(Nicosia) Ulcerated tourists denounced the temporary closure of the Acropolis of Athens on Friday, the Greek authorities having taken the initiative to close the doors of the world monument between noon and the beginning of the evening, in the context of a heat wave which continues to plague southern Europe.

Red Cross workers handed out bottles of water to tourists queuing in hopes of escaping the lockdown and climbing the steps to the gleaming Parthenon temple as temperatures are expected to top 40 degrees Celsius in the Greek capital.

Some visitors were frustrated at being left behind because they weren’t told about the last-minute announcement by Greek authorities that the Acropolis would close at noon.

A Red Cross coordinator, Ioanna Fotopoulou, said rescuers at the scene administered first aid to a number of tourists showing symptoms of dehydration and fainting.

In Spain, people swarmed the beaches as the country enjoyed a short-lived respite from the summer’s second heat wave.

Temperatures are still expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius in at least 12 of Spain’s 17 regions on Friday, although they have dropped from the 45 degrees that hit the southeastern town of Albox on Wednesday.

National weather agency Aemet says a new heat wave is expected to start on Sunday and the highest temperatures are yet to come.

In Italy, the Ministry of Health on Friday advised residents of ten cities, from Bologna to Rome, and five other cities in Sicily, Sardinia and Puglia, to avoid going out at midday due to extreme temperatures.

Temperatures across the country are expected to reach 12 degrees above average in some areas this weekend.

On the southeast island of Cyprus, people huddled under air conditioners and fans blazing as midday temperatures inland were expected to hit 43C .

Temperatures are unlikely to drop below 25°C overnight, while humidity levels, especially along the south coast, are expected to reach an uncomfortable 65%.

Temperatures are expected to remain at the same level on Saturday, with a slight drop expected the following day.

The Forest Service has issued a “red alert” for the risk of fire, urging the public to be extra careful and avoid using any machinery outdoors that could start a fire.

In Nicosia, the capital of the island of Cyprus, more than two dozen elderly people have taken refuge in a shelter that the municipality reserves for summer heat waves.

Councilor Elena Loucaidou told The Associated Press that many low-income seniors appreciate being able to save on their electric bill and take advantage of the shelter’s air conditioning.

The heat is weighing on economic activity in the country, particularly in the construction sector, where laws require employers to provide workers with frequent breaks, shaded rest areas and even to suspend work if temperatures reach freezing temperatures. specified high levels.