All About Turkey

Seas of Turkey

Black Sea

Black Sea (Karadeniz in Turkish) lies to the north of Turkey, bordering with two regions; Marmara and Black Sea. Besides Turkey, other countries that circle the Black Sea are; Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. It's connected to the Sea of Marmara with the Bosphorus Strait in the southwest. Some of the important ports on the Black Sea are; Istanbul, Trabzon, Samsun, Sinop, Burgas, Varna, Constanza, Yalta, Odessa, Sevastopol, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Sochi, Sukhumi, Poti, and Batumi.

Black Sea is an inland sea covering an area of about 420 thousand square kilometers reaching at 2206 meters in its deepest point. Below 200 meters the oxygen level in the water is very low so marine life is very limited below this depth. Most known fish they catch in the Black Sea are; Black Sea turbot, gurnard, and small sharks.

Its waters are warm in the summer, very cold in the winter. Its salinity is around 0,18% because of a constant inflow of fresh water from rivers surrounding it, the excess water flows on the surface through the Bosphorus meanwhile the warm and salty waters of the Mediterranean reach the Black Sea with deep water currents, maintaining the stratification and salinity levels. The most important rivers flowing into the Black Sea are Danube from north east, Kizilirmak, Sakarya and Yesilirmak from Anatolia in the south.

Black Sea is one of the youngest seas on the Earth, its used to be a big fresh water lake some 8000 years ago. The name is probably derived from the color of its deep waters.

Sea of Marmara

Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi in Turkish) is an inland sea within the Marmara region connecting to the Black Sea with the Bosphorus Strait in the northeast, and to the Aegean with the Dardanelles Strait in the southwest. It lies between Thrace and Anatolia parts of Turkey, covering an area of over 11thousand square kilometers. It is approximately 280 km long from northeast to southwest and about 80 km wide at its greatest width. Its maximum depth reaches 1355 meters near the center.

There are many marble sources on its islands which gave its name to the Sea; marble is Marmaros in Greek and Mermer in Turkish. Some of the main islands in the Sea of Marmara are; Avsa, Marmara, Imrali, and Princes Islands near Istanbul (Buyukada, Heybeli, Burgaz, Kinali, and Sedef).

The salinity level is little bit over that of the Black Sea, but much less than the oceans. However, sea-bottom waters are much more saline almost as of the Mediterranean, but like in the Black Sea these two layers do not get combined.

Aegean Sea

Aegean Sea (Ege Denizi in Turkish) is a part of Mediterranean Sea lying between Turkey and Greece. There is Mediterranean Sea to the south, Greek Peninsula to the west, Anatolia and part of Thrace to the east. It's connected to the Sea of Marmara by Dardanelles Strait to the northeast. It covers an area of 214thousand square kilometers, stretching for about 660 kilometers from north to south, and reaching at a maximum depth of 3543 meters. Tides are very limited in the Aegean Sea.

Aegean Sea gave its name to the Aegean region and shows a typical Mediterranean climate characteristics; summers are dry and winters are rainy but not much cold. The water temperature during summer months reaches 23-24 degrees Celsius, and usually northern part of the Sea is a little bit cooler than its southern part. In contrary, northern part is abundant about the fish than its southern part.

There were many ancient civilizations who settled on its shores in the past, such as Minoans, Mycenaean, Trojans, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Ottomans and so on. It's said that its name is coming either from Aegea, an Amazonian queen who died in the sea, or from Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea.

There are approximately 3000 big and small islands in the Aegean Sea, most of them belong to Greece today. Some of the most famous Greek islands in the Aegean are; Crete, Rhodes, Lesbos, Chios, Santorini, Mykonos, Patmos, Delos, Paros, Kos, Symi, Samos and so on. Turkey has very few small islands and only two mid-size islands in front of the Dardanelles; Bozcaada and Gokceada. Because of this high concentration of islands and rockies, there are also many gulfs and bays in the Aegean which attracts many people for sailing in this crystal clear waters.

Aegean Sea and some of the Aegean islands brought several controversial issues between Turkey and Greece, both NATO countries, regarding mostly sovereignty and related rights in the area. Relations between Turkey and Greece were very sour between 1970's and mid 1990's because of these disputes on territorial waters, national airspace and FIR lines, military flights, demilitarization of some of the islands, and islets that had an unknown status of sovereignty. But in the last 10 years both countries are working hard to improve bilateral relations reducing tensions and holding diplomatic lines always open.

Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea (Akdeniz in Turkish) is surrounded by Asia to the east, Europe to the north and Africa to the south. It's connected to the Atlantic Ocean to the west with Gibraltar Strait. It's also connected to the Red Sea in the southeast with the Suez Canal in Egypt, a man-made canal built in 1869. And to the east it's connected to the Sea of Marmara by Dardanelles Strait. Aegean and Marmara Seas are often considered as a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The sea gave also its name to the Mediterranean region of Turkey.

Mediterranean covers about 2,5million square kilometers, its shores were home to many ancient civilizations in the history, such as Phoenicians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Lycians, Arabs, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, Ottomans and so on. The name comes from Latin; Medi means middle, Terra means land or place. The Romans called it Mare Nostrum, Our Sea. In Turkish it's called Akdeniz, White Sea.

There aren't much tides in the Mediterranean because of its narrow connection with the Atlantic. The average depth is about 1500 meters and the deepest point reaches at 5267 meters. The coastline is approximately 46,000 kilometers long.

Countries that border with the Mediterranean are;

In Europe, from west to east; Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and European shores of Turkey.

In Asia, from north to south; Asian shores of Turkey, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt.

In Africa, from east to west; Egypt, Libya, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco.

Biggest islands in the Mediterranean are; Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes, Lesbos, Chios, Corfu in the eastern Mediterranean; Sardegna, Corsica, Sicily, Malta in the central Mediterranean; Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca in the western Mediterranean.

All About Turkey © Burak Sansal 1996–2014, a certified professional tour guide in Turkey. Contact Burak at buraksan@superonline.com for all kinds of regular and/or private travel services throughout the country.