Greece to improve Acropolis access after restoration row

Athens (AFP) –


Greece's culture ministry on Wednesday said it would improve disability access to the Acropolis, the country's top archaeological monument, as a row over a recent makeover rages on.

In collaboration with Greek associations for people with disabilities, the ministry said signs in Braille and bold would be installed for visitors with visual impairments, in addition to scaled models of the monuments.

Handrails and slope warning signs will also be introduced, the ministry said in a statement.

The planned works will make the Acropolis "fully accessible", the ministry said.

The move comes after months of controversy over a new concrete walkway installed at the Acropolis late last year, part of an ongoing restoration project.

A retired member of the Acropolis restoration team, Tassos Tanoulas, wrote in an open letter in November that the new concrete installation was "foreign" and "stifling" to the monument.

Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras said after a visit last month that the concrete makeover constituted "abuse" of Greece's cultural heritage.

The culture ministry has said that the overhaul improves wheelchair access, and was necessary as the paths around the monuments had been designed fifty years earlier.

Greece's leading association for people with disabilities had welcomed the changes in April, but had called for additional safeguards.

Over 3.5 million people visited the Acropolis in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down travel.