Diving off Antalya

By | Category: Travel destinations

The Turkish beach resort of Antalya has quintupled in size over the last thirty years and is now home to more than a million people. As Turkey has become a popular – and affordable – summer destination for us, the city has developed more and more visitor attractions.

It has also become one of the most attractive diving haunts anywhere in the world. Out of the 11 million plus people who visit the city each year about 400,000 come for the diving. The reason? There are so many hulls that have sunk or been sunk in the region that there are few places where divers can see a modern vessel one minute and something thousands of years old the next.

Given that some of these hulls are either not very deeply located and that the sea is clear it means that novice divers can enjoy the thrills as well as the practised ones. But it isn’t just the hulls of ships that can be seen. There are two WWII planes, one American and one Italian that can be viewed in addition to a cargo plane that was deliberately sunk there. With approval you can get really close to it.

There aren’t just wrecks here. Underwater canyons, reefs and caves await the curious.

But most divers will concentrate on the ships that are there. Being located in the eastern Mediterranean this city can trace its history back over 2,000 years so it was a trade route for Romans, Jews, Persians, Egyptians and of considerable importance in the Byzantine world. It means there is a wide range of hulls to dive around. At the entrance to the harbour and only about 75 feet below the surface is French warship from WWII. Less than ten years ago a small ship from Georgia split in two and sank. In contrast, two-and-a-half thousand years before that a bronze age ship sank. Today, the many remains of what is believed to be the world’s oldest shipwreck are to be found in a museum but a replica replaced it on the seabed. Voted by Scientific American as one of the ten greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, experts are still finding new things about the ship.

These are a few of the sunken ships in the vicinity. The divers come not just to see them but the fish they attract. And in the clear water, photography is as popular as you’d expect.

For more about Antalya, click here.

Image © Turkish Culture & Tourism Office

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