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Acropolis Accessibility Pathway Works Go On Despite Reactions

The Parthenon, Acropolis. Workers cement sections of the site to facilitate access for people with disabilities. Photo: Ministry of Culture

The Greek Culture Ministry has responded to reactions concerning the repair of special paths which enable access to the monuments of the Acropolis in Athens for people with disabilities or mobility issues.

Last week, several archaeologists slammed the ministry’s decision to cement sections of the site creating negative hype on social media. The project had received the approval of the Central Archaeological Council last year, which also included the installation of a new lift to enable access.

The cemented pathways on the Acropolis hill. Source: Ministry of Culture

In response to the reactions, the culture ministry released on Sunday an extensive statement explaining in detail the reasoning behind the decision, noting that ensuring accessibility to people with disabilities and to the elderly was a first priority, as they too “have a right to see and admire the monuments of the Acropolis up close”.

The ministry statement added that the project was carried out after relevant studies on the most durable materials for the pathways led by restoration expert Manolis Korres, a civil engineer, professor of architectural history and head of the Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA).

Photo: Ministry of Culture

For 20 years, these routes have been paved with cement. The difference is that over time and with millions of visitors walking on them all these years, the material has been destroyed and the routes are a trap even for those who do not have mobility difficulties,” the ministry said in its statement.

“With the upgrade of services provided, the Acropolis becomes – for the first time – completely accessible not only to the disabled, but also to citizens with mobility or other health problems. When completed and delivered on December 3, 2020, along with the new, safe state-of-the-art lift, the experience of visiting the Acropolis will be completely different,” the ministry said.

Photo: Ministry of Culture

Upgrade works on the monument, including the purchase of two electric cars and the new lighting enhancement project unveiled last month, have been funded by the Onassis Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Hellenic Sports Federation for Persons with Disabilities welcomed the decision, adding that the culture ministry had finally solved the issue of “our exclusion from the ancient monument”.

About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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