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Israel opens underwater museum

In world's first underwater museum, visitors can see some 36 sign-posted sites along four marked trails in the 87,000-sq-yd sunken harbour.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 17:09 IST

Israel has launched the world's first underwater museum from the remains of what was once the most impressive port in the Roman Empire.

Divers can now don their wet suits and tour the sign-posted remains of the magnificent harbour of Caesarea along the Mediterranean coast of Israel built by King Herod to honour his Roman patron Caesar Augustus.

The visitors get to see some 36 different sign-posted sites along four marked trails in the sunken harbour covering an area of 87,000 square yards.

A water-proof map, in Hebrew and English, provided to them describes in detail each of the numbered sites along the way.

One trail is also accessible to snorkelers, while the others, ranging from 7 to 29 feet below the surface, close to the beach, are accessible for any diver just beginning to learn the skill.

The museum showcases an abrogated history of this once prominent port town from its entrance at sea, about 350 feet from the current shoreline, to the Roman shipwreck that signalled the demise of the port.

Researchers believe that it happened probably due to an earthquake about a century after its construction.

The site has been excavated over the last three decades by a team led by the late ProfessorAvner Raban of the University of Haifa's Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies.

First Published: May 02, 2006 09:53 IST