The construction of Thessaloniki’s first crematorium is well underway at the First Municipal Cemetery in Thermi.

On Wednesday during a tour of ongoing municipal initiatives the port city’s mayor, Yiannis Boutaris was optimistic it would be up and running by the first half of 2019.

“The process has moved forward quite significantly,” he said.

“All that is left is the local zoning plan, which we believe will be finished and approved by the end of the summer.”

Since cremations were legalised in Greece in 2006 there has been strong opposition from the Church of Greece.

Aside from religious motivations, traditional burials are also a significant source of revenue for the funeral industry, local churches and municipalities.

Currently those seeking to cremate their deceased loved ones have been transporting the bodies to Bulgaria with the estimated price tag of €10,000.

Once local cremation centres are open and running, the average cost will be around €500 to €600.

In addition to the crematorium underway in Thessaloniki, there are also plans to construct similar centres in Athens and Patra.