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Heat forces Acropolis to temporarily close as some tourists experience fainting spells

A tourist drinks water as she and a man sit under an umbrella in front of the five century BC Parthenon temple at the Acropolis hill during a heat wave.
A tourist drinks water as she and a man sit under an umbrella in front of the five century BC Parthenon temple at the Acropolis hill during a heat wave. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Fay Doulgkeri with Euronews
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Greek authorities temporarily closed the Acropolis in Athens on Friday as temperatures were expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius and some tourists experienced fainting spells.

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Volunteers, doctors, and healthcare workers from the Hellenic Red Cross offered water and first aid to tourists hoping to visit the ancient monument, which was closed from noon to 5 pm local time. 

The organisation reported that some of the site’s visitors experienced signs of dehydration and fainting spells because of the high temperatures.

''We had many incidents today of people fainting or feeling dizzy because they didn't take very good care of themselves," Stella Katsoulopoulou, a Red Cross volunteer, told Euronews.

“They didn't wear hats, which is very important these days. We must not go outside without a hat and of course, we need to drink lots of juices and water.”

AP Photo
Tourists exit the ancient Acropolis of Athens as the Greek culture ministry shut down the monument most of the day because of heat.AP Photo

The Acropolis is one of Greece’s most popular monuments, and some 14,000 people visited it in May alone. Some of the people who were able to see the site told Euronews that the heat was worth the visit.

''We just flew in from Sidney Australia, our visit today was amazing, it was incredible, really hot though...but amazing,” said one woman outside the Acropolis said. “Days like these in Australia are pretty normal in the summertime and we are only here once in a lifetime.''

Another tourist told Euronews: “I am from Tennessee from the United States, and it was beautiful, awesome.

“The heat was awful but was worth the view for sure.”

After the temporary closure, many of the tourists found refuge in nearby restaurants, looking for a drink to cool off and something to eat.

And while many companies allowed employees to work from home on Friday, some workers in the country’s bustling tourism sector had to brave the heat. 

''Today is the hottest day so far, it is very difficult to work under these circumstances," Nikos Fallias, one of those workers, told Euronews.

“We try to drink a lot of water and take breaks as the athletes do.”

Other parts of Europe are also experiencing soaring temperatures, as 12 of Spain’s 17 regions were expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius on Friday.

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