Acropolis closes at hottest hours amid blistering heatwave in Greece

Published July 15, 2023
VISITORS walk near the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave in Athens on Thursday.—Reuters
VISITORS walk near the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave in Athens on Thursday.—Reuters

ATHENS: The Acropolis, Greece’s top tourist attraction in Athens, closed during the hottest hours on Friday as the country wilted under a heatwave.

Access to the Unesco-listed archaeological site was suspended between midday and 5pm before reopening “to protect workers and visitors”, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni told public broadcaster ERT.

“It’s highly likely that we will take the same measure tomorrow (Saturday),” she said. Temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius in Athens on Friday, but at the summit of the Acropolis it felt hotter, she added.

Other popular tourist sites surrounding the rock on which the Acropolis stands, such as the Ancient Agora, will remain open.

The Acropolis, which has seen a major rise in visitor numbers in recent months, is normally open from 8am to 8pm every day.

Some tourists were left disappointed in front of the site’s closed entrance, saying the official website had not provided enough information.

“I am not feeling really comfortable about it, but what can we do?” said Serbian human resources director Sonya Ivkovic, who planned to return for the reopening at 5pm.

“We weren’t expecting it, we just came and thought it would be open,” Emelie Den, a doctor from Australia, said. “Kind of caught us off guard, but makes sense, it is really, really hot today... we’ve been drinking lots.”

A summer heatwave is hitting several Mediterranean countries, with the mercury soaring past 40C in parts of northern and western Greece on Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2023

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