One of Greece’s most famous landmarks is trialing limiting its daily visitors, starting today.
The Athens Acropolis archaeological site attracts visitors from around the world keen to marvel at the ancient cultural spot. Going forward, visitors will be capped at 20,000 a day, with a booking website keeping track of footfall and enforcing an hourly slot system.
In an interview with Greek radio station Real FM in August, Greek culture minister Lina Mendoni said that the Acropolis currently has up to 23,000 daily visitors, calling this a “huge number.”
While the site is open until 8.p.m, Mendoni said the majority of visitors were choosing to visit in the morning hours, creating bottlenecks and “unpleasant conditions for the site, the visitors and the staff who are trying to accommodate this high volume of people.”
The goal is the new system – which is currently in its trial stages and will likely be formally enforced from April 2024 – will tackle overcrowding and guarantee the safety and longevity of the monument.
Built on a rocky hill in the fifth century BC, the ancient Acropolis is home to a collection of historic ruins, buildings and artifacts – the most famous being the Parthenon temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena.
The site and its monuments “form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world,” according to UNESCO.
Earlier this summer, the Acropolis closed due to soaring temperatures amid a record-breaking European heatwaves. Photos of the site from late August show it bathed in smoke from the recent Greek wildfires.
Starting April, the new booking system will also apply to other Greece archaeological sites that operate with electronic tickets, accounting for 90-95% of visitors to Greek sites.