While the public’s reaction to the construction continues, archaeologists claim that the cultural heritage has been betrayed by the pressure of tourism giants. The use of cement in the new walkways between the temples sparked a debate about the aesthetic values of the project, while some critics suggested using other materials such as wood, glass, or stone.
In a letter signed by 3,500 people in the country, it was demanded that the concrete road be removed and not to implement another such structure.
Despoina Koutsoumba, president of the Greek Association of Archaeologists, said: “It is as if the Parthenon has been lowered to a modern street level and fitted with concrete pavement. There was tremendous pressure, especially from the cruise tourism sector, to increase the visitor capacity here.”
Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras called on Kiryakos Mitsotakis‘ government to “stop exploiting our cultural heritage”. Tsipras underlined that the changes made have changed the image of a world heritage site.
’The Image Of The Acropolis Is The Image Of The Country’
The Ministry of Culture, on the other hand, changed the lighting system that illuminates the 2,500-year-old monuments, installed new elevators, and created specially designed roads in archaeological sites all over the country, which were closed to the public for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry argues that the Acropolis has been made more accessible for the disabled and the elderly.
Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni said, “The image of the Acropolis is the image of the country,” and said, “A monument, a symbol of Western civilization, is becoming accessible to everyone. It was the first time I saw people in wheelchairs during their visit to the Acropolis and they were very happy.”
On the other hand, 2 golf carts will be located on the Acropolis road to facilitate access for disabled people.
‘Measurement Of Benefit And Harm Is Important’
As part of the ongoing work, it was stated on Tuesday that inscriptions for the visually impaired in Greek and English, scale models of monuments, and new balustrades will be placed on the site.
Famous restoration architect Emmanouil Korres (Manolis Korres), who is engaged in restoration, said, “Any intervention to a monument aesthetically causes problems. The important thing is to weigh the benefit and the harm.”
Saying that the new road was created as designed by the old architects, Korres said, “We are carrying out restoration work by sticking to the original.”
Korres stated that the use of other materials would be much more costly and the construction would take longer, and said that in this case, the site should be closed to visitors for up to 5 years. The architect added that the concrete was layered on a membrane protecting the ancient rock.