It's been off limits for 30 years — but an ancient, sunken city near Kekova, Turkey, may soon again be open to scuba divers.
The sunken city — Batık Şehir — isn't super deep: just 18 meters below sea level. In 1986, local authorities limited access to the ruins, believed to be damaged during an earthquake nearly 2,000 years ago, over concerns of degradation. For the moment, only kayakers are allowed to approach the site, which includes "foundations of buildings, staircases, moorings and smashed amphorae" — swimming and diving are both prohibited. Boat tours can provide a glimpse, though not the up-close-and-personal tour diving would provide.
Now, though, this may change, following a sustained tourism push — officials want the tourism bucks, if they can do so without damaging the site. The upshot? Probably a program that allows limited access, all under the watchful guise of local experts and guides.
It's a spectacular find on an equally spectacular coast — for a preview, see below.