Greece's earliest heatwave on record closes the Acropolis in peak hours

A tourist is carried by First Aid personnel from ancient Acropolis site. Credit: AP

Greek authorities have closed the Acropolis during peak hours due to record early heat wave temperatures that have also shut a number of schools.

The ancient site in the Greek capital, which drew in some 4 million visitors last year, was closed from midday until 5pm as temperatures were set to hit 43 degrees.

Meteorologists have classified this as Greece's first heatwave of the year, and the earliest the country has ever experienced, as temperatures hit at least 38 degrees over the past three days.

Schools were also closed in parts of southern and central Greece where the temperatures were highest.

Tourists visit the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis ancient hill in Athens, Greece. Credit: AP

Conditions worsened in an area north of the capital, after a fire at a cookware and food container factory sent clouds of thick black smoke into the sky.

Telephone alerts sent by a government disaster response agency urged residents in the area to remain indoors.

In Athens, city authorities announced that rubbish collection would also be halted for several hours on Wednesday and that seven air-conditioned spaces would be opened to the public.

Drones with thermal cameras were being used in Athens to coordinate the public health response, officials said.

Cooler weather is expected late Friday.

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