Many people travel to any destination without a second thought about the location’s structure or accessibility. It’s a privilege that many do not even realize they have, but it’s important to remember that this is not the case for everyone.
A lot of people with limited mobility have to make sure there’s accessibility at a site before they can visit, and often it means they will not be able to enjoy the destination at all. That’s why it’s wonderful news that the Acropolis has made changes to help.
On December 3rd, 2020, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated facilities that have been added in order to make the site fully accessible to wheelchair users, as well as to accommodate for other disabilities. December 3rd is International Day of People with Disabilities, and that was no coincidence.
New features designed to help include an elevator located on the north side of the hill. There are also artificial stone pathways that will replace the eroded concrete pathways that were there before.
The project was funded by the private Onassis Foundation. Mitsotakis said it will help: “make the Acropolis accessible to everyone…without the difficulties associated with the classic route up to the Hill of Acropolis.”
One drawback that critics have brought up is the fact that the 500 meter network of 13 foot wide pathways excessively made use of concrete. The Culture Ministry retorted by bringing up the fact that the old pathways involved using much more concrete than the new.
On the criticism, the Prime Minister said: “I was saddened to realize that over the past months there has been cheap opposition rhetoric, even about this project. This is a project for the whole world and, under normal circumstances, it should unite us all.”
The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it is imperative that there be access to all who wish to visit. Here’s hoping that this will inspire other tourist attractions to do the same!