İbrahim Laleli / Antalya, June 22 () - Diving points in and around the southern province of Antalya have become popular attractions for adventurers.
Besides natural diving spots, the wrecks of war planes and ships draw great interest, while the Side Underwater Museum has also become very popular among diving enthusiasts.
Naval Trade Chamber Antalya Branch Chairman İnanç Kendiroğlu said daily tours are organized to diving points and tourists have been fascinated by some of the scenes they encounter under the water.
“The Side Underwater Museum, which was established with the collaboration of our chamber and the Western Antalya Development Agency [BAKA], offers a unique environment to diving enthusiasts. War planes and ships that witnessed World War II make a great contribution to Antalya’s diving tourism,” he said.
Kendiroğlu said diving companies in and around Antalya were also operated in affiliation with the chamber, adding, “Diving companies organize daily tours to diving points. Last year more than 100,000 tourists dove in different points and new ones were added to these places this year. So we expect to host 250,000-300,000 tourists in this season. The Side Underwater Museum will be a kind of center of touristic diving activities.”
Interest in war wrecks
The reefs created by war ships and war planes that went down in the region during World War II have been popular among tourists, according to Kendiroğlu.
“Among war plane wrecks, the French San Didier wreck is close to the entrance of the Yacht Harbor and it increases interest in this point. Other diving points in the center are cliffs and Sıçan Island. There is a small inlet in the east of the island and it draws interest from tourists. The cliffs between the Lara and Konyaaltı beaches draw tourists for their interesting structure,” he said.
Two of the other war wrecks in Antalya are in the Kaş and Manavgat districts. A B-24 U.S. war plane was hit over the Aegean Sea in 1944 while returning to its base in Cyprus after bombing targets in Romania. It went down off the coasts of Antalya and its wreckage can be found in Manavgat.
The wreckage in Kaş is an Italian plane; the reason why it went down is not known. The entire plane lies intact except its engines. Such complete wrecks offer many riches to explore.
The region off the coast of Tekirova known as Üç Adalar (Three Islands) is a diving area made up of small islands. It is one of the most popular diving spots since it has various depths, clear visibility and is close to many diving centers in the city. A cave in Finike, called Gök Cave, is a freshwater source which draws the attention of cave divers.
The ancient Gelidonya wreck in the north of Antalya Gulf has become famous because it dates back to the Early Bronze Age.
The Paris wreckage that lies in 25 meters of water, some 1.5 kilometers off Kemer Harbor, is another one of the popular diving points.