The Turkish government has decided to take some measures to improve the tourism scenario in the country. One of the first steps is the plan to open up an underwater ancient city to the tourists.
The sunken Simena city is laid off the coast of Kekova, a tiny, unpopulated island near Demre district of Antalya province. An earthquake in the second century turned the city into ruins, which later became a great tourist spot.
The government shut down the spot to tourists in 1986 to protect the heritage of the lost city. While visitors could still take a boat or kayak tour around the area and dive nearby to enjoy the clear water and watch the stunning sea creatures, underwater exploration of the ruins was not allowed.
The government declared the entire regions a Specially Protected Area in 1990. It’s currently on the Tentative List of UNESCO for being considered as a World Heritage Site.
However, it seems that local government wants to capitalize on the growing interest in the diving market. Münir Karalo?lu, the Mayor of Antalya, wants the ban to be repealed. The local government has already made an application to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
According to Mr Karalo?lu, they just want permission for restricted diving so that the wonderful site suffers no damage. To ensure the safety, the diving has been proposed to be guided by archaeologists. He thinks that the entire coasts of Antalya possess rich archaeological interests that can draw millions of visitors.
The sunken city has many ruins belonged to a 4,000-year-old civilisation. It has wreckage of structures, inscriptions, tombs, harbour, and even a rock-carved theatre. Mr Karalo?lu said that it would be a great opportunity to people who want to know more about the country’s heritage.