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About 18 km off the coast the Swedish island of Öland, in the Baltic Sea, at a depth of about 75 meters, lies one of the most beautiful shipwrecks. The low level of sediments, slow currents, brackish water, and the absence of a wood-eating worms have kept the wreck of the 16th century warship “Mars” in a remarkable condition.

Named after the Roman god of war, Mars was one of the largest battleships in the world when it was built, even larger than the famous Swedish ship Vasa. The ship was commissioned by the King of Sweden, Erik XIV, in 1563. With a length of 48 meters, and 107 guns on board, it was the leading ship of Sweden's fleet, until it was sunk during its very first naval engagement.


Photo credit: National Geographic

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