The Acropolis in Athens has a new concrete pathway to facilitate wheelchair access – and some people are not happy about it.
The UNESCO World Heritage site attracts thousands of visitors a day in peak periods, most of whom climb the 160-meter hill on foot, and wander on uneven stone paths worn smooth over hundreds of years.
The new concrete track is laid over a synthetic membrane that protects the ancient stones underneath and permits easy removal.
But critics say it ruins the classical harmony of the ancient site.
Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras last month demanded the conservative government, quote, “stop abusing our cultural heritage.”
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni defended the development.
“I have seen people in wheelchairs who have come up for the first time and felt happy. I think this is something that should also make us particularly happy, because to give joy to people is perhaps just as significant as the protection of our cultural goods.”
Other changes made to improve accessibility include a new elevator and golf carts, and there are plans for tactile mobile models to allow blind people a fuller experience of the monuments.
Visitors like Michael Kirk had positive feelings about the developments.
“I still think the Acropolis is very beautiful, it’s amazing, I think it’s cool that now everyone can see it, I don’t think it’s changed, I don’t think it’s hurt the Acropolis at all.”