Disabled access in Athens and Istanbul

Old Aug 20th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Disabled access in Athens and Istanbul

A friend of mine is travelling to Istanbul and Athens in September. She has difficulty walking long distances (more than a few blocks) or on uneven terrain. Does anyone have information about access in those cities to sites and suggestions for how to get around? Thanks.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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It has been about 7 years since I've been to Athens, but at that time the Acropolis was the definition of uneven, rocky, and required stairs. The other sights were pretty level and ususally had street access where a bus or taxi could drop some one off.

Istanbul, I've been to much more recently. The Golden Horn is much more friendly to walking difficulities. There are still a few minor steps here and there (except for the second level of the Haiga Sophia) but the ground is level and relatively free of obstructions. There are park benches around the exterior of the Mosque, Haiga Sophia and on the grounds of the Topkai Palace.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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I haven't been to Athens. In Istanbul many of the sites (e. g. Aya Sofya, Sultanahmet Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Archeological Museum) are reasonably accessible, but they're all in an extremely hilly part of the city. I think your friend will wind up taking a lot of taxis. Another possibility is hiring a guide with a van or a limousine service.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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I have done some research in the past on the subject and strongly recommend the following article on Greece travel and the Disabled: http://www.greecetravel.com/handicapped/

There are several Athens tour agencies that specialize on Greece sightseeinhg for the disabled, check the article for more info.

Best of luck!!
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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It can also be quite crowded in the Sultanahmet part of Istanbul, and central Athens too for that matter. It might be best to sign up for a tour that would help with getting point to point.
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Old Aug 20th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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There is now access to the Acropolis for the disabled. It's a chair lift on the north face. There are special ramps and surfaces once on top. But access is still somewhat limited to all areas of the Acropolis - as Diane observed several years ago, it can be rough and uneven surfaces. But still a huge improvement over what it used to be. It's recommended that anyone with disabilities go in off hours - very early or late (but I make that recommendation for anyone to avoid crowds!)

In general, the rest of Athens is pretty level and easy to get around and most other historical sites don't have many steps or inclines to deal with.

Sorry, can't help with Istanbul but sounds like you've gotten some good answers.
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Old Aug 24th, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Yes, at sightseeing places in Istanbul there are paths and hand-rails for disabled. Policemen and the workers at these places will help if you ask. Good luck!
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