Istanbul and the Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranean, Black Sea Region Chamber of Shipping (IMEAK) Antalya Branch’s initiative commissioned in Manavgat, Turkey’s first underwater museum Side Underwater Museum, serving since October 31, 2015. The museum, which is frequently visited by underwater enthusiasts even during the tourism season under the shadow of the pandemic, can be visited by diving from 11 meters to 24 meters depth.
An average of 10 thousand dives are made annually to the museum, where 115 sculptures that describe the richness of Anatolian civilization are exhibited. With the support of the Western Mediterranean Development Agency (BAKA), the sculptures in the museum, located about 1.5 miles off the Side Tourism Region, are at depths of 11, 18 and 24 meters. The sculptures with 5 different themes were placed in a way that would not harm the marine fauna and were protected with buoys.
Diving people are welcomed by whirling dervishes and mermaid sculptures at 13th meter, camel caravan and Bedouin sculptures at 18th meter, and soldiers and trench statues with the theme of the War of Independence at 24th meter. The statue of Poseidon, known as the sea god in Greek mythology, is also exhibited at 24 meters, which is the deepest point of the museum. Underwater enthusiasts have a unique experience by diving with expert divers according to their diving experience.
Since 2015, around 70 thousand people have dived in the Side Underwater Museum, which is the second largest underwater museum in the world after the underwater museum with 400 sculptures in Mexico. Diver Ali Yardan, who worked in placing the statues underwater during the establishment of the underwater museum, said that he often went to the region for tourist dives. Explaining that the museum is ideal for amateur and professional divers, Yardan said, “The factor that we especially paid attention to when placing the sculptures was to create high visibility points for tourists coming here for touristic diving. We have achieved this. The museum, which starts at 11 meters, where the light is very good, expands up to 24 meters. Every time I dive into the museum, I feel like I’m diving for the first time.
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