Sea of Marmara

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Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara map.png
Map of the Sea of Marmara
LocationEurope and Asia
Coordinates 40°41′12″N28°19′7″E / 40.68667°N 28.31861°E / 40.68667; 28.31861 Coordinates: 40°41′12″N28°19′7″E / 40.68667°N 28.31861°E / 40.68667; 28.31861
Type Inland Sea
Native nameMarmara Denizi
Primary inflows Simav River, Biga Çayı, Nilüfer River
Primary outflows Turkish Straits
Catchment area 11,500 km2 (4,400 sq mi)
Basin  countries Turkey
Surface area11,350 km2 (4,380 sq mi)
Average depth494 m (1,621 ft)
Max. depth1,370 m (4,490 ft)
Water volume3,378 km3 (810 cu mi)
Islands Marmara Island, Avşa, İmralı, Prince Islands, Paşalimanı and Ekinlik Island
Settlements Istanbul, Bursa, İzmit, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, and Yalova
Photograph of the Sea of Marmara from space (STS-40, 1991). The sea is the light-colored body of water. STS040-610-50.jpg
Photograph of the Sea of Marmara from space (STS-40, 1991). The sea is the light-colored body of water.
This astronaut photograph highlights the metropolitan area of Izmit along the northern and eastern shores of the Sea of Marmara, at the end of the Gulf of Izmit. Gulf of Izmit, Turkey.JPG
This astronaut photograph highlights the metropolitan area of Izmit along the northern and eastern shores of the Sea of Marmara, at the end of the Gulf of Izmit.
Sea of Marmara - From the dining room of the Rakoczi exile Ebedlohaz - Rodosto, 2014.10.25 (43).JPG
Sea of Marmara – From the dining room of the Rákóczi exile

The Sea of Marmara ( /ˈmɑːrmərə/ ; Turkish : Marmara Denizi; Greek : Θάλασσα του Μαρμαρά, Ancient Greek : Προποντίς, Προποντίδα), also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis, is the inland sea, entirely within the borders of Turkey, that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean Sea. The former also separates Istanbul into its Asian and European sides. The Sea of Marmara is a small sea with an area of 11,350 km2 (4,380 sq mi), and dimensions 280 km × 80 km (174 mi × 50 mi). [1] Its greatest depth is 1,370 m (4,490 ft).



The sea takes its name from Marmara Island, which is rich in sources of marble, from the Greek μάρμᾰρον (mármaron), "marble". [2]

The sea's ancient Greek name Propontis derives from pro- (before) and pontos (sea), deriving from the fact that the Greeks sailed through it to reach the Black Sea, Pontos. In Greek mythology, a storm on Propontis brought the Argonauts back to an island they had left, precipitating a battle where either Jason or Heracles killed King Cyzicus, who mistook them for his Pelasgian enemies. [3]


The surface salinity of the sea averages about 22 parts per thousand, which is slightly greater than that of the Black Sea, but only about two-thirds that of most oceans. The water is much more saline at the sea bottom, averaging salinities of around 38 parts per thousand, similar to that of the Mediterranean Sea. This high-density saline water, like that of the Black Sea, does not migrate to the surface. Water from the Susurluk, Biga (Granicus) and Gonen Rivers also reduces the salinity of the sea, though with less influence than on the Black Sea. With little land in Thrace draining southward, almost all of these rivers flow from Anatolia.

The sea contains the archipelago of the Prince Islands and Marmara Island, Avşa and Paşalimanı.

The south coast of the sea is heavily indented, and includes the Gulf of İzmit (Turkish : İzmit Körfezi), the Gulf of Gemlik (Turkish : Gemlik Körfezi), Gulf of Bandırma (Turkish : Bandırma Körfezi) and the Gulf of Erdek (Turkish : Erdek Körfezi). During a storm on December 29, 1999, the Russian oil tanker Volgoneft broke in two in the Sea of Marmara, and more than 1,500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the water.

The North Anatolian Fault, which has triggered many major earthquakes in recent years, such as the August and November 1999 earthquakes in Izmit and Düzce, respectively, runs under the sea.


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Sea of Marmara as follows: [4]

On the West. The Dardanelles limit of the Aegean Sea [A line joining Kum Kale (26°11'E) and Cape Helles ].
On the Northeast. A line joining Cape Rumili with Cape Anatoli (41°13′N).

Towns and cities

Towns and cities on the Marmara Sea coast include:

Istanbul Province
Balıkesir Province

Bursa Province


Çanakkale Province

Kocaeli Province
İzmit (Pr. Cap)

Tekirdağ Province

Marmara Ereğli
Tekirdağ (Pr. Cap)
Yalova Province
Yalova (Pr. Cap)

See also

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Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Black Sea. It bordered Mysia to the southwest, Paphlagonia to the northeast along the Pontic coast, and Phrygia to the southeast towards the interior of Asia Minor.

Balıkesir Province Province of Turkey

Balıkesir Province is a province in northwestern Turkey with coastlines on both the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean. Its adjacent provinces are Çanakkale to the west, İzmir to the southwest, Manisa to the south, Kütahya to the southeast, and Bursa to the east. The provincial capital is Balıkesir. Most of the province lies in the Marmara Region except the southern parts of Bigadiç Edremit, Kepsut, İvrindi, Savaştepe and Sındırgı districts and ones of Ayvalık, Burhaniye, Dursunbey, Gömeç and Havran, that bound the Aegean Region. Kaz Dağı, known also as Mount Ida, is located in this province. Balıkesir province is famous for its olives, thermal spas, and clean beaches, making it an important tourist destination. The province also hosts immense deposits of kaolinite and borax, with some open-pit mines. The Kaz mountains are also threatened with the expansion of gold mining using cyanide which puts the villagers' lives, the agricultural economy, and tourism at risk.

Gönen Place in Balıkesir, Turkey

Gönen is a district of Balıkesir Province of Turkey, in the southern part of Marmara Sea. The town is mostly known for its therapeutic hot springs, leather processing and rice production.

Gulf of Saros bay in Turkey

Saros Bay or Gulf of Saros is an inlet of the northern Aegean Sea located north of the Gallipoli Peninsula in northwestern Turkey. The Archipelago of Saros is in the gulf. It consists the three small islands - The Big island, The Small island and The Little island.

Turkish Straits Bosporus and Dardanelles straits in Turkey

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Avşa island

Avşa Island or Türkeli is a Turkish island in the southern Sea of Marmara with an area of about 14 square miles. It was the classical and Byzantine Aphousia or Ophiousa (Οφιούσα) and was a place of exile during the Byzantine period.

Kocaeli Peninsula Turkish peninsula

The Kocaeli Peninsula lies in the northwest corner of Anatolia, Turkey, separating the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the Asian side of the strait of Bosphorus. Approximately one-third of Istanbul, one of the most populous cities of the world, occupies its western part, and İzmit, another big city, is at the easternmost point of the peninsula.

Kapıdağ Peninsula is a tombolo in northwestern Anatolia extending into the Sea of Marmara in Balıkesir Province, Turkey. The peninsula forms the Gulf of Bandırma on its east and the Gulf of Erdek on its west.

Armutlu Peninsula

The Armutlu Peninsula is a peninsula extending westward into Marmara Sea in the Anatolian section of Turkey. In addition to Yalova Province, parts of Kocaeli Province and Bursa Province are on the peninsula.

Greek Summer Offensive (1920)

The Greek Summer Offensive of 1920 was an offensive by the Greek army, assisted by British forces, to capture the southern region of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Region from the Kuva-yi Milliye of the provisional Turkish national movement government in Ankara. Additionally, the Greek and British forces were supported by the Kuva-yi Inzibatiye of the Ottoman government in Constantinople, which sought to crush the Turkish nationalist forces. The offensive was part of the Greco-Turkish War and was one of several engagements where British troops assisted the advancing Greek army. British troops actively took part in invading coastal towns of the Sea of Marmara. With the approval of the Allies, the Greeks started their offensive on 22 June 1920 and crossed the 'Milne Line'. The 'Milne Line' was the demarcation line between Greece and Turkey, laid down in Paris. Resistance by the Turks was limited, as they had few and ill-equipped troops in western Anatolia. They were also busy on the eastern and southern fronts. After offering some opposition, they retreated to Eskişehir on Mustafa Kemal Pasha's order.

1894 Istanbul earthquake Fatal earthquake in Turkey

The 1894 Istanbul earthquake occurred in the Çınarcık Basin or Gulf of Izmit in the Sea of Marmara on 10 July at 12:24pm. The earthquake had an estimated Ms magnitude of 7.0. At least an estimated 1,349 people were killed in towns around the Gulf of Izmit such as Yalova, Sapanca and Adapazarı, and in the nearby city of Constantinople. The main shock caused a tsunami 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) high.

Nara Burnu, formerly Nağara Burnu, in English Nagara Point, and in older sources Point Pesquies, is a headland on the Anatolian side of the Dardanelles Straits, north of Çanakkale.

1766 Istanbul earthquake Earthquake in Turkey

The 1766 Istanbul earthquake was a strong earthquake with epicenter in the eastern part of the Sea of Marmara, in the Çınarcık Basin which occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning, 22 May 1766. The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.1 on the surface wave magnitude scale, and caused effects in a vast area extending from Izmit to Tekirdağ. In this area, the earthquake was followed by a tsunami which caused significant damage. The earthquake of 1766 was the last major earthquake to rock Istanbul because of a rupture of the North Anatolian Fault in the Marmara region.


  1. "Marmara, Sea of - Dictionary definition of Marmara, Sea of - FREE online dictionary". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "A Greek-English Lexicon". Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie. Perseus. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  3. Parada, Carlos. "Greek Mythology Link". Archived from the original on February 13, 2002. Retrieved April 30, 2001.
  4. "Limits of Oceans and Seas" (PDF) (3rd ed.). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved February 7, 2010.