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Ancient Acropolis Now Accessible

Sep 2, 2004
Ancient Acropolis Now Accessible

Reuters reports that visitors with disabilities at the Olympics can now visit the Acropolis, one of Greece's most famous archaeological sites. The City of Athens built a lift in record time and delivered it one day before the Games started.

True to the last-minute sprint of all Olympics works, the lift was built in just five weeks on the north side of a citadel that buttresses a cluster of classical monuments, including the Parthenon, international symbol of Greek civilization.

The conventional way up to the top involves a steep climb on hundreds of marble steps, time-worn to a treacherous slippery sheen.

"It is a Herculean task that it was completed in five weeks, a record time," Maria Ioannidou, director of the Acropolis Restoration Service told Reuters.

"Construction started in early July and for us it was a shock, we had hoped to have it for the Paralympics, but at the same time it was a challenge."
The project cost 600,000 euros and included 11 separate projects to enable disabled access all around the monument and its museum.

Ioannidou added that the lift would be in place for two years while a study for a permanent solution is carried out.

Athens has taken a lot of flak for failing to fully address the problem of disabled access in a city notorious for its broken pavements, narrow streets and parked cars, especially in view of the Paralympics which it hosts from September 17 to 28.


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