Making Use of the Lockdown to Improve the Acropolis

The absence of tourists has allowed authorities to accelerate interventions on the Acropolis Hill aimed at improving disabled access, safety and lighting.

Eight interventions to improve accessibility, safety and revenues at Greece’s top archaeological site are proceeding with just a few delays and should start improving the visitor experience when the country’s archaeological sites reopen within the coming weeks, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni has said.

“It is our priority for all eight projects planned for the Acropolis to proceed without hindrance so that we may upgrade the archaeological site’s image and the services it officers and, once completed, it can live up to visitors’ expectations,” Mendoni said in comments to Skai TV last week, following a briefing on the progress of the work.

The Acropolis, which receives some 1.5 million visitors a year, and all other archaeological sites and museums in Greece have been closed since March 13, when the government ordered a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Two of the interventions at the ancient citadel are aimed at helping wheelchair users, with the installation of a new lift, access ramps and paths. Mendoni said that following a few small delays, the wheelchair lift should be operational by the end of July.

Improvements to the lighting on the hill are also in the works. These will make it safer for pedestrians and more cost-efficient, and also make the lighting of the Parthenon at night more attractive.

Mendoni said she also requested that work be sped up to remove unnecessary parts of the scaffolding hiding the Parthenon from public view, and to replace some of the bulky metallic supports with more discreet structures.

The ticket sales system will also be made more efficient and the gift shops stocked with more attractive souvenirs.

Upgrading the site’s electrical network and improving its protection against lightning – after four people were injured last summer during a thunderstorm – are also on the cards.

According to the country’s plan to emerge from its lockdown, archaeological sites are due to reopen on May 18.

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