Visits to the Acropolis of Athens, the most important archaeological site in Greece, will be limited from next month to a maximum of 20,000 people a day and will be subject to different entry limits per hourthe Greek government announced on Wednesday.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the controls are necessary to avoid bottlenecks and overcrowding at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Up to 23,000 people have entered the archaeological complex daily, most in large groups that visit the site before noon.
“That’s a big number,” Mendoni said during an interview with the Real FM radio station. “Obviously tourism is convenient for the country, for all of us. But we must find a way that excessive tourism does not cause damage to the monument“.
The new entry limits will be implemented during a trial period that begins on September 4, and will be implemented permanently on April 1, 2024, the minister said. There will be no limit on the duration of visitsalthough Mendoni said that people who come to the site in organized tour groups or as part of a cruise stop, which account for 50% of daily visits, spend an average of 45 minutes in the complex.
Different amounts of visitors will be allowed every hour during the opening hours of the venue. Half of the foot traffic on the Acropolis currently arrives between 8 a.m. and noon, Mendoni noted. Under the new system, 3,000 people will be able to fully enter between eight and nine in the morning, 2,000 during the next hour and the numbers will vary during the rest of the day.