Part manmade, part natural, entirely mind-blowing. Museo Atlantico is Europe's first underwater art museum, situated on the seabed off the coast of Spain in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Scuba divers and snorkelers are now free to explore the permanent, underwater art installation by Jason deCaires Taylor, a British artist, diver, and naturalist. More than 300 life-sized sculptures rest on the ocean floor 14 meters below the surface, showcasing what Taylor calls "tales of the world, reflections on climate change, and habitat loss based on real-life characters, their stories, and their relationship with the environment." 

The submerged world took more than three years to plan and construct, located in a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Sculptures are made from high-density, pH-neutral concrete, designed to attract sea life and promote the growth of coral reef. The figures are already covered with coral and teeming with marine life, frequented by rare angel sharks, schools of barracudas, octopus, and butterfly rays. Taylor's artworks serve as artificial reefs, installed at various locations around the world. They are meant to continually transform, yet stand as social commentaries on the human relationship with nature and the power of the sea. 

Among the pieces in Museo Atlantico is the Raft of Lampedusa, depicting a lifeboat filled with refugees and modeled after a painting at the Louvre Museum in Paris by painter Théodore Géricault. Crossing The Rubicon consists of 35 figures frozen in time, walking towards a gate, or as the artist calls it, "a portal to another world." Disconnect depicts a couple taking an underwater selfie, Taylor's commentary on mass tourism and its effects on nature. Taylor created the world's first underwater sculpture park more than ten years ago off the west coast of Grenada, which earned a place among National Geographic's 25 Wonders of The World. 

For more information on how to arrange a visit to Museo Atlantico through certified diving companies, email [email protected].