Greece has decided to allow pets in more than 120 archaeological sites, under conditions, in a pilot program that excludes popular monuments such as the Acropolis.
Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni announced the decision following a recommendation by Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS).
She said that the pilot program is a first, but an important step for the “harmonization of the framework of accessibility to monuments and archaeological sites on the model of other European countries, which already apply rules for the entry of companion animals.”
Until now the entrance to archaeological sites was only allowed for dogs accompanying people with disabilities.
Mendoni said however that in places with particularly high traffic and with specific difficulties in their approach, such as the Acropolis of Athens, the entrance of pets would not be easy, as they would themselves be in danger from the high number of visitors, while they might also cause discomfort to visitors unfamiliar with their presence.
However, in uncongested areas of thousands of acres, such as Vergina, Delos, Ancient Messina, Mycenae, and Philippi, a dog that is under surveillance, on a leash, and possessing health certificates may accompany his owner on their tour.
Large-sized dogs can also enter these sites, as long as the owner agrees to them wearing a muzzle.
Archaeological sites in Greece where pets will not be allowed
The Central Archaeological Council does not allow the entry of pets to archaeological sites with high traffic such as the Acropolis, Knossos and Phaistos, Ancient Olympia, Delphi, the ancient theater of Argolis, and Pythagorion on Samos.
On these archaeological sites, authorities plan to install cages to keep the pets while their owners tour the sites.
More than 110 venues will have cages at their entrances for the animals to stay in for the duration of the tour.
Pets will not be allowed access inside the monuments, in theatres, temples, vaulted tombs, or monument mosaic floors.
They will reportedly be allowed in the Ancient and Roman Agora in Athens, the ancient site of Dodona in northwestern Greece, Amphipolis in northern Greece, the castle of the Acrocorinth, and in the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus.
Conditions for entering archaeological sites
Pet-owners will need to be equipped with a leash up to 1m long, or must carry their pet on their lap or in a transport cage.
In addition, upon their entry, they will be asked to show a health book.
Owners must also bring items necessary for the immediate cleaning of the surrounding area from any animal excrement.
Visitors are advised to contact local tourist authorities for information regarding visits with pets on specific sites.