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TAKE A LOOK | Inside magical and eerie sunken museum opened off the coast of Cyprus

Business Insider US

A snorkeler floats above the underwater sculptures in Cyprus.
  • An underwater art museum with 93 sunken sculptures off the coast of Cyprus opened in July.
  • Designed by Jason deCaires Taylor, the museum explores the relationship between people and nature.
  • Snorkelers and divers can explore the magical underwater museum.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Off the coast of Pernera beach in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, there's a sunken forest that only divers, snorkelers, and the aquatic animals living in the waters can access.

A snorkeler swims through the sunken forest.

The 93 statues are part of the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa, which explores the relationship between people and nature.

A map of the 93 submerged sculptures.

Source: MUSAN

From whimsical trees to playful children, the work is artist Jason deCaires Taylor's latest creation. The museum, which opened in July, references everything from the ongoing climate crisis to habitat loss.

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor stands behind one of his sculptures.

Source: MUSAN

"I'm kind of hoping that it leaves the visitor with a sense of hope along with a sense that the human impact isn't always negative. That we can reverse some of the things we've done," Taylor told CNN Travel.

The 93 sculptures range in subject matter.

Source: CNN Travel

But the sunken statues are more than art. Eventually, animals, corals, and aquatic plants will make the sculptures - which are pH-neutral, meaning they don't negatively impact the surrounding environment - part of their habitat.

The submerged sculptures.

Source: MUSAN

Taylor told EuroNews that the sculptures serve a "twofold purpose," because they're not only works of art, but they also act as "artificial reefs."

A diver explored the sculptures, which sit on the ocean's floor and float up to the water's surface.

Source: EuroNews

The museum cost R16 million to build, and the statues which weigh up to 13 tons, were placed on the ocean floor with a crane.

A crane lowers a museum sculpture into the water.

Source: MUSAN

Museum visitors can access the art from the shores of Pernera beach, which was once a barren stretch of sand.

Visitors can access the underwater museum from Pernera Beach in Cyprus.

Source: MUSAN

Visitors swim through the forest of statues, which stretch more than 550 feet across the ocean floor and reach a depth of 33 feet, according to Scuba Diving.

Scuba divers and snorkelers can roam throughout the once-barren area.

Source: Scuba Diving

They might spot sculptures of children playing hide and seek - a reminder that the natural world is a place to be explored.

Statues of children playing.

Source: MUSAN

As they reach deeper depths, people can spot statues sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor and floating all the way to the water's surface.

A crane lowers a sculpture onto the floor of the ocean.

Source: MUSAN

The immersive experience is a new way to explore and reflect on the importance of the underwater world.

A snorkeler floats above the underwater sculptures in Cyprus.

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