Phoenician replica readies for Mediterranean crossing

06 Mayıs 2009 - 12:29Son Güncelleme : 06 Mayıs 2009 - 12:31

FOCA, Turkey - A team of 20 rowers will next week aim to cross the Mediterranean Sea in a replica Phoenician-style "bireme" ship from Turkey to France.

The Kybele boat -- named after an Anatolian goddess -- will leave the Turkish village of Foca near Izmir and travel 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) to the ancient port of Marseille in southern France.

Rowers, comprising students and members of the "360 Degrees Association," will sleep on benches in the biremes wooden 20-metre-long hull and use the boats cotton sails to try and keep it moving forward.

"It’s the most precise replica of the boats from that era possible. It was built from what was found during digs," said the boats captain, archeologist Osman Erkurt.

The Kybele, whose trip has been delayed several times by visa issues and bad weather, is following the same route taken by Greek, Phoenician settlers around 600 B.C. to countries like Italy and France.

It is expected to arrive in Marseille on July 1 to coincide with the start of a Season of Turkish culture in France, the French Ambassador to Ankara, Bernard Emie, said last weekend.

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