Greece's underwater museum lets visitors 'dive into history'
Located in the National Marine Park of Alonissos and the Northern Sporades (the largest protected marine area in all of Europe) the museum centres around a vast shipwreck that sank to the bottom of the Aegean in 425 bc.
Due to concerns over looting, only archaeologists and those who had been granted special permission were permitted access to the area, that was until late last summer when the country's Ministry for Culture officially opened it to the public as 'Greece's First Underwater Museum'.
Accompanied by instructors, divers can explore the 2500-year-old shipwreck (and its ancient cargo which include, ornate bowls, cups, plates and tableware) along with the surrounding marine park which is home to an incredible array of life, including monk seals, several species of dolphin, sperm whales, loggerhead turtles and over 300 species of fish.
In addition, underwater cameras stream live video to a site on the nearby island of Alonissos, so visitors can enjoy this incredible subaquatic world without leaving dry land.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, visitors have been understandably limited. However, as vaccinations increase and international travel resumes, there is optimism that the museum will become a major attraction for international travellers and can provide a blueprint on how to make tourism more sustainable in the post-pandemic era; plans are already in place to turn some of the country's other shipwrecks into similar designated archaeological dive sites.
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