Archaeological diving parks to open in Greece

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Archaeological diving parks to open in Greece

December 11, 2013 - 16:07

Both parks located near Pylos in the southwestern Peloponnese

Ottoman fleet ablaze in Navarino bay, 20 Oct 1827

After a joint decision between the Ministries of Culture and Mercantile Marine, Greece has announced the creation of its first two diving parks. Located near Pylos in the southwestern Peloponnese, both will enable visitors the opportunity to explore ancient shipwrecks and underwater archaeology.

The first park is located at the islet of Sapientza, where archaeologists discovered the remains of ancient trading vessels dating to the Roman, Byzantine and medieval periods. Although the ships’ hulls have long since disintegrated, their cargo remains scattered across the seabed, including granite pillars from the Middle East, amphorae and stone sarcophagi.

The other is situated to the north in the Bay of Navarino and features a number of 19th century shipwrecks. These include the remains of three Turkish ships sunk by allied British, Russian and French forces during the Battle of Navarino in 1827. The battle was a vital engagement in the Greek War of Independence and the last major naval engagement to be fought entirely with sailing ships. In addition, the tanker Irene Serenade sunk here in 1980 and is one of largest shipwrecks in the world accessible to visitors.

According to Marketing Greece, a representative for the Greek tourism industry, the parks are due to be open by the summer of 2014.