ATHENS: Heavy snowfall blanketed the Acropolis and other ancient monuments in Athens and halted Covid-19 vaccinations in the Greek capital on Tuesday as the weather brought many services across the country to a standstill.
The snow, an unusual sight in the city of more than three million residents, also stopped most public transport services, while toppled trees caused blackouts in several mountainside suburbs.
Snow is common in Greece’s mountains and in the north of the country, but much rarer in the capital, particularly heavy snow. Some Athenians emerged cautiously outside, snapping photos on balconies and in the streets.
The snow arrived as Athens and several other parts of Greece remain in lockdown to curb coronavirus infections. Schools and most stores are closed, and residents must stay indoors during a nightly curfew.
Some children skipped online classes on Tuesday to play in the snow. Adults also went out to play, with some digging out skis to use on the capitals hilly slopes. One man skied along Pnyx hill in central Athens, near the Acropolis.
Norwegian Ambassador Frode Overland Andersen tweeted a video of himself skiing down a hill in the suburb of Filothei with his teenage daughter.
Challenge accepted, he wrote, after a friend in Oslo challenged him to prove it really was possible to ski in Athens.Outside the parliament building, orange-coloured snowplows cleared streets of ice and snow, while presidential guards, dressed in traditional pleated kilts and pompom-tipped shoes, were given heavy woolen overcoats.
Sections of Greece’s main highway were closed, most ferry services to the islands were canceled, and flights from regional airports to Athens were disrupted.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2021