Culture minister says Acropolis upgrades proceeding

Culture minister says Acropolis upgrades proceeding

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 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 on Tuesday, 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, both for making it safer for pedestrians and more cost-efficient, but also for showing the Parthenon in a more flattering light.

Mendoni said she also requested for work to be speeded up on removing unnecessary parts of the scaffolding hiding the Parthenon from public view and replacing some of the cumbersome 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.

Mendoni did not give an exact date for when archaeological sites would reopen to the public, saying this would be decided in due time according to the recommendations of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY).

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