Originally created 06/26/04

Greece to add elevator to Acropolis in time for Olympics



ATHENS, Greece -- A temporary elevator will help visitors unable to climb steps reach the Acropolis - the first such alteration in the ancient site's 2,500-year history, the culture ministry said Friday.

The influential Central Archaeological Council agreed to build an elevator lift on the northern side of the Acropolis in time for the Aug. 13-29 Olympics and subsequent Paralympics, the culture ministry said in a statement. No specific completion date was given.

"It is a solution that respects the character of the monument," the statement said.

The council also will seek international bids for construction of a permanent wheelchair access to the monument.

International Paralympic Committee president Phil Craven has said the government assured him an elevator and paths with gentler slopes would be built at the ancient monument by the Sept. 17-28 Paralympics, two weeks after the Athens Olympics.

City officials, meanwhile, are struggling to add wheelchair ramps to sidewalks, hotels and businesses around Athens.