Disabled can now visit the Acropolis

As of yesterday, wheelchair-bound visitors can make the steep ascent to Greece’s most popular archaeological site using a steel lift installed ahead of the Olympics and the September Paralympic Games. The 600,000-euro Acropolis lift – which the government plans to replace by 2006 with a more aesthetically pleasing structure – was constructed in record time by Swedish, German and Italian engineers after Culture Ministry archaeologists gave the go-ahead in June. Installed on the north face of the ancient citadel, facing the Plaka district, the structure can carry one disabled visitor in a wheelchair and their companion, in addition to the lift operator. The ascent takes some 50 seconds, and visitors alight near the fifth-century BC Erechtheion Temple. Culture Ministry officials, who inaugurated the lift yesterday, advised disabled visitors to make an advance appointment by phone (210.321.4172/3) to use the lift. Initial plans to build the lift under the Belvedere Tower, at the eastern end of the Acropolis, were scrapped for fear construction would be halted by the discovery of antiquities.

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