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TRAVEL > Sunken vessels draw diving fans to Turkey

ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency

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Summer tourists in the Mediterranean region mostly prefer diving among other activities thanks to sunken vessels and planes. DHA photo

Summer tourists in the Mediterranean region mostly prefer diving among other activities thanks to sunken vessels and planes. DHA photo

The Mediterranean coasts draw thousands of diving aficionados ever year thanks to its archaeological treasures. Antalya boosts it popular diving sites, which happens to contain a number of sunken ships and crashed planes, hosts some 400,000 professional and amateur divers.

Kaş, Manavgat, Kemer and Alanya coasts are among the most popular diving centers, with artificial reefs as well as sunken ships and planes.

Antalya Culture and Tourism Director İbrahim Acar said that summer tourists in the city mostly preferred diving among other activities. He said that their aim was to show tourists the underwater richness of the city.

“Sunken ships and artificial reefs in the region made diving tourism more attractive and accelerated tourism when the season ends; [we hope to reveal] the relevant figures. We don’t want people to spend time in their hotels only but to see our underground richness and historical richness.”

Acar said that this year 132 diving points were launched by the Antalya Municipality but only 72 of them were authorized to do so. He said, “We look for certain conditions in diving centers. The most important issue is to provide safety and security. All types of diving tools should be up to standard.”

Popular abandoned ships

A sunken French military transportation ship at the entrance of the Port of Antalya is submerged in the water at 20-32 meter deep. It belongs to a French war ship which sank in 1942 during the war. Most of the ship’s load was removed during works between 1946 and 1974. The ship draws attention from divers.

A sunken ship named Pati is off the Kiriş Aquarium Cove in Kemer and it is very available for experienced divers. The 15-meter long Georgian flagged ship divided into two on a stormy night in 2001. It completely sank in 2004. Some types of fish such as groupers and morays and sometimes tuna fish can be seen around the ship.

Another sunken ship close to Kaş is the ancient Uluburun ship. The 3,400 year old ship was found in 1984 brought to surface. The sunken ship and remnants discovered within it are currently being displayed at the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum. A Uluburun replica, which was constructed in 40 days, is one of the most popular diving places in Kaş’s Limanağzı area.

A sunken coastguard vessel, which is located 400 meters off Kleopatra beach, is popular among underwater photographers. The submerged vessel is in 28 meters in depth and home to various species.

The ancient sunken Gelidonya ship, which was discovered in 1954, is in 26-28 meter deep, dating back to the early Bronze Age, according to surveys. It is estimated that it sank in the end of 13th century. A lot of the ship had been eaten by sea wolves.

Interest in sunken planes

A cargo plane, which was sunk for testing purposes in Kemer’s Tekirova, also draws interest from divers. The plane, which was made in 1942, can be observed up-close tourists diving under professional supervision.

Among the range of underwater bodies include an American war plane, which was shot down in 1944 after bombing a target over Romania and an Italian warplane that lies completely underground bar its motors, with the details of how it managed to reach its current position still yet to be uncovered.

October/29/2013

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