Onassis Foundation to fund new lift for disabled visitors at the Acropolis

Acropolis at night

Acropolis at night

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Wednesday, October 23 at the Maximus Mansion with Antonis Papadimitriou, President of the Onassis Foundation, regarding the Foundation’s contribution to upgrading the infrastructure on the Hill of the Acropolis.

During the meeting, at which Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni and the Onassis Foundation’s Director of Culture Afroditi Panagiotakou were also present, Mr. Papadimitriou informed the Greek PM of the Foundation’s decision to fund the installation of a modern platform lift (in place of the current lift and hoist), as well as the renovation and upgrading of the night illumination of the archaeological site.

Prime Minister Mitsotakis thanked Mr. Papadimitriou for the Foundation’s valuable contribution. He stressed that through its actions, the Foundation “projects the face of a Greece that has always maintained its values and sensitivity, particularly toward its cultural heritage, which comprises the heritage of all of humanity.”

Ms. Mendoni thanked Mr. Papadimitriou for the Onassis Foundation’s long-standing and constructive collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and noted that, “The Foundation’s financial support is important for the improvement of the infrastructure and services that are offered to the thousands of visitors that come to the archaeological site of the Acropolis. It is particularly important given the fact that the Acropolis is a primary image of Greece.”

In turn, Mr. Papadimitriou noted that “With these actions on the Hill of the Acropolis, the Onassis Foundation affirms its deep belief that culture is an issue of democracy, one that concerns society as a whole. By installing a wheelchair platform lift, we solve a practical, but also a symbolic issue: we stress the importance of equal access for all. We are also renewing the illumination of the Acropolis as a small gesture of respect to the monument and to the archaeologists that protect it in all of our names—because, in the end, the Acropolis will continue to illuminate us.

For the Onassis Foundation, everything is an issue of education. The Acropolis, as a monument that expresses Athenian Democracy, cannot help but comprise a priority. The monument continues to stand there, with or without us. But we have an obligation to renew its symbolism, according to the needs of the age. In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the Onassis Foundation gives residents of Athens a new incentive to rediscover their city.

This effort is part of a broader strategy we have outlined for our city, Athens, with actions that will be announced in the coming months.”

The existing lift and hoist system will be replaced by a modern wheelchair platform lift, as is now customary in similar situations elsewhere in the world; the platform lift will provide the best possible accommodations for people with mobility impairments.

As for the lighting infrastructure, which was installed in 2004 in time for the Olympic Games, the plan calls for a comprehensive upgrade on the basis of the original study, so that the lines and shadows of the monuments and the rock can emerge anew from the new environment of the night time Athens of today.

Both projects are projected to be completed by summer 2020, while the cost is estimated at 1.5 million euros.