Greek citizens abroad every year for the cremation of their loved ones, as per their last wishes. Most cremations of Greek citizens were conducted in neighboring Bulgaria.
Besides ubiquitous bureaucratic obstables that characterize Greece's public sector, the dominant Orthodox Church in the country has long opposed the option of cremation of the dead.