The First Underwater Museum in the Mediterranean Is Now Open in Cyprus
The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (M.U.S.A.N.), the latest installation of world-famous reef artist Jason deCaires Taylor, opens to the public, August 2.
Billed as the world’s first underwater forest, more than 130 figural and botanical sculptures rest across more than 550 feet of sand at a depth of up to 33 feet off the southeastern coast of Cyprus. It is designed to tell a story to visitors, which can be followed if visitors enter from the North end. Built in Pernera, a marine protected area, the site was selected by the government to highlight its protected status.
The opening ceremony of the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) was impressive The opening of MUSAN took place with an impressive ceremony on Saturday, 31st of July 2021, at Pernera beach in Ayia Napa. In the presence of distinguished guests and the artist himself, Jason deCaires Taylor, one of the most famous representatives of the eco-art movement, the inauguration was a great success.
MUSAN is an aquatic treasure for Cyprus, since its uniqueness in combination with Ayia Napa’s marine environment create a special project, the like of which isn’t offered anywhere else. Guests had the opportunity to listen to the artist himself, Jason deCaires Taylor, talk about his idea for MUSAN and the chronicles of its creation. The artist presented the Undewater Museum of Ayia Napa with 2 short videos. The ceremony was opened by Ayia Napa’s Mayor, Christos Zannettou who stated: “I am very excited that this project is inaugurated during my time as mayor. It’s a legacy for future generations and contains many symbolisms about the alienation of humans from the environment, the relationship between different generations and climate change. I’m proud that in the sculptures there are two young Cypriots, which we are revealing today, and which will always be here to mark the museum’s location. The budget for the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa that we are opening today was €1.000.000. Today, during this difficult time for the world, we raise our Cyprus higher”.
He added that “this project marks a new beginning for our country. It enriches our tourist product and is now part of our national treasures. Simultaneously, it upgrades and attracts a separate group of tourists with special interests, and it offers a unique experience for all tourist groups and ages. At the same time, it supports our efforts in extending our tourist season, operating reciprocally for our country’s economy. The Mayor of Ayia Napa concluded his speech by saying: “We proved that we do not give up in difficult times, we didn’t surrender, but we fought through adverse economic and operational conditions in our municipality so that we can have our city, Ayia Napa and our island, Cyprus where they deserve to be. We believed that with this unique diving museum visitors will be able to enjoy an underwater oasis, which can improve our visitors’ experience while offering a new opportunity to include this destination in our preferences and explorations. Nothing is impossible with cooperation, strong vision and love, both for our municipality and for the new generation. We can set goals and achieve them”.
The creation of MUSAN was a result of the joint effort of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, the Ayia Napa municipality and the Ministry of Tourism. In her speech, the director of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Marina Argyrou, expressed her great satisfaction and excitement that a unique and innovative project that was envisioned with the Ayia Napa municipality is becoming a reality. “I firmly believe that Jason’s 93 artworks will be a haven for many sea creatures and will contribute to the development of biodiversity in the area. The underwater museum will be a living visual and ecological experience, with works of art interacting with nature and evolving over time and I’m certain it will bring people closer to the marine environment and the conservation and protection of our marine ecosystem”.