People have traveled to the Acropolis from its rocky hilltop overlooking Athens, Greece since ancient times.
Now, however, the crowds have become unmanageable. Indeed, as post-pandemic travel numbers continue to rebound, it is now common for more than 14,000 people to visit the Acropolis every day, reports the Greek Ministry of Tourism, according to Timetables of Greek cities.
In response, the Greek government announced that it would take swift action to reduce congestion and ensure lines move quickly. These practices should include a time slot system, fast entry points for organized tour groups and electronic ticketing.
“The measures will be fully implemented by the end of the month,” said Lina Mendoni, Greek Minister of Culture, according to The Guardian.
“I also gave instructions to find a way to be able to erect blinds in (not considered) sensitive places,” Mendoni continued, according to Timetables of Greek cities. “And at discrete points we will make sure there is water outside the site.”
What is the Acropolis?
The Acropolis of Athens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the Bronze Age. The site consists of remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, including the world famous Parthenon.
It is believed that the ancient Mycenaeans built a fortified complex on the site for the local ruler.
“Then, in the 5th century BC, the Athenians, on the strength of their victory over the Persians, carried out an ambitious building program under the direction of the great statesman Pericles, including a large number of monuments including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylaia, and the Temple of Athena Nike”, according to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. These monuments were developed by notable architects and sculptors “who transformed the rocky hill into a unique complex, which heralded the emergence of classical Greek thought and art”.
Why the Acropolis is so crowded
Tourism numbers in Greece continue to grow, nearly rivaling those of the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
In fact, in 2022, Greece was the third most visited country in the world, said the Greek Ministry of Tourism, according to Timetables of Greek cities. Moreover, last August, Greece welcomed 1 million tourists every week.
Those numbers continue to climb this year.
One of the reasons for the growth and resulting crowds in Greece, and particularly in Athens to the Acropolis is that gigantic cruise liners arrive daily at the port of Piraeus from Athens.
“In the past, these cruise ships had the capacity to carry a few thousand, the population of a large village,” said Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourism and Travel Agencies, according to The Guardian. “Now the ships are so big that you have the size of a small state on board and at least 30% of all those passengers will have pre-purchased tickets to visit the Acropolis.”
You can find out more about the Acropolis and how to visit, including opening hours and how to book tickets, at Acropolis tickets.
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