The ancient Greeks built vast public temple complexes, but it has taken up to the 21st century for the nation to begin meeting modern disabled accessibility standards. For the first time in its long history the ancient Greek buildings that represent Athens’s Acropolis will be made completely accessible to disabled locals and tourists.

Comprising uneven cobblestone streets and broken curbs, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced today that they will “improve the visiting conditions of the monuments at the Acropolis.” While other nations have viewed access to historic and public sites for the disabled as a civil right for decades, as evidenced by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 in the United States of America or EU accessibility standards implemented throughout Europe, for the first time in history the ancient site will be “completely accessible not only to the disabled, but also to citizens with mobility or other health problems.”

Up to now disabled folk visiting the Acropolis had to dangerously traverse uneven pathways. Now this new project proposes paving the main paths. However, according to Greek Reporter some leading archaeologists have “blasted” the Ministry’s decision to reassess the paving of the pathways at the Acropolis.

Disabled visitors until now faced the embarrassing ordeal of having to use a freight elevator to get to the top. But now, a state-of-the-art slope lift will offer disabled people the same view over the monuments as was enjoyed by the ancient Greeks. 

The Parthenon temple on top of the Athenian Acropolis is one of the most recognizable buildings remaining from the ancient Greek world. A special elevator was installed back in 2004 ahead of the Athens Olympics to assist disabled visitors wanting to ascend to the site. However, even with this disabled access, the often steep pathways made this a hazard-loaded location for disabled people. So much so that Trip Advisor advises any disabled visitors to bring with them “a strong person to push them.”

An article on Greece.Com openly states that “ Greece was not designed for people in wheelchairs.” Furthermore, visitors suffering from “invisible disabilities” are advised to “carry documents attesting their disability status.” However, this situation extends far beyond any ideas you might have about ancient Greek builders lacking in compassion for the disabled. Long before the uneven streets and steps were created at the Acropolis, the natural topography of Greece was exceptionally mountainous and rocky.

If everything goes as planned, the new accessibility options will be ready on December 3rd 2020