Cyprus added another tourist attraction in August 2021, when it opened its unique underwater museum in the Mediterranean Sea.
The museum is located about 200 meters from the coast of Ayia Napa in what is called a resort town of southwestern Cyprus.
The “Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa” or MUSAN opened for the general public in August 2021 and the museum houses 93 sculptures made by artist Jason DeCaires Taylor.
The aim of the museum is to replicate an underwater forest and the message from the pieces installed in the museum is an exploration of the relationship of nature and man. The pieces also send out the message about the ongoing climate crisis and the urgent action that is needed to preserve the rapidly diminishing marine life.
The museum was a join collaboration between the Aiya Napa municipality, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and the Ministry of Tourism of Cyprus. It cost them $1.1 million to bring this project to fruition.
The sculptures of the museum were lowered in the sea bed using cranes and the material used for the sculptures contains inert pH neutral substances which will naturally attract marine life. So, these sculptures will over time be covered entirely by marine biomass which will enhance the aesthetic appeal even more.
The official description of the museum and the sculptures as posted on the MUSAN website reads: “The creative objective is to create a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature. To develop a portal to the underwater realm that offers visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an otherworldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings.”
Elaborating on the sculptures installed in the underwater museum, the website states, “A collection of submarine figurative sculptures dispersed amongst a series of sculpted organic trees and subterranean plants will create the world’s first underwater forest. A symbol to enhance the story of Ayia Napa’s newly created Marine Protected Zone, whilst acknowledging the deforestation practices of the past.”
The physical entry point of the museum is on the Pernara beach. A pathway has been built which leads towards a floating platform from which people can dive in to view the submerged museum sculptures.
Currently, there is no entry fee to visit the museum, however the only way to access it is through registered dive centres of Pernara beach. Needless to say, one will need a scuba diving or at the very least snorkelling equipment to go visit this one-of-a-kind underwater museum.