The Museum of Underwater Sculpture at Ayia Napa (MUSAN) “is a jewel of the Mediterranean”, said on Saturday Minister of Transport Communications and Works, Yiannis Karousos.
Addressing the opening ceremony, he said the MUSAN, which is located on the renowned marine protected area (MPA) of Ayia Napa named Pernera, in the south east coast of Cyprus, was created by the internationally renowned artist, Jason deCaires Taylor and offers visitors a unique experience demonstrating the relationship between humans, nature, the environment and the sea.
Karousos said the inauguration of MUSAN proves that “when there is a will and cooperation, we can perform miracles” and said MUSAN will be known worldwide through the promotion which will be carried on by the Deputy Ministry for Tourism. Moreover, the presence of the Deputy Minister for Shipping adds even greater value and importance to the project.
The Μinister, who also served as Ayia Napa mayor, said it was during his term in office that he put forward the idea that was set in motion and was completed by the current Mayor, Christos Zanettos and was the result of the collective work and cooperation between the Municipality of Ayia Napa and the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment.
Noting he is most proud of the project, he said his vision as a former mayor was that by “2030 we would make it the best and most cosmopolitan tourist resort of the Mediterranean”.
In order to make this vision a reality, we implemented the strategy of the ‘Full Tourist Experience’ which aims to enable visitors acquire unique experiences and memories, which will carry them to their countries and make them want to return to Ayia Napa, thus creating repeated visitors.
Through the creation of the Ayia Napa Underwater Sculpture Park MUSAN, Cyprus has been placed dynamically on the map of the world diving tourism, Karousos said adding that the underwater museum is expected to attract annually over 50,000 tourists from all over the world.
In his remarks, Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment Minister Costas Kadis said that Jason deCaires Taylor is an artist who is concerned about the repercussions of climate change, overfishing and other human interventions and this has led him to travel various parts of the planet and through his work he creates the ideal conditions to develop marine life at all levels. He has succeeded in showing that some human interventions can have beneficial repercussions to marine environment.
Taylor presented MUSAN through two video presentations during the ceremony.
Also addressing the opening ceremony, current Mayor Christos Zanettos said the museum “is a legacy for future generations and contains many symbolisms, related to the alienation of man from the environment, the relationship between generations and climate change”.
Noting the project cost one million euros, he said it enriches Cyprus’ tourism product and is now part of our national wealth.
According to MUSAN’s website, the objective is to create a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature. To develop a portal to the underwater realm that offers visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an otherworldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings. The sculptural installations aim to enhance the story of Ayia Napa’s as a dynamic, modern, cultural resort at the forefront of conservation and eco-tourism, the sculptures will explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region, highlighting the exceptional natural beauty found beneath the sea surface whilst giving sea life the opportunity to flourish creating an outstanding example of successful human interaction with the environment.
A collection of submarine figurative sculptures dispersed amongst a series of sculpted organic trees and subterranean plants will create the World’s first underwater forest. A symbol to enhance the story of Ayia Napa’s newly created Marine Protected Zone, whilst acknowledging the deforestation practices of the past.
Visitors can drift through the artwork absorbing the natural beauty all around them, creating an ephemeral experience for scuba divers and snorkelers to explore an alternative underwater universe where marine life takes centre stage, a portal beneath the ocean.
Stretching for a total of one hundred and seventy metres from entrance to exit the museum will offer both divers and snorkelers an experience that will last an hour. Repositioning the visitor as the attraction and sea life as the observer, the sculptural installation will entice visitors under the surface to explore the beauty of the sub-aquatic environment. Tall organic structures will rise up from the seabed to stand at over eight metres tall, creating the ideal habitat to encourage the aggregation of fish. Distributed within the museum and amongst the organic structures, a series of figurative sculptures lie in wait to be discovered by the visitor. The configuration of the sculptures within the museum will follow the topography of the seabed sitting within the open expanse of sand situated South of Pernera Beach.