Spectacular underwater museum ‘forest’ opens

An artist has created an extraordinary underwater ‘forest’ of more than 90 sculptures 200m off the Cypriot coast. 

Located in the waters off Ayia Napa, the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (Musan) is the brainchild of artist Jason deCaires Taylor and comprises a maze of underwater sculptures, some of which are in the form of hybrid trees, others which are figurative. 

The museum is now open for snorkelers, scuba divers and swimmers to explore. The British artist has previously created aquatic sculpture gardens in Cannes, Mexico, Grenada, the Bahamas, Lanzarote, and Norway. In Australia, deCaires Taylor constructed an underwater greenhouse in the Great Barrier Reef.

Musan was commissioned by the Municipality of Ayia Napa in Cyprus and the department of fisheries and marine research. 

The Musan website explains the ethos behind the installation: ‘Marine life in the Mediterranean Sea has been seriously depleted over the last 20 years. The sculptural forest made from inert pH neutral materials aims to replicate a terrestrial forest by becoming a focal point for biodiversity. Eventually, the work of nature will supplant the work of the artist. The sculpted trees and the children that play amongst them will be consumed and colonised by marine biomass, providing food and shelter for a variety of creatures but importantly reminding us that we are natural ourselves.’

Scuba divers install one of the museum’s tree-like sculptures

Placed 200m from the Pernera beach, the area in which the new museum is sited consists of a flat channel of sand, 8-10m deep, within a marine protected area.

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