In a statement released on Friday, the Greek Ministry of Culture responded to outcry over flooding that was reported on the Acropolis on Thursday after torrential rains battered Athens.
Social media users argued that the controversial new cement paths constructed on the Acropolis were to blame, as videos circulated showing that the new paths blocking rainwater from flowing out of the ancient site.
The Greek Ministry of Culture noted that flooding at the site is not new, and therefore is unrelated to the cement paths: “Strong rainstorms have created serious instances of flooding on the Acropolis since at least 2013,” it noted. “As the site is open and the ground is rocky, rainwater is not absorbed well.”
Many others slammed the Ministry, expressing disbelief that the construction of new cement paths did not include plans for rainwater drainage.
According to the Ministry, the construction of drainage pipes in the eastern and southern slopes of the Acropolis actually began in 2020 — and there were no instances of flooding in these areas.
Most of the flowing water seen on Thursday was located on the northern slope, where work on drainage pipes was halted in 2018 after flooding damaged a wall there.
The Greek Ministry of Culture’s decision in late October to cement portions of the Acropolis, as part of a wider plan to make the Acropolis more accessible to those with mobility difficulties, was met with intense criticism.
Many social media users slammed the decision, arguing that the cement paths took away from the beauty of the site.
Archaeologists insisted that the use of cement could have been avoided, advocating for more environmentally-friendly materials.
In response to the pointed criticism, the Greek Ministry of Culture defended its position, saying “The disabled, the elderly, people with various problems have the right to see and admire the Acropolis monuments up close.”