It’s about to become significantly easier for people with mobility issues to visit the Acropolis monuments in Greece.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated new facilities at the Acropolis in Athens on December 3. The facilities are designed to make the historic site fully accessible for disabled visitors, the Associated Press reports. December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, designated by the United Nations as the day “to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion” of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.
“Today, we inaugurate the new lift and also the designed routes that make the Acropolis Hill accessible to everyone,” Prime Minister Mitsotakis said, according to a Greek Travel Pages report.
Mitsotakis said the project, which was funded by the private Onassis Foundation, will “make the Acropolis accessible to everyone — without the difficulties associated with the classic route,” Associated Press reports.
The modern lift replaces what Greek Travel Pages calls “a repeatedly malfunctioning elevator.” Located on the north face of the Acropolis, along the ancient promenade, the new lift will transport wheelchair users and visitors with mobility issues to the top of the hill. The site also features specially designed and renovated 13-foot-wide pathways to improve access.
Some people in Greece had criticized the new pathways, saying they made excessive use of concrete. However, to these ease concerns, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the work was supervised by restoration expert Manolis Korres, a civil engineer, professor of architectural history, and head of the Acropolis Restoration Service, Greek Travel Pages reports.
The new lift and pathways, along with a new lighting system designed to showcase the landmark site and its surrounding monuments, are part of an overhaul project aimed at making the Acropolis accessible to all people.
Indeed, the Greek government has a national plan for the rights of people with disabilities. Mitsotakis says the work at the Acropolis and other historical sites is part of that national initiative to ensure “accessibility for everyone and everywhere,” in Greek Travel Pages.
First inhabited approximately 6,000 years ago, the Acropolis hill was fortified from Mycenaean times. In the 5th century B.C., it was heavily rebuilt with marble temples, including the Parthenon and the Erechtheion, and the monumental Propylaea gates.
It should be pointed out that the Acropolis and other sites are currently closed to the public due to restrictions put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sites are expected to reopen when the national lockdown in Greece is lifted on December 14.