Disabled Access at Luxor, Egypt

The Ministry responded positively to my ideas about improving access at the temples using mud brick and gentle ramps (1:12). They asked for some more ideas about funding, foreign examples and detailed plans. So I prepared this paper for them

Disabled access on foreign sites


The following heritage sites all offer disabled access, some places it is restricted to 80% of the site but that is a great figure.  The comments are extracted from the website links


There is an on-going major project to make parts of the archaeological site wheelchair accessible, creating an accessible route called Friendly Pompeii.  Although only a fraction of the site is accessible, a visit is absolutely worthwhile.  Allow two to three hours to see the accessible areas.


Pompeii opens an alternative route for visitors with special needs, such as mothers with strollers, elderly and disabled, making accessible to all, the most famous and fascinating archaeological site in the World.

The installation of ramps and special fittings allows all those who previously had trouble moving between the sidewalks and paving of the Greek city, to visit easily Pompeii Ruins.



Herculaneum disabled access a 4 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because it provides step-free access to many of the ancient streets, sidewalks, and buildings. It did not get higher accessibility rating because some of the sidewalks have uneven terrain and some of the buildings have a step to get into them.



Athens provides world-class attractions for tourists to visit including the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora. Unfortunately for disabled tourists, these buildings were not designed for wheelchairs and have deteriorated over the centuries.

Fortunately for disabled tourists, the Greeks have done a good job of making these attractions as accessible as possible, and all can be visited by travellers with disabilities. At the numerous museums, Athens disabled access is generally quite good although steep ramps and small elevators do exist.




The gladiators had to use the stairs – But disabled tourists at the Coliseum can use the elevator! A step-free entrance leads past the ticket window to the elevator. The biggest challenge for wheelchair access at Rome’s Coliseum is a small stretch of cobblestones in the interior



Sistine Chapel Disabled Access at the Vatican – Visiting Vatican City in a wheelchair consists of two parts: 1) visiting the Vatican Museums, Raphael Rooms, and Sistine Chapel and 2) visiting the St. Peter’s Basilica.



The Highlights of Ephesus Accessible Guided Tour has a 4 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because it uses a wheelchair accessible van and is entirely step-free. It did not receive a 5 star rating because there is a bit of uneven terrain at the Ephesus ruins. It avoids the long downhill cobblestone-covered road that most tours take which allows it to get a 4 star rating.



Well over half of Venice can be seen easily from a wheelchair without needing to go over any bridges. The truth is that Venice makes a great destination, even for disabled travellers!


The main areas – in and around the car park, visitor centre and the Stone Circle – are accessible by wheelchair via tarmac




An English Heritage site that has been designed to now be fully accessible to all. They have prepared all of the footpath so that they are now wheelchair accessible, as is the visitor centre and shuttle bus. They also provide various guides, etc for individuals with hearing and/or visual impairments.

It may also be worth contacting English Heritage to see if they can provide you with any more information or details on other sites.

The Mary Rose

This has now been redesigned to be accessible for all.


A more typical example of an archaeological site that would in the past have been difficult to access. It has now been made fully wheelchair accessible.

Windsor Castle is fully accessible and we welcome visitors with different access requirements


Machu Picchu

Wheelchair Tour to Machu Picchu – Peru



New York

Wheelchair Accessibility Services
The information center, gift pavilion, bookstore, dining facilities and exterior grounds are wheelchair accessible. For those with reservations to enter the monument, wheelchair access is provided by several elevators to the museum, the exterior of Fort Wood, and to the top of the pedestal. The outdoor observation deck balcony is not wheelchair accessible, but visitors still have access to the New York City skyline view. A limited number of wheelchairs are available at both Liberty and Ellis Islands (on a first-come, first-served basis). They can be borrowed, free of charge, with the deposit of a driver’s license or another form of identification at the information desk.


Academic Journals

I have also sent you some academic journals about this subject in a separate email.


Possible Funding

The following organisations do provide funding for accessibility purposes, there may be many others.  I found these just by doing a Google search I am sure you know much more about this than I do

  • ECHO
  • ARCE
  • US Ambassadors fund
  • Terra Viva Grants
  • German Egyptian Research Fund (GERF)
  • Barclays African Group
  • Italian Cooperation Fund
  • Ford Foundation
  • World Bank Group

Detailed Plan

I am not an engineer and can not draw up detailed plans but as you can see from my site reports http://luxor-news.blogspot.com.eg/search/label/Disabled some sites are much easier than others. I would be VERY happy to go round the sites with an engineer on my mobility scooter so the engineer could see for himself where improvements could be made easily.

For example the Seti I temple. That needs a

  • ramp at the entrance gateway
  • Flat pathway to the temple palace
  • The single step in the central axis needs to made into a ramp
  • Ramps needed into the chapels

Ramps should slope 1:12. That means for every drop of 1cm the ramp should stretch for 12cm. That would make 90% of the Seti I temple totally accessible to wheelchairs.


Disable Dollar

If you do a search on “disabled tourism dollar” there are a lot of countries looking into it. Bahamas says it is a billion-dollar sector. By making a few changes you could significantly boost tourism in this sector. Accessible tourism caters to visitors and residents alike

The Ministry of Tourism is aiming to tap into a billion-dollar travel sector that has long been overlooked and will now begin to place accessibility at the heart of tourism development in The Bahamas.

Director in the Office of the Minister Janet Johnson explained that accessible tourism caters to visitors and residents alike. 

It seeks to remove all barriers that would hinder and deny disabled persons and even some of our aging baby-boomer population, with their growing aches and pains, from enjoying easy access to everyday activities.

“It’s a win-win for everyone”, Johnson said.

“It’s a feel good initiative because we are doing the right thing while potentially benefitting from a relatively new and lucrative revenue stream.”


As a resident of Luxor I really want to help with this initiative and I feel it would be good for Luxor.


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