The Black Sea, also known as the Euxine Sea, is one of the major water bodies and a famous inland sea of the world. This marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, has become legendary for a long period of time.
The Black Sea has been popular not just because of its name that denotes a rather inhospitable nature, but also due to a number of features that are surprisingly unusual.
For a long time, it has been called an inhospitable sea and the lack of hospitality of this body of water was attributed to the difficulty in navigation.
Ancient mariners regarded the Black sea as a difficult body of water to navigate since its shores were inhabited by savage tribes. In addition, the anoxic nature of the Black Seawater, due to which the process of decomposition is slow in the lower water layers, has also resulted in several scary rumours, making the sea infamous.
However, as time passed, the image of the Black Sea, as one of the most difficult water bodies to navigate, has changed. As home to the rich and beautiful collection of flora and fauna and more than ten small islands, the Black Sea has now emerged as one of the popular tourist attractions of the world.
Besides this, there are a lot of interesting facts that make the Black Sea an attraction to marine enthusiasts. Here are eight such facts about the black sea that you will find fascinating.
1. Geography and Location: Where is the Black Sea located?
Spread across an area of 436,400 km2, the Black is located in Eurasia, surrounded by Europe, Caucasus and Anatolia. The countries that share a border with the Black Sea include Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia.
This body of water is also surrounded by the Pontic, Caucasus, and Crimean Mountains in the south, east and north respectively. It is also constrained by the Strandzha mountains to the southwest and Dobrogea Plateau to the northwest.
With a maximum depth of 2,212 m, this inland sea is a meeting point of a number of rivers such as the Danube, Southern Bug, Dnieper, Rioni and Dniester.
The Black Sea connects with the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosporus Strait, and then through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. The Black sea also links with the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Crete before meeting the Mediterranean.
2. The Name: Why is the Black Sea called the Black sea?
One of the best and little known Black Sea facts is the origin of its name, which remains unclear. There are various theories as to how this sea got to be called by this particular name.
Theories suggest that before being called the Black Sea, the body of water was called as ‘‘inhospitable Sea,’ mostly because of the presence of savage tribes on its shores.
Once the Greeks took over its shorelines, the name was changed to “hospitable.” There are also references saying that the sea was called ‘the Sea’ for a quite long time.
However, this sea has been given many names over the centuries by different people but this particular name happens to be the most famous one, believed to be given by the Turkish in medieval times.
Historical documents suggest that, during the Ottoman Empire period, the Black Sea was called names such as Bahr-e Siyah or Karadeniz, which means “the Black Sea” in Ottoman Turkish.
There are more hypotheses suggesting several reasons behind the origin of the Black Sea’s name. According to one argument, storms during the winter make the water in the Black sea appear black, leading the sailors to call it the Black Sea.
Another theory suggested that the objects that drown in the water get black sludge covering after a period of time. The discovery of such items across the sea may have become a reason behind its name.
3. Anoxic water: Is there any life in the Black Sea?
One of the most intriguing facts about the Black Sea is its anoxic water. Precisely, there is a significant absence of oxygen in the water.
The Black Sea happens to be the largest water body with a meromictic basin, which means the movement of water between the lower and upper layers of the sea is a rare phenomenon to find anywhere in the world.
This makes a considerable temperature difference between these layers along with making the lower layers absolute free of oxygen and hence, inactive.
At the same time, the Black sea receives freshwater from its rivers and rainfall. However, the Black Sea only witness water transfer with the Mediterranean Sea.
As the transfer takes place in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, the inflow of dense water from the Mediterranean happens at the bottom of the basin, while the outflow of Black Sea surface water takes place near the surface of the basin.
Since there is very low mixing between the two layers of the water in the Black Sea, marine life cannot survive in the anoxic zone of the Black Sea. It is only the oxygen-rich surface waters of the Black Sea are supporting marine life.
4. Maritime History: the Landing Point of Noah’s Ark?
According to a number of marine geologists, the Black Sea was a freshwater lake around 7,000 years ago before a rise of water in the Mediterranean Sea caused the entry of salt water into the lake.
In line with this theory, many argue that the so-called flood represents the catastrophic flood mentioned in the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible.
The stories claim that the ark of Noha came to rest on the slopes of Mount Ararat in Turkey once the flood ended. From time to time, marine archaeologists have argued in support and against these claims.
However, due to the lack of credible scientific evidence, this particular history of the Black Sea still remains a topic of debate.
5. Steady water level: What does it feel like to swim in the Dead Sea?
The water level in the Black Sea remains the same all the time because of the absence of any high or low tides. This gives the sea no fluctuation in the water level, keeping it as a calm, quiet and serene sea on the surface.
Interestingly, due to all these rare features of the water in the Black Sea, many wonder whether it is possible to swim in the sea.
With a clean freshwater surface, swimming in the Black Sea is possible; though offer a different experience from other water bodies.
With its strange features, including the high level of minerals and salt, normally the objects tend to float on the water.
6. Exotic Smaller islands: Terrifying snake islands?
The black sea is home to many small islands. These islands are about ten in number and are an amazing store of fauna and flora that make this sea even more unique.
These islands- mostly belonging to countries such as Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey and Romania- also includes Snake Island, which is located near the Danube Delta. St. Thomas Island in Bulgaria is also infamous for the presence of fish-eating Grey Water Snakes in the waters surrounding the island.
Other notable islands in the Black Sea include St Anastasia (Bulgaria), Berezan and Giresun (Turkey), St Cyricus (Bulgaria) and Dzharylgach (Ukraine) etc.
Most importantly, these islands in the Black Sea have become major tourist attractions, playing an important role in the economy of these countries.
7. Creepy Rumors: The dead lies beneath the water?
What seems like an intriguing and almost scary fact is that the dead are believed to persist in the waters of the Black Sea. Remains of ships and humans and other decomposable materials like ropes, wood etc. can still be found at the seabed, hundreds of years after their entry into the waters of the Black Sea.
As thrilling as this fact sounds, the scientific explanation for it is that due to the anoxic nature of the lower water layers of this sea, the process of decomposition is negligibly slow, hence, the persistence of remains of the dead inside the sea’s water.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon has led to the creation of a number of rumours about the black sea.
8. Tourist attraction: a Favourite destination for cruises?
Despite all the mystery linked to the Black Sea, the fact remains that this inland body of water happens to be a major holiday destination all year round.
With high mountains and beautiful coasts, the countries on the shores of the Black Sea become home to marine and travel enthusiasts.
In addition to its beauty, the historical and archaeological importance of the Black Sea has also welcomed a quite number of cruise ships every year to the region.
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