Lonely Planet Writer

Stunning images from the official opening of Europe's first underwater museum

The amazing Museo Atlantico, Europe’s first underwater museum, has officially been completed.

The Rubicon
The Rubicon Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

The museum consists of more than 300 works created by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, which can be explored by divers or seen from glass-bottomed boats. Located off the coast of Lanzarote, it acts as a breeding site for local species, and will protect the marine environment by creating an artificial reef from the PH neutral sculptures. Some initial works were installed in February this year and there’s been an increase of 200% in marine biomass already.

'Portal' as part of Museo Atlantico.
‘Portal’ as part of Museo Atlantico. Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

Museo Atlantico delivers a strong message on the importance of the ocean and our reliance on it to survive; from oxygen and nutrition to climate regulation. Climate change is just one of the political statements visitors can consider.

'The Immortal Pyre'
‘The Immortal Pyre’ Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

Crossing the Rubicon is a huge installation consisting of 35 figures walking towards an underwater boundary. In an artist statement, de Caires Taylor said: “in times of increasing patriotism and protectionism the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions. We forget we are all an integral part of a living system at our peril.”

Close-up of 'The Rubicon'.
Close-up of ‘The Rubicon’. Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

Deregulated consists of businessmen enjoying a children’s playground, a comment on the “arrogance of the corporate world towards the natural world”, particularly in relation to our use of fossil fuels and the burden we place on marine species.

Two businessmen play on a swing as part of 'Deregulated'.
Two businessmen play on a swing as part of ‘Deregulated’. Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

The final exhibit in Museo Atlantico is the Human Gyre, 200 life-size figures which are placed in a circle, providing a complex reef formation for marine life to inhabit. It also serves as a reminder that we all evolved from the ocean and are vulnerable to any changes in it.

'The Human Gyre'
‘The Human Gyre’ Image by Jason deCaires Taylor

Marseille is also planning an underwater museum, the first of its kind in France, inspired by the work of Jason de Caires Taylor, who will also be involved with the project.