A Bulgarian historian today launched an ambitious project to reconstruct the Biblical ark, complete with pairs of animals, as a tourist attraction.
The new ark will be built on the Black Sea coast near Sunny Beach resort, 240 miles east of Sofia, said Nikolai Kanchev, the historian leading the project.
“The wooden vessel will be 368ft long, 85ft wide and over 30ft high, and a part of it will be under water,” he said. “Of course, there will be pairs of the different animal species chosen once by Noah.”
The site will also include an exhibition of historical artifacts found in the region.
Visitors will be given a presentation of an expedition headed by National Geographic Society explorer Robert Ballard, who has been searching the depths of the Black Sea for the remains of the ark.
The expedition started last year in coastal waters.
Ballard’s mission, which is to continue in 2003, could shed more light on the controversial timing and site of the Biblical Great Flood.
Under the supervision of Ballard, a US explorer who discovered the remains of the Titanic, a team of 19 scientists is searching for undersea evidence of human habitation in the Black Sea region before the Biblical flood described in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
Some scientists theorise that an antediluvian society predating those of Egypt and Mesopotamia is believed to have been submerged by the Black Sea at the time of a massive flood 7,600 years ago.
The flood, they suggest, transformed a stillwater lake into the saltwater sea.
Explorers have found ancient vessels in remarkable condition in the Black Sea, whose unique oxygen-free deep water preserves wrecks without the worm damage and deterioration that normally affect wooden vessels.
The museum exposition is scheduled to open its doors in March 2003, and its founders hope for crowds of visitors from all around the globe.
“Troy has its Trojan Horse, Romania has Dracula - we will have our Noah’s Ark,” Kanchev said.