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Cyprus Inaugurates New Underwater Sculpture Park

The island nation Cyprus recently inaugurated the Mediterranean Sea’s first Underwater Sculpture Park on August 2, 2021. Located at the coast of Pernera beach in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) features 93 sculptures. 

Photograph: Jason deCaires Taylor/Musan

What is MUSAN?

MUSAN is an underwater museum built with figures and botanical sculptures representing the relationship between man and nature. 

It features ginormous, hybrid trees weighing up to 13 tons, children playing hide-and-seek, and other figures. The result resembles a dense forest entryway to its many characters installed. 

The museum cost EUR 1 million (USD 1.1 Million/ INR 8,70,25,622.06) to make. Each sculpture is built with inert pH-neutral materials such as stones, rocks, and shells. It helps attract marine life to replicate living biodiversity at the MUSAN’s manmade reef and leaves no adverse impact. 

Photograph: Costas Constantinou/Musan

MUSAN is a collaborative effort between Cyprus’ Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, the Ayia Napa Municipality, and the Ministry of Tourism.

 

Location and Accessibility

This submerged attraction, installed in a marine protected area, stretches across more than 167 meters of sand and over 10 meters down. 

The entrance to MUSAN begins on the land at Pernera beach, 200 meters off the coast of Ayia Napa, southeastern coast of Cyprus. Its pathway leads to the sculptures underwater. 

Strategically placed in one of the most overfished spots in the world, some of the artwork will interact with nature overtime to oust the barren land. Ayia Napa being a temperate zone will entice different species of marine life, much unlike the ones spotted in tropical areas.

Scuba divers, free divers, and snorkelers can access this majestic temperate area for free throughout the year. Reservation is based on a first-come-first-basis and can be booked through the local dive centers. 

 

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The creator of MUSAN

MUSAN showcases the work of British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. His goal was to incorporate and reference ‘the defining issues of our era’ namely – climate change, habitat loss, and pollution.

“I’m kind of hoping that it leaves the visitor with a sense of hope along with a sense that the human impact isn’t always negative. That we can reverse some of the things we’ve done,” said deCaires Taylor about the sculptures. 

Spain, Indonesia, UK, Maldives, the Bahamas, etc., displays some of deCaires Taylor’s notable works. Currently, the artist is creating the Museum of Underwater Art in Australia and is in talks with the Grenadian government to build a similar underwater installation there. 

 

The notion behind MUSAN

“The idea is to create an underwater forest, an incredible rewilding of the underwater world and to create sculptures that not only exist on the seafloor but actually traverse the water column and reach up to the surface – the idea being that it creates this mythical experience but also this complex web for marine life to inhabit,”  explains deCaires Taylor to Cyprus Mail.

Photograph: Costas Constantinou/Musan

A similarly themed project devised in 2014 planned to submerge military vehicles. The idea was shelved and replaced with the works of deCaires Taylor to inculcate ‘issues surrounding environmental challenges to gain awareness’ about it. 

MUSAN is a space highlighting the need to conserve the ecosystem and to educate the locals and tourists of its significance.

 

 

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Written By

A Mass Media graduate with a freelance background in Content Writing and Photography. Currently working as the Junior Editor at The Ticket Fairy. (She/Her)

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