The Black Sea lies between the Mediterranean Ocean and Western Asia, many of the famous rivers from Eastern Europe flow into its waters, including: Dniester, Danube, Rioni and the Dnieper. It has a total area of nearly 170,000 square miles and the longest extent of the sea is from east to west and measures 730 miles. To the east are the Caucasus mountains and the Pontic mountains to the south, and the sea drains into the Mediterranean and then the Atlantic. Countries that surround the Black Sea are: Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Russia and Bulgaria. The Black Sea is steeped in culture and the history that combines from all the peoples living next to it waters, for many centuries it has been a vital route for trade between Europe and Asia.
The Inhospitable Sea
The Black Sea was originally name Pontus Exinus which is Latin for Inhospitable Sea, and the first major race to conquer the sea and to colonise the land around it where the Ancient Greeks. During the Roman Empire and Byzantine times, most of their commercial enterprises centred on this important piece of water. But when the Ottoman Turks arrived in Constantinople, they more or less forced everybody else from its waters.
This region is deep in history some more fiction than fact, Jason and the Argonauts went in search of the Golden Fleece on the Black Sea, and the biblical events of Noah’s Ark was also centred upon the Inhospitable Sea. Historical names of great cities where many glorious deeds to place abound on the shores of the Black Sea. Constantinople, Sevastopol, Troy, Istanbul, Odessa, and Yalta are just a few of the names that have made this region of Europe and Asia famous.
As could be expected with the numerous nations lining on its banks, the Black Sea area has seen its fair share of conflict through the ages. From the start with the Crusades to most recently with Russia, it has been the witness to both political and religious upheaval. Yet even though there has been so much turmoil, the peoples of the Black Sea area have endured and prevailed. Today’s hotchpotch of cultures, religions and languages have all been forged from past events.
Today’s Black Sea
In the new millennium the Black Sea peoples expect a great deal from their beloved area, still a thriving trading region it still has major ports dotted around its coastline. It provides it peoples with major commercial fisheries, tourists in their thousands visiting the superb beaches, a diversity of marine life and memories of the rich historical past. The six major countries that actually now make up the Black Sea region are: Ukraine to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the west, Turkey on the south, and Russia and Georgia to the east. Each of these famous regions have their own rich cultures and histories that should be explored if you really want to understand this region properly.
The Black Sea region has always been the centre of unrest, its geographical position makes it so. But the peoples of this ancient area bring their own character to each and every region, which makes it a most colourful part of the world.