A lightning bolt struck the Acropolis in Athens during a rainstorm Wednesday, lightly injuring two visitors and two guards but causing no damage to the country’s most famous ancient site, Greek officials said.
A culture ministry statement said the citadel’s lightning rod, which is set apart from the 2,500-year-old marble buildings, was hit. The impact shattered glass windows in two nearby guard booths, and the guards inside as well as two female visitors were taken to hospital with slight cuts.
The hilltop UNESCO World Heritage site is Greece’s most popular archaeological site, attracting 3.15 million visitors last year.
The ministry said none of the Acropolis monuments, which include the 5th Century B.C. Parthenon and Erechtheion temples, were damaged. The two visitors were discharged from hospital after receiving first aid while the guards remained for precautionary reasons.
Much of Greece has been beset by unusually persistent rainfall over recent days, with a hailstorm carpeting central Athens in white on Monday.
The Acropolis is one of the highest points in the city center and has suffered severely from lightning strikes in the past.
In 1645, during the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Greece when the Acropolis served as a fortress, a lightning bolt hit the monumental entrance to the citadel, the Propylaea, which the garrison was using as a gunpowder store.
The subsequent explosion extensively damaged the 5th Century B.C. building, which until then had remained largely intact since ancient times. The Parthenon suffered a similar fate when it was hit by a shell in 1687, during a siege by Venetian forces.