Hundreds of tourists were surprised, disappointed and angry to find the gates of Acropolis shut down on Monday noon. The workers had deliberately decided to shut down the Acropolis at 02:00 pm on July 16th 2012, “due to the heat wave” invoking the protection of visitors and working staff. The decision made by the Panhellenic Union of Employees at Archaeological Sites triggered strong reactions as debt-ridden Greece desperately needs revenues from tourism. The site of Acropolis is normally open until 8 p.m.
Members of the Archaeological Sites Union and also the deputy minister of Culture justified the decision this morning with appearences in Greek television channels. “There is a relevant law provision for extreme weather conditions” workers and government official said reminding that on Monday the temperature was 43+ degrees Celsius. The workers said that there were three fainting incidents yesterday, with one site guard and two tourists.
Greek journalists replied “So what?” and “How about the workers of the private sector who also work exposed to the extreme heat?” Journalists also criticized that “normally it is the Ministry that takes such decisions and not the workers.”
A representative from Greek communist party KKE defended the Acropolis workers in private Mega TV saying “So? What happened that tourists didn’t see the Acropolis?”
Yes, so what if no tourist sees the Acropolis?
Video: Tourists Comment
Comment & Condemn
The key boards of Greek internet users got fire commenting and condemning the decision of the Acropolis guards. “At least there should have been a warning the previous day” wrote one, and another added ” What shall we say to tourists? It’s too hot for you to visit the Acropolis?”
A third one blamed the austerity imposed wages cuts in the public sector and blamed the guards for indifference. “With such wages cut you think guards feel like telling tourists ‘leave your handbags there, please?’ The guards do not get anything from the entrance fee anyway.”
An option would have been to close the Acropolis during the hottest noon hours. And allow those arriving with cruise-liners or being transit in Athens to walk on the rocky hill and admire the thousands-year old ancient buildings of great architecture and historic significance. Or just take a close look of what is formally proclaimed as the preeminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments on 26 March 2007.
PS Culture? What culture? It’s too hot here, man!