Cyprus launches first underwater archaeological park at ancient port

The now-submerged harbor lying off the ancient city-kingdom of Amathus was constructed between 312/311 B.C. and 294 B.C.

 A visitor looks at the ruins as he swims at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)
A visitor looks at the ruins as he swims at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)

Cyprus has opened its first underwater archaeological park, offering visitors a glimpse of history at one of the eastern Mediterranean's best preserved ancient harbors, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"The first maritime archaeological park in Cyprus, the ancient harbor of Amathus, with integrated underwater and coastal trails, is now ready to welcome its first visitors," the Andikat project said in a Facebook post.

The now-submerged harbor lying off the ancient city-kingdom of Amathus was constructed between 312/311 B.C. and 294 B.C., when Cyprus was the focus of conflict between two successors of Alexander the Great. 

It was probably constructed as a naval base because of its narrow entrance, though experts say its combined commercial use cannot be dismissed either.

A natural reef

Over the centuries, it has developed into a natural reef where marine life thrives.

Visitors swim at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)Visitors swim at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)

“The preserved architectural remains and the special biodiversity of the marine area form a unique place to visit, where the public has the opportunity to see and learn about the history and the marine environment,” Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said.  

This special project was done within the framework of the European Cross Border Cooperation program (CBC), together with the Andikat project, the CyprusMail stated.

A visitor swims at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)A visitor swims at the underwater archaeological park of the ancient port of Amathus in Limassol, Cyprus, July 9, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)

The Andikat project oversees diving routes in marine protected areas of the eastern Mediterranean sea - and the development of diving tourism in the region.