People have traveled to the Acropolis high on its rocky hill overlooking Athens, Greece, since ancient times.
Now, however, the crowds have become unmanageable. Indeed, as post-pandemic travel numbers continue to rebound, it is now common for upwards of 14,000 people to visit the Acropolis every day, the Greek Ministry of Tourism reports, according to Greek City Times.
In response, the Greek government has announced it will quickly take steps to alleviate congestion and ensure lines move quickly. Those practices are set to include a time-slot system, fast-lane entry points for organized tourist groups, and electronic ticketing.
“The measures will be fully enforced by the end of the month,” said Lina Mendoni, Greece’s cultural minister, according to The Guardian.
“I have also given instructions to find a way to be able to erect shades in places that are [not considered] sensitive,” continued Mendoni, according to Greek City Times. “And at discrete points, we’ll make sure there is water outside the site.”
What Is The Acropolis?
The Acropolis of Athens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the Bronze Age. The site consists of remains from several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, including the world-famous Parthenon.
Ancient Mycenaeans are believed to have built a walled compound on the site for the local ruler.
“Then, in the 5th century BC, the Athenians, empowered from their victory over the Persians, carried out an ambitious building program under the leadership of the great statesman Perikles, comprising a large number of monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the temple of Athena Nike,” according to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Those monuments were developed by notable architects and sculptors “who transformed the rocky hill into a unique complex, which heralded the emergence of classical Greek thought and art.”
Why The Acropolis Is So Crowded
Tourism numbers in Greece continue growing, nearly rivaling those of the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
In fact, in 2022, Greece was the world’s third most-visited country, the Greek Ministry of Tourism said, according to Greek City Times. What’s more, last August, Greece was welcoming 1 million tourists each week.
Those numbers continue to climb this year.
One reason for the growth and resulting crowds in Greece, and especially in Athens at the Acropolis, are that mammoth cruise ships arrive each day at Athens’s Port of Piraeus.
“In the past, these cruise ships had the capacity to carry a few thousand, the population of a large village,” said Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies, according to The Guardian. “Now, the vessels are so big you’ve got the size of a small state on board and at least 30 percent of all of those passengers will have pre-purchased tickets to visit the Acropolis.”
You can learn more about the Acropolis and how to visit, including hours of operation and how to book tickets, at Acropolis Tickets.
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