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Acropolis: Unprecedented queues of tourists cause measures to be taken

Featured Acropolis: Unprecedented queues of tourists cause measures to be taken

The queues of tourists at the Acropolis, which became longer after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, require measures to be taken to better serve the citizens as well as to preserve the historical monument.

As a Guardian article notes, more than 25 centuries after its construction and 200 years after it began to attract tourists, crowd control policies will be put in place at the Acropolis to curb the scourge of the surge in visitors.

The images in front of the gate of the monument forced the government to take action, notes the British publication. And indeed, the Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, had announced, a few days ago, that by the end of July the measures will be implemented. "The visitors of June and the beginning of July increased by 80% compared to 2019" said Mrs. Mendoni.

The problem with cruise ships and the measures under consideration

The Acropolis, the most visited site in Greece, receives more than 17,000 visitors every day.

Among the measures expected to be implemented are a system to control the time spent on the Acropolis, express entry points for tourist groups and electronic ticketing.

Measures, which are hoped to alleviate the problem with the huge queues at this archaeological site, which is aggravated by the arrival of giant cruise ships that leave thousands of visitors at the port of Piraeus. “They once carried the population of a large village but now the population of a small state. 30% of this world will visit the Acropolis" Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Federation of Greek Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies, tells the Guardian.

Carrying the image of the endless queue on Friday and tourists desperate for some shade, the publication reports that, according to tour guides, people are passing out from the heat more and more often waiting to enter the Acropolis, as interventions in such a monument , are limited.

"Shadow, water and the possible expansion of the Propylaea"

"I have already given an order to find a way to set up sunshades in places that are not considered sensitive and to have water outside the area," emphasizes Lina Mendoni.

The article then goes on to refer to the recently constructed concrete walkways that have been slammed as a "monstrosity" by some.

However, the Minister of Culture defends what has already been done and states that the problem of over-tourism at the Acropolis monument could only be solved if its gate is widened. "In ancient times there was more than one entrance. In my opinion, the solution for the large number of tourists would be the expansion of the Propylaia. We can't demolish them, but we can expand them," emphasizes Mrs. Mendoni.

Putting the Roman staircase back on the table

The chief architect at the Commission for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments, Manolis Korres, told the Observer that the work would take no more than 10 months "if a well-prepared timetable is kept".

As he says, he has proposed many times to restore the Roman staircase to the site, not for the convenience of tourists but because "it would contribute to a better understanding of the site".

As he says, climbing the Acropolis hill, which is grueling in the summer, would also become easier.

The report concludes that further changes to the Acropolis are unlikely to go unopposed as they are seen as serving mass tourism more than saving the country's top monument.

Lina Mendoni, however, disagrees: If we hadn't built the corridors, the Acropolis would be a monument today, almost impossible to visit."