Sunken city in Kekova may open to diving
ANTALYA – DHA
Work has been initiated to remove the diving ban in Kekova to allow restricted diving. Kekova is one of the world’s most important diving spots in the southern province of Antalya’s Demre district and is home to an underwater ancient city.
Applications to the relevant ministries have been made for restricted diving in an area where diving may be possible with special permission, announced Antalya Mayor Münir Karaloğlu.
Karaloğlu has also taken a dive in the region himself and was photographed by the underwater photographer Tahsin Ceylan.
The diving ban has been in practice since 1986 in Kekova in order to protect the underwater city. Restricted diving may be possible in the region with the help of archaeologists and guides, so as not to damage the sunken ancient city, said Karaloğlu.
Applications have been made to the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization for the removal of the ban, adding that Kekova’s underwater ancient city has very important archaeological values and its underwater world is too rich for diving tourism.
Within the scope of the work to promote diving tourism in the city, a book titled “Antalya’nın Sualtı Cenneti” (Underwater Heaven of Antalya), featuring underwater wreckages, archaeological values and natural beauties from the coast of Gazipaşa to Kaş, has also been released.
Interest in diving tourism has increased
Karaloğlu said they hoped for the removal of the diving ban.
“Not only Kekova, but all the coasts of Antalya are rich in terms of archaeology. Our efforts to diversify tourism alternatives have begun to bring results and interest in diving tourism has increased. If permission is received from the ministries, diving tourism will be available with the help of guides and archaeologists in Kekova,” he added.
Diving available in 32 spots in south
Kekova, which is a rocky island off Kaleköy and Üçağız around Demre, draws great attention to its clear water and sea creatures. Swimming is also banned in the field of a sunken city but it is possible only in two spots with special permission.
There are 32 diving spots south of Kekova Island. Deniz Feneri, Blue Cave, Antrum, the Iberian shipwreck, Yelkenli shipwreck, Buzalık Cove, Buzalık Cape, Ambar, Gökkaya, Arda, Duvar, Duvar 2, Eğri Liman, Kara Ada, Sualtı Tepesi, Reef 1, Shark’s Point, Kara Burnu, Son Nokta (The End), Bora, Çapa, Akar, Sıçan, Akıntı, Ufuk, İç Ada Cove and Taşucu are some of these spots.
The 5.7 square-kilometer Kekova Island is 19 kilometers in length and 118 meters in height. The ruins of the sunken city, most of which are underwater, are seen from the northern coast of Kekova. This is why the island is so important in terms of underwater tourism.
The island is one of the leading spots for boat tours and there are Üçağız and Kaleköy settlements in the shore. The city remained underwater in the second century during massive earthquakes in Lycia.
The region is home to rich historical heritage including inscriptions with the Lycian alphabet, tombs, the ruins of breakwaters and structures, a rock-carved theater from the Middle Age, water cisterns, a necropolis of rock tombs and an ancient harbor.