Renewed sinkholes welcome tourists in Mersin
Located in the southern province of Mersin, the historical sinkholes, one of which is called “Heaven” with its 70-meter-deep green nature, and the other called “Hell” with its 128-meter-scary structure, are expecting to host 500,000 tourists in a year with their renewed look.
Improvement works that were carried out within the scope of the “2020 Destination Management Feasibility Support Program in Tourism” for the Heaven and Hell Sinkholes in the Silifke district have been completed.
The region, which stands out with its interesting structure, was opened to visitors within the framework of the COVID-19 measures.
Improvements have been made to the 452-step walkway and the Virgin Mary Church at the base of the 70-meter-deep sinkhole, which is called “heaven” and offers a green nature and water flowing from its bottom.
An elevator was installed for the elderly, disabled and chronically ill visitors, who find it hard to go down the stairs to the elliptical-shaped sinkhole with a diameter of 250 meters.
A walking path has been added to the cave, whose entrance is at the base of the sinkhole where natural water flows.
A glass viewing terrace was also built in the Hell Sinkhole, which is known for its scary atmosphere and is impossible to descend. An easier observation opportunity was created thanks to the viewing terrace in the sinkhole, which was difficult to examine before the works. The parking lot in the area has been rearranged, and social areas were also prepared for visitors.
With the opening of the season, the sinkholes started to host a large number of visitors.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Silifke Deputy Mayor Sadık Altınok said that the sinkholes were improved with many innovations such as a viewing terrace, walking paths and elevators.
Talking about their goal of attracting tourists to the region, Altunok said, “With the new investments, we expect the number of visitors, which was between 80,000 and 100,000 in previous seasons, to increase to 500,000 this year with the decrease of the COVID-19 effect.”
Explaining that the elevator was specially built for people with disabilities, Altunok said: “The Heaven Sinkhole has 452 steps of stairs. Going up and down the stairs was tiring for the elderly and the disabled. With the elevator, this problem will be eliminated, and the beautiful places, waters and stalactites inside the sinkhole will be seen more easily. There is also a small viewing place in the Hell Sinkhole. And a much larger glass viewing terrace has been built. Now people can travel there more easily as well as examine the Hell Sinkhole through the glass area without difficulty.”
He noted that visitors also have the opportunity to see many important artifacts from a close distance, such as Astım Cave, Adam Kayalar and the Hellenistic-era ancient city of Uzuncaburç.