Acropolis in Athens reopens after coronavirus shutdown

A couple takes selfie picture next to a sticker marking social distance in front of the Parthenon temple on the archeological site of the Acropolis in Athens on May 18, 2020. (AFP)

Greece reopened the Acropolis in Athens and all open-air archaeological sites in the country to the public on Monday after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

President Katerina Sakellaropoulou led the ceremony as one of the first to visit the ancient Greek monumental complex that sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the capital.

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, journalists and employees all wearing masks were present, with measures to control the virus enforced before the public was allowed in.

“We have never seen so few people at the Acropolis,” a Russian visitor accompanied by her husband told AFP.

“It’s like having a private visit,” said the woman, who has lived in Athens for five years.

A worker wearing a protective mask cleans a divider made of plexiglass at the entrance of the Acropolis in Athens on May 18, 2020. (AFP)

A worker wearing a protective mask cleans a divider made of plexiglass at the entrance of the Acropolis in Athens on May 18, 2020. (AFP)

Separation screens have been put up and the sites have been disinfected, the culture ministry said.

Acropolis saw 2.9 million visitors last year, a 14.2 percent increase on the previous year and is the most visited of all sites in Greece.

“Archaeological sites are open from Monday May 18, the first stage in a progressive re-launch of the country’s cultural foundations,” the culture and sports ministry said in a statement.

Greece is dotted with dozens of temples, stadiums, theatres and citadels from Antiquity, including the Bronze Age Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete, and Olympus, cradle of the Olympic Games.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

However not all museums will be open until June 15 under the government’s plan to gradually lift restriction to halt the spread of COVID-19.

With 163 deaths from the virus, Greece started easing the measures this month after a six-week lockdown with an eye to salvaging the vital tourism season.

The country has suffered less from the pandemic than many other European nations and restaurants are due to resume trading from May 25, a week earlier than originally planned.

Athens expects the economy to contract nearly five percent this year, partly due to the loss of tourism income from key markets such as Germany, Britain and the United States.

Read more:

Woman at Greek camp tests positive for coronavirus after giving birth

Greece calls for health volunteers to help with coronavirus outbreak

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58
Top