The Acropolis in Athens will now be fully accessible to disabled visitors, after its new facilities were inaugurated by Greece’s prime minister.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the ancient citadel on Thursday which was also International Day of People with Disabilities.

The World Heritage site is currently closed due to pandemic restrictions but is expected to reopen when the country comes out of lockdown on December 14.

A man stands inside the new elevator at the Acropolis Archaeological site in Athens (Louisa Gouliamaki/AP)

The new disabled provisions include: a wheelchair lift built into the north face of the hill and a new artificial stone path leading on to the summit of the ruined fifth century BC temples.

Mr Mitsotakis said the project, which was funded by the private Onassis Foundation, will “make the Acropolis accessible to everyone … without the difficulties associated with the classic route up to the Hill of Acropolis”.

Some in Greece had criticised the new 500m network of 4m wide pathways, saying they made excessive use of concrete.

But the country’s culture ministry said that the previous pathway (which the new one is replacing) was from the 1960s and was in such bad shape that it endangered visitors.

“This is a project for the whole world and, under normal circumstances, it should unite us all,” said Mr Mitsotakis.

First inhabited about 6,000 years ago, the Acropolis hill was fortified from Mycenaean times and in the fifth century BC was heavily rebuilt with marble temples, including the Parthenon and the Erechtheion, and the monumental Propylaea gates.

Until the early 19th century it served as a fortress.