The newly opened Museum of Underwater Sculpture at Ayia Napa (MUSAN) “is a jewel of the Mediterranean”, said Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos.
The MUSAN, located on the renowned marine protected area of Ayia Napa named Pernera, was created by the internationally renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
It offers visitors a unique experience demonstrating the relationship between humans, nature, the environment and the sea.
Karousos said MUSAN proves that “when there is a will and cooperation, we can perform miracles”.
MUSAN, which opened on Saturday, will be promoted worldwide by the Deputy Ministry for Tourism.
The new landmark is part of a vision to make Ayia napa the best and most cosmopolitan tourist resort in the Mediterranean.
“By creating the Ayia Napa Underwater Sculpture Park, Cyprus has been placed dynamically on the map of the world diving tourism,” Karousos said.
The underwater museum is expected to attract annually over 50,000 tourists from all over the world.
Agriculture and Environment Minister Costas Kadis said Jason deCaires Taylor is an artist concerned about the repercussions of climate change, overfishing and other human interventions.
“His work creates the ideal conditions to develop marine life at all levels.
“Moreover, he has succeeded in showing that some human interventions can have beneficial repercussions to the marine environment.”
Ayia Napa Mayor Christos Zanettos said the museum “is a legacy for future generations and contains many symbolisms, related to man’s alienation from the environment, the relationship between generations and climate change”.
“The project cost €1 mln, and it enriches Cyprus’ tourism product and is now part of our national wealth.”
MUSAN aims to create a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature.
The sculptural installations aim to enhance the story of Ayia Napa’s as a dynamic, modern, cultural resort at the forefront of conservation and eco-tourism.
They explore the region’s rich cultural and natural heritage, highlighting the exceptional natural beauty found beneath the sea surface whilst giving sea life the opportunity to flourish, creating an example of successful human interaction with the environment.
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.
Stretching for a total of 170 metres from the entrance to exit the museum will offer both divers and snorkelers an experience that will last an hour.
Tall organic structures will rise from the seabed to stand at over eight metres tall, creating the ideal habitat to encourage fish aggregation.
Distributed within the museum and amongst the organic structures, a series of figurative sculptures lie in wait to be discovered by the visitor.
The configuration of the sculptures within the museum follows the topography of the seabed sitting within the open expanse of sand situated south of Pernera Beach.