Cyprus presents an ancient submarine port | Canberra weather


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It is said that the besieging Demetrius, a warrior king and one of the successors of Alexander the Great, built a port on the southern coast of Cyprus 2,400 years ago to thwart any naval invasion by the Egyptian ruler, Ptolemy I, another heir to Alexander. French archaeologists who first studied the ancient port of Amathus believe it to be an incomplete military fortification work, the three piers of which would have housed the best of the ancient world’s warships, ready to go. repel an attacking force. Located just underwater just 60 meters from the coast near the resort town of Limassol, the port will soon be Cyprus’s new tourist attraction where adventurous vacationers can dive above its submerged stone remains. This is a new direction for the Cypriot tourism authorities, who are looking beyond the long-standing “sun and surf” product of the eastern Mediterranean island nation to reach specialist tourism markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced tourist arrivals for an island that relies heavily on such income, so Cypriot authorities are taking a fresh look at what the island has to offer visitors, to rekindle interest in those who choose to travel. The head of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, Yiannis Violaris, said that what makes the port unique in the entire eastern Mediterranean is its state of conservation, combined with its proximity to the coastline. He says these attributes could attract more people amid a surge in global interest in dive tourism. The fact that Cyprus has achieved the highest marks for cleanest waters among all other countries in the European Union for the second year in a row is also a big bonus. “Tourists as well as local visitors will have the opportunity to see this impressive ancient port, swim in it and see how it was built, with three moles surrounding it,” Violaris told The Associated Press. Specialized diving teams are currently cleaning the harbor from vegetation and will mark underwater routes for swimmers to follow during their visit. Diving tourism is not entirely new to the island. For years, divers have flocked to the wreck of the MS Zenobia, a Swedish-built ferry that sank in about 42 meters of water just over 1.6 km from the coastal town of Larnaca in 1980. The wreck has been rated among the best for divers. But the owner of a dive shop, Michalis Sinpouris, said authorities need to do a lot more to put Cyprus firmly on the world diving map, for example by scuttling larger ships near the coast to create artificial reefs. . Tourism directly accounts for around 13 percent of the Cypriot economy. According to the latest figures available, tourist arrivals between January and February of this year were down 86% compared to the same period in 2019, when Cyprus hit a record high in the number of travelers who chose to spend their holidays. vacation on the island. Tourism officials were hoping the industry would rebound this month once the UK and Russia – Cyprus’s two main markets – put the island on their “green” list of safe destinations. Now they hope that August will be the month of recovery. Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said authorities are working to extend the holiday season with the launch of a “game-changing” campaign dubbed “Heartland of Legends” where tourists can visit a village and see locals making the island’s famous Halloumi cheese, among other things. experiences. Perdios said that despite the drop in arrivals from the UK and Russia, he is encouraged by the digital interest that potential holidaymakers from non-traditional markets such as France and Germany are showing to visit. in Cyprus. “We have been working in these markets.… Things won’t happen overnight, so I remain optimistic,” said Perdios. Associated Australian Press

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