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What's important: you can compare and book not only Black Sea hotels and resorts, but also villas and holiday cottages, inns and B&Bs (bed and breakfast), condo hotels and apartments, timeshare properties, guest houses and pensions, campsites (campgrounds), motels and hostels on Black Sea. If you're going to Black Sea save your money and time, don't pay for the services of the greedy travel agencies. Instead, book the best hotel on Black Sea online, buy the cheapest airline tickets to Black Sea, and rent a car on Black Sea right now, paying the lowest price! Besides, here you can buy the Black Sea related books, guidebooks, souvenirs and other goods.

By the way, we would recommend you to combine your visit to Black Sea with other popular and interesting places of Russia, for example: Stary Oskol, Caucasian Mineral Waters, Yaroslavl, Pereslavl Zalessky, Vologda, Altai Republic, Kabardinka, Yakornaya Shchel, Khosta, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Odintsovo, Alupka, Sakhalin, Kursk, Oryol, Kaluga, Tver, Nalchik, Utes, Yekaterinburg, Biysk, Komsomolsk on Amur, Anadyr, Vladikavkaz, Miass, Curonian Spit, Kirov, Tarusa, Maykop, Volga, Bryansk, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnaya Polyana, Nebug, Black Sea, Olginka, Vladimir, Listvyanka, Kerch, Vnukovo International Airport, Abzakovo, Yoshkar-Ola, Stavropol, Loo, Zavidovo, Smolensk, Arkhipo Osipovka, Partenit, Samara, Yelets, Armavir, Matsesta, Yakutsk, Salekhard, Plyos, Gurzuf, Tyumen, Gorno-Altaysk, Kostroma, Pyatigorsk, Belokurikha, Naberezhnye Chelny, Zvenigorod, Koktebel, Yakhroma, Kolomna, Nizhnevartovsk, Tobolsk, Vorkuta, Pervouralsk, Penza, Irkutsk, Valday, Syktyvkar, Makhachkala, Krasnogorsk, Chornomorske, Volgograd, Vityazevo, Saky, Karelia, Tambov, Saint Petersburg, Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Novyy Urengoy, Baltic Sea, Podolsk, Zelenogradsk, Golubitskaya, Elista, Terskol, Gatchina, Kamensk-Uralsky, Pushkino, Nizhny Novgorod, Barnaul, Korolev, Crimea, Abakan, Tula, Perm, Khanty-Mansiysk, Krasnodar Krai, Nakhodka, Sterlitamak, Kislovodsk, Popovka, Yessentuki, Domodedovo, Omsk, Dzhubga, Cherepovets, Balashikha, Pushkin, Lake Baikal, Lazarevskoye, Kemerovo, Pulkovo, Chita, Sea of Azov, Kurgan, Novorossiysk, Krasnodar, Voronezh, Sortavala, Obninsk, Bolshoy Utrish, Murom, Kyzyl, Dagomys, Siberia, Ulan-Ude, Goryachy Klyuch, Bakhchysarai, Taman, Mount Elbrus, Gelendzhik, Zhukovsky, Sochi, Saratov, Cherkessk, Adler, Ivanovo, Yevpatoria, Repino, Kudepsta, Konakovo, Kizhi, Syzran, Serpukhov, Sudak, Sheregesh, Blagoveshchensk, Tomsk, Foros, Murmansk, Usinsk, Surgut, Yalta, Khabarovsk, Sevastopol, Abrau-Dyurso, Massandra, Lake Seliger, Naryan-Mar, Gornaya Karusel, Novosibirsk, Ukhta, Vladivostok, Torzhok, Moscow, Ryazan, Velikiye Luki, Orenburg, Temryuk, Dombay, Yenisei, Balakovo, Dzerzhinsk, Chelyabinsk, Grozny, Anapa, Sergiyev Posad, Kirovsk, Ulyanovsk, Khimki, Veliky Ustyug, Estosadok, Arkhyz, Petergof, Pskov, Engels, Golden Ring, Izhevsk, Rybinsk, Koreiz, Gaspra, Petrozavodsk, Nizhny Tagil, Cheboksary, Rosa Khutor, Sheremetyevo, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Alushta, Mytishchi, Novokuznetsk, Tuapse, Arkhangelsk, Rybachye, Divnomorskoye, Feodosia, Suzdal, Yeysk, Mineralnye Vody, Volzhskiy, Kaliningrad, Khibiny, Dzhemete, Lipetsk, Simferopol, Magnitogorsk, Magadan, Krasnoyarsk, Sukko, Astrakhan, Belgorod, Solovetsky Islands, Bratsk, Veliky Novgorod, Vyborg, Valaam, Shakhty, Kazan, Orsk, Angarsk, Nizhnekamsk, Tolyatti, Svetlogorsk, Taganrog, Uglich, Saransk, Sestroretsk, Lyubertsy, Elektrostal, Dzhankhot, Kamchatka, Ufa, Novyi Svit, Simeiz, Zheleznovodsk, etc.

How to Book a Hotel on Black Sea

In order to book an accommodation on Black Sea enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Black Sea hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Black Sea map to estimate the distance from the main Black Sea attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Black Sea hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search on Black Sea is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel on Black Sea is waiting for you!

Hotels of Black Sea

A hotel on Black Sea is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on Black Sea hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on Black Sea are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Black Sea hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Black Sea hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on Black Sea have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on Black Sea
An upscale full service hotel facility on Black Sea that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Black Sea hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on Black Sea
Full service Black Sea hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on Black Sea
Boutique hotels of Black Sea are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Black Sea boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on Black Sea may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on Black Sea
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Black Sea travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Black Sea focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on Black Sea
Small to medium-sized Black Sea hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Black Sea traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Black Sea hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on Black Sea
A bed and breakfast on Black Sea is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Black Sea bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Black Sea B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on Black Sea
Black Sea hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Black Sea hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on Black Sea
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Black Sea hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on Black Sea lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on Black Sea
Black Sea timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on Black Sea often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Black Sea on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on Black Sea
A Black Sea motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Black Sea for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Black Sea motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

Why HotelsCombined

HotelsCombined is the leading hotel metasearch engine founded in 2005, with headquarters in Sydney, Australia. It is widely recognized as the world's best hotel price comparison site and has won many of the most prestigious tourism industry awards. The site operates in over 40 languages, handles 120 different currencies and aggregates more than 2 million deals from hundreds of travel sites and hotel chains. The number of users counts more than 300,000 people a year with over $1,000,000,000 in estimated total cost of hotel reservations.

The main purpose of HotelsCombined hotel price comparison service is to help the travelers in finding a perfect accommodation option on Black Sea at the best price, eliminating the need to manually analyze hundreds of hotel booking sites and thousands of price offers. Through the partnership with the most popular hotel booking websites, online travel agencies and hotel chains, HotelsCombined allows its users to search for and compare the current rates on Black Sea hotels in a single search. It also provides an aggregated summary of hotel reviews and ratings from external sites.

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Travelling and vacation on Black Sea

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This article is about the body of water. For other uses, see Black Sea (disambiguation).
Black Sea
Map of the Black Sea with bathymetry and surrounding relief.svg
Coordinates  / 44; 35  / 44; 35
Type Sea
Primary inflows Danube, Dnieper, Rioni, Southern Bug, Kızılırmak, Dniester
Primary outflows Bosphorus
Basin countries Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine
Max. length 1,175 km (730 mi)
Surface area 436,402 km (168,500 sq mi)
Average depth 1,253 m (4,111 ft)
Max. depth 2,212 m (7,257 ft)
Water volume 547,000 km (131,200 cu mi)
Islands 10+
Black Sea coast of western Georgia, with the skyline of Batumi on the horizon
Swallow's Nest in Crimea
A health resort in Sochi, Russia

The Black Sea is a body of water between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, bounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Rioni, Southern Bug, and Dniester. The Black Sea has an area of 436,400 km (168,500 sq mi) (not including the Sea of Azov), a maximum depth of 2,212 m (7,257 ft), and a volume of 547,000 km (131,000 cu mi). It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains to the south and by the Caucasus Mountains to the east, and features a wide shelf to the northwest. The longest east-west extent is about 1,175 km (730 mi).

Important cities along the coast include Batumi, Burgas, Constanța, Giresun, Istanbul, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Odessa, Ordu, Poti, Rize, Samsun, Sevastopol, Sochi, Sukhumi, Trabzon, Varna, Yalta, and Zonguldak.

The Black Sea has a positive water balance; that is, a net outflow of water 300 km (72 cu mi) per year through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea. Mediterranean water flows into the Black Sea as part of a two-way hydrological exchange. The Black Sea outflow is cooler and less saline, and floats over the warm, more saline Mediterranean inflow – as a result of differences in density caused by differences in salinity – leading to a significant anoxic layer well below the surface waters. The Black Sea drains into the Mediterranean Sea and then the Atlantic Ocean, via the Aegean Sea and various straits. The Bosphorus Strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.

The water level has varied significantly. Due to these variations in the water level in the basin, the surrounding shelf and associated aprons have sometimes been land. At certain critical water levels it is possible for connections with surrounding water bodies to become established. It is through the most active of these connective routes, the Turkish Straits, that the Black Sea joins the world ocean. When this hydrological link is not present, the Black Sea is an endorheic basin, operating independently of the global ocean system, like the Caspian Sea for example. Currently the Black Sea water level is relatively high, thus water is being exchanged with the Mediterranean. The Turkish Straits connect the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea, and comprise the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles.

Black Sea: Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Black Sea as follows:

Black Sea: Population

Most populous urban areas along the Black Sea coastline

Istanbul
Istanbul
Odessa
Odessa

Rank City Country Region/County Population (urban)


Samsun
Samsun
Varna
Varna

1 Istanbul Turkey Istanbul 14,324,240
2 Odessa Ukraine Odessa 1,003,705
3 Samsun Turkey Samsun 535,401
4 Varna Bulgaria Varna 474,076
5 Sevastopol Russia (de facto) national-level municipality on the Crimean Peninsula 379,200
6 Sochi Russia Krasnodar Krai 343,334
7 Trabzon Turkey Trabzon 305,231
8 Constanța Romania Constanța 283,872
9 Novorossiysk Russia Krasnodar Krai 241,952
10 Burgas Bulgaria Burgas 223,902
11 Batumi Georgia Adjara 190,405

Black Sea: Name

Sunset on the Black Sea at Laspi, Crimea
The estuary of the Veleka in the Black Sea. Longshore drift has deposited sediment along the shoreline which has led to the formation of a spit, Sinemorets, Bulgaria
The Black Sea near Constanţa, Romania

Black Sea: Modern names

Current names of the sea are usually equivalents of the English name "Black Sea", including these given in the countries bordering the sea:

  • Abkhaz: Amšyn Eik̢°a (Амшын Еиқәа, IPA: [ɑmʃɨn ɛjkʷʰɑ])
  • Adyghe: Xə Ṣ̂uc̣e (Хы шӏуцӏэ, IPA: [xə ʃʼəw.t͡sʼa]), Axən (Ахын)
  • Bulgarian: Cherno more (Черно море, IPA: [ˈtʃɛrno moˈrɛ])
  • Crimean Tatar: Qara deñiz (Къара денъиз, IPA: [qɑrɑ deŋiz])
  • Georgian: Shavi zghva (შავი ზღვა, IPA: [ʃɑwi zʁwɑ])
  • Laz: Uča zuɣa (უჩა ზუღა, IPA: [utʃɑ zuɣɑ]), or simply Zugha (ზუღა, "Sea")
  • Romanian: Marea Neagră (pronounced [ˈmare̯a ˈne̯aɡrə])
  • Russian: Chyornoye more (Чёрное морe, IPA: [ˈtɕɵrnəjə ˈmorʲɪ]
  • Turkish: Karadeniz (IPA: [kaˈɾadeniz])
  • Ukrainian: Chorne more (Чорне море, IPA: [ˈtʃɔrnɛ ˈmɔrɛ])

Such names have not yet been shown conclusively to predate the 12th century, but there are indications that they may be considerably older.

In Greece, the historical name "Euxine Sea", which holds a different meaning (see below), is still widely used:

  • Greek: Eúxeinos Póntos (Eύξεινος Πόντος); the literal Mavri Thalassa (Μαύρη Θάλασσα) is less common

The Black Sea is one of four seas named in English after common colour terms-the others being the Red Sea, the White Sea and the Yellow Sea.

Black Sea: Historical names

Strabo's Geographica (1.2.10) reports that in antiquity, the Black Sea was often just called "the Sea" (ὁ πόντος ho pontos). For the most part, Graeco-Roman tradition refers to the Black Sea as the "Hospitable sea", Εὔξεινος Πόντος Eúxeinos Póntos. This is a euphemism replacing an earlier "Inhospitable Sea", Πόντος Ἄξεινος Póntos Áxeinos, first attested in Pindar (c. 475 BC).

Strabo (7.3.6) thinks that the Black Sea was called "inhospitable" before Greek colonization because it was difficult to navigate, and because its shores were inhabited by savage tribes. The name was changed to "hospitable" after the Milesians had colonized the southern shoreline, the Pontus, making it part of Greek civilization.

It is also possible that the epithet Áxeinos arose by popular etymology from a Scythian word axšaina- "unlit", "dark"; the designation "Black Sea" may thus date from antiquity.

A map of Asia dating to 1570, entitled "Asiae Nova Descriptio", from Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, labels the sea Mar Maggior ("Great Sea", cf. Latin mare major).

English-language writers of the 18th century often used the name "Euxine Sea" (/ˈjksn/ or /ˈjkˌsn/) to refer to the Black Sea. Edward Gibbon, for instance, calls the sea by this name throughout The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. During the Ottoman Empire period, the Black Sea was called either Bahr-e Siyah or Karadeniz, both meaning "the Black Sea" in the Ottoman Turkish.

It is worthy to note, that in the tenth-century geography book Hudud al-'Alam, written in the Persian language by an unknown author, the Black Sea is called "Georgian Sea", "Sea of Georgians" ("daryä-yi Gurziyan").

Old Georgian sources of 9th-14th centuries ("The Georgian Chronicles") were using the name "Speris Zğua" (სპერის ზღუა), which means "The Sea of Speri", after the name of Kartvelian tribe Speris or Saspers, now in Turkey.

Black Sea: Geology and bathymetry

The bay of Sudak, Crimea

The geological origins of the basin can be traced back to two distinct relict back-arc basins which were initiated by the splitting of an Albian volcanic arc and the subduction of both the Paleo- and Neo-Tethys Oceans, but the timings of these events remain controversial. Since its initiation, compressional tectonic environments led to subsidence in the basin, interspersed with extensional phases resulting in large-scale volcanism and numerous orogenies, causing the uplift of the Greater Caucasus, Pontides, Southern Crimean Peninsula and Balkanides mountain ranges.

The ongoing collision between the Eurasian and African plates and westward escape of the Anatolian block along the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Faults dictates the current tectonic regime, which features enhanced subsidence in the Black Sea basin and significant volcanic activity in the Anatolian region. It is these geological mechanisms which, in the long term, have caused the periodic isolations of the Black Sea from the rest of the global ocean system.

The modern basin is divided into two sub-basins by a convexity extending south from the Crimean Peninsula. The large shelf to the north of the basin is up to 190 km (120 mi) wide, and features a shallow apron with gradients between 1:40 and 1:1000. The southern edge around Turkey and the eastern edge around Georgia, however, are typified by a narrow shelf that rarely exceeds 20 km (12 mi) in width and a steep apron that is typically 1:40 gradient with numerous submarine canyons and channel extensions. The Euxine abyssal plain in the centre of the Black Sea reaches a maximum depth of 2,212 metres (7,257.22 feet) just south of Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula.

The littoral zone of the Black Sea is often referred to as the Pontic littoral or Pontic zone.

The area surrounding the Black Sea is commonly referred to as the Black Sea Region. Its northern part lies within the Chernozem belt (black soil belt) which goes from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain) and southern Romania (Wallachian Plain)) to northeast Ukraine and further across the Central Black Earth Region and southern Russia into Siberia.

Black Sea: Hydrology

This SeaWiFS view reveals the colourful interplay of currents on the sea's surface

The Black Sea is a marginal sea and is the world's largest body of water with a meromictic basin. The deep waters do not mix with the upper layers of water that receive oxygen from the atmosphere. As a result, over 90% of the deeper Black Sea volume is anoxic water. The Black Sea's circulation patterns are primarily controlled by basin topography and fluvial inputs, which result in a strongly stratified vertical structure. Because of the extreme stratification, it is classified as a salt wedge estuary.

The Black Sea only experiences water transfer with the Mediterranean Sea, so all inflow and outflow occurs in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Inflow from the Mediterranean has a higher salinity and density than the outflow, creating the classical estuarine circulation. This means that inflow of dense water from Mediterranean occurs at the bottom of the basin while outflow of fresher Black Sea surface-water into the Marmara Sea occurs near the surface. Fresher surface water is the product of the fluvial inputs, and this makes the Black Sea a positive sea. The net input of freshwater creates an outflow volume about twice that of the inflow. Evaporation and precipitation are roughly equal at about 300 cubic kilometres per year (72 cu mi/a).

Because of the narrowness and shallowness of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles (their respective depths are only 33 and 70 meters), inflow and outflow current speeds are high and there is significant vertical shear. This allows for turbulent mixing of the two layers. Surface water leaves the Black Sea with a salinity of 17 psu and reaches the Mediterranean with a salinity of 34 psu. Likewise, inflow of the Mediterranean with salinity 38.5 psu experiences a decrease to about 34 psu.

Mean surface circulation is cyclonic and waters around the perimeter of the Black Sea circulate in a basin-wide shelfbreak gyre known as the Rim Current. The Rim Current has a maximum velocity of about 50–100 cm/s. Within this feature, two smaller cyclonic gyres operate, occupying the eastern and western sectors of the basin. The Eastern and Western Gyres are well-organized systems in the winter but dissipate into a series of interconnected eddies in the summer and autumn. Mesoscale activity in the peripheral flow becomes more pronounced during these warmer seasons and is subject to interannual variability.

Outside of the Rim Current, numerous quasi-permanent coastal eddies are formed as a result of upwelling around the coastal apron and "wind curl" mechanisms. The intra-annual strength of these features is controlled by seasonal atmospheric and fluvial variations. During the spring, the Batumi eddy forms in the southeastern corner of the sea.

Beneath the surface waters-from about 50–100 meters-there exists a halocline that stops at the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL). This layer is composed of cool, salty surface waters, which are the result of localized atmospheric cooling and decreased fluvial input during the winter months. It is the remnant of the winter surface mixed layer. The base of the CIL is marked by a major pycnocline at about 100–200 metres (330–660 ft) and this density disparity is the major mechanism for isolation of the deep water.

Below the pycnocline is the Deep Water mass, where salinity increases to 22.3 psu and temperatures rise to around 8.9 °C. The hydrochemical environment shifts from oxygenated to anoxic, as bacterial decomposition of sunken biomass utilizes all of the free oxygen. Weak geothermal heating and long residence time create a very thick convective bottom layer.

Black Sea: Hydrochemistry

Because of the anoxic water at depth, organic matter, including anthropogenic artifacts such as boat hulls, are well preserved. During periods of high surface productivity, short-lived algal blooms form organic rich layers known as sapropels. Scientists have reported an annual phytoplankton bloom that can be seen in many NASA images of the region. As a result of these characteristics the Black Sea has gained interest from the field of marine archaeology as ancient shipwrecks in excellent states of preservation have been discovered, such as the Byzantine wreck Sinop D, located in the anoxic layer off the coast of Sinop, Turkey.

Modelling shows the release of the hydrogen sulphide clouds in the event of an asteroid impact into the Black Sea would pose a threat to health-or even life-for people living on the Black Sea coast.

There have been isolated reports of flares on the Black Sea occurring during thunderstorms, possibly caused by lightning igniting combustible gas seeping up from the sea depths.

Black Sea: Ecology

Black Sea: Marine

See also: List of fish of the Black Sea
The port of Poti, Georgia

The Black Sea supports an active and dynamic marine ecosystem, dominated by species suited to the brackish, nutrient-rich, conditions. As with all marine food webs, the Black Sea features a range of trophic groups, with autotrophic algae, including diatoms and dinoflagellates, acting as primary producers. The fluvial systems draining Eurasia and central Europe introduce large volumes of sediment and dissolved nutrients into the Black Sea, but distribution of these nutrients is controlled by the degree of physiochemical stratification, which is, in turn, dictated by seasonal physiographic development.

During winter, strong wind promotes convective overturning and upwelling of nutrients, while high summer temperatures result in a marked vertical stratification and a warm, shallow mixed layer. Day length and insolation intensity also controls the extent of the photic zone. Subsurface productivity is limited by nutrient availability, as the anoxic bottom waters act as a sink for reduced nitrate, in the form of ammonia. The benthic zone also plays an important role in Black Sea nutrient cycling, as chemosynthetic organisms and anoxic geochemical pathways recycle nutrients which can be upwelled to the photic zone, enhancing productivity.

Black Sea: Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton blooms and plumes of sediment form the bright blue swirls that ring the Black Sea in this 2004 image

The main phytoplankton groups present in the Black Sea are dinoflagellates, diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria. Generally, the annual cycle of phytoplankton development comprises significant diatom and dinoflagellate-dominated spring production, followed by a weaker mixed assemblage of community development below the seasonal thermocline during summer months and a surface-intensified autumn production. This pattern of productivity is also augmented by an Emiliania huxleyi bloom during the late spring and summer months.

  • Dinoflagellates
  • Diatoms
  • Coccolithophores
  • Cyanobacteria

Black Sea: Endemic animal species

  • Zebra mussel
  • Common Carp
  • Round Goby
  • Marine Mammals and marine megafaunas

Black Sea: Ecological effects of pollution

Since the 1960s, rapid industrial expansion along the Black Sea coast line and the construction of a major dam has significantly increased annual variability in the N:P:Si ratio in the basin. In coastal areas, the biological effect of these changes has been an increase in the frequency of monospecific phytoplankton blooms, with diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 2.5 and non-diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 6. The non-diatoms, such as the prymnesiophytes Emiliania huxleyi (coccolithophore), Chromulina sp., and the Euglenophyte Eutreptia lanowii are able to out-compete diatom species because of the limited availability of Si, a necessary constituent of diatom frustules. As a consequence of these blooms, benthic macrophyte populations were deprived of light, while anoxia caused mass mortality in marine animals.

The decline in macrophytes was further compounded by overfishing during the 1970s, while the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis reduced the biomass of copepods and other zooplankton in the late 1980s. Additionally, an alien species-the warty comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi)-was able to establish itself in the basin, exploding from a few individuals to an estimated biomass of one billion metric tons. The change in species composition in Black Sea waters also has consequences for hydrochemistry, as Ca-producing coccolithophores influence salinity and pH, although these ramifications have yet to be fully quantified. In central Black Sea waters, Si levels were also significantly reduced, due to a decrease in the flux of Si associated with advection across isopycnal surfaces. This phenomenon demonstrates the potential for localised alterations in Black Sea nutrient input to have basin-wide effects.

Pollution reduction and regulation efforts have led to a partial recovery of the Black Sea ecosystem during the 1990s, and an EU monitoring exercise, 'EROS21', revealed decreased N and P values, relative to the 1989 peak. Recently, scientists have noted signs of ecological recovery, in part due to the construction of new sewage treatment plants in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in connection with membership in the European Union. Mnemiopsis leidyi populations have been checked with the arrival of another alien species which feeds on them.

Black Sea: Terrestrial

Statues of a man and a tiger, on the way to Mount Akhun.

In the past, the range of the Asiatic lion extended from South Asia to the Balkans, possibly up to the Danube. Places like Turkey and the Trans-Caucasus were in this range. The Caspian tiger occurred in eastern Turkey and the Caucasus, at least. The lyuti zver (Old Russian for "fierce animal") that was encountered by Vladimir II Monomakh, Velikiy Kniaz of Kievan Rus' (which ranged to the Black Sea in the south), may have been a tiger or leopard, rather than a wolf or lynx, due to the way it behaved towards him and his horse.

Black Sea: Climate

The ice on the Gulf of Odessa

Short-term climatic variation in the Black Sea region is significantly influenced by the operation of the North Atlantic Oscillation, the climatic mechanisms resulting from the interaction between the north Atlantic and mid-latitude air masses. While the exact mechanisms causing the North Atlantic Oscillation remain unclear, it is thought the climate conditions established in western Europe mediate the heat and precipitation fluxes reaching Central Europe and Eurasia, regulating the formation of winter cyclones, which are largely responsible for regional precipitation inputs and influence Mediterranean Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's).

The relative strength of these systems also limits the amount of cold air arriving from northern regions during winter. Other influencing factors include the regional topography, as depressions and storms systems arriving from the Mediterranean are funneled through the low land around the Bosphorus, Pontic and Caucasus mountain ranges acting as wave guides, limiting the speed and paths of cyclones passing through the region.

Black Sea: History

Black Sea: Mediterranean connection during the Holocene

The Bosphorus, taken from the International Space Station
Map of the Dardanelles

The Black Sea is connected to the World Ocean by a chain of two shallow straits, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is 55 m (180 ft) deep and the Bosphorus is as shallow as 36 m (118 ft). By comparison, at the height of the last ice age, sea levels were more than 100 m (330 ft) lower than they are now.

There is also evidence that water levels in the Black Sea were considerably lower at some point during the post-glacial period. Some researchers theorize that the Black Sea had been a landlocked freshwater lake (at least in upper layers) during the last glaciation and for some time after.

In the aftermath of the last glacial period, water levels in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea rose independently until they were high enough to exchange water. The exact timeline of this development is still subject to debate. One possibility is that the Black Sea filled first, with excess fresh water flowing over the Bosphorus sill and eventually into the Mediterranean Sea. There are also catastrophic scenarios, such as the "Black Sea deluge theory" put forward by William Ryan, Walter Pitman and Petko Dimitrov.

Black Sea: Deluge hypothesis

Main article: Black Sea deluge hypothesis

The Black Sea deluge is a hypothesized catastrophic rise in the level of the Black Sea circa 5600 BC due to waters from the Mediterranean Sea breaching a sill in the Bosporus Strait. The hypothesis was headlined when The New York Times published it in December 1996, shortly before it was published in an academic journal. While it is agreed that the sequence of events described did occur, there is debate over the suddenness, dating and magnitude of the events. Relevant to the hypothesis is that its description has led some to connect this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.

Black Sea: Recorded history

A medieval map of the Black Sea by Diogo Homem.
Greek colonies (8th-3rd century BCE) of the Black Sea (Euxine, or "hospitable" sea).

The Black Sea was a busy waterway on the crossroads of the ancient world: the Balkans to the west, the Eurasian steppes to the north, Caucasus and Central Asia to the east, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the south, and Greece to the south-west.

The oldest processed gold in the world was found in Varna, and the Black Sea was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis, (now Georgia), marked for the Greeks the edge of the known world.

The steppes to the north of the Black Sea have been suggested as the original homeland (Urheimat) of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, (PIE) the progenitor of the Indo-European language family, by some scholars such as Marija Gimbutas; others move the heartland further east towards the Caspian Sea, yet others to Anatolia.

The Black Sea became an Ottoman Navy lake within five years of Genoa losing the Crimea in 1479, after which the only Western merchant vessels to sail its waters were those of Venice's old rival Ragusa. This restriction was gradually changed by the Russian Navy from 1783 until the relaxation of export controls in 1789 because of the French Revolution.

The Black Sea was a significant naval theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II.

Black Sea: Archaeology

Ivan Aivazovsky. Black Sea Fleet in the Bay of Theodosia, just before the Crimean War

Ancient trade routes in the region are currently being extensively studied by scientists, as the Black Sea was sailed by Hittites, Carians, Colchians Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Varangians, Crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Lithuanians, Georgians, Poles, Tatars, Ottomans, and Russians.

Perhaps the most promising areas in deepwater archaeology are the quest for submerged prehistoric settlements in the continental shelf and for ancient shipwrecks in the anoxic zone, which are expected to be exceptionally well preserved due to the absence of oxygen. This concentration of historical powers, combined with the preservative qualities of the deep anoxic waters of the Black Sea, has attracted increased interest from marine archaeologists who have begun to discover a large number of ancient ships and organic remains in a high state of preservation.

Black Sea: Modern use

Yalta, Crimea
Amasra, Turkey, is located on a small island in the Black Sea

Black Sea: Commercial and civic use

According to NATO, the Black sea is a strategic corridor that provides smuggling channels for moving legal and illegal goods including drugs, radioactive materials, and counterfeit goods that can be used to finance terrorism.

Black Sea: Ports and ferry terminals

According to the International Transport Workers' Federation 2013 study, there were at least 30 operating merchant seaports in the Black Sea (including at least 12 in Ukraine).

Black Sea: Merchant fleet and traffic

According to the International Transport Workers' Federation 2013 study, there were around 2,400 commercial vessels operating in the Black Sea.

Black Sea: Fishing

Anchovy: the Turkish commercial fishing fleet catches around 300,000 tons per year on average, and fishery carried out mainly in winter and the highest portion of the stock is caught between November and December.

Black Sea: Hydrocarbons exploration

Since the 1980s, the Soviet Union started offshore drilling for petroleum in the sea's western portion (adjoining Ukraine's coast). The independent Ukraine continued and intensified that effort within its exclusive economic zone, inviting major international oil companies for exploration. Discovery of the new, massive oilfields in the area stimulated an influx of foreign investments. It also provoked a short-term peaceful territorial dispute with Romania which was resolved in 2011 by an international court redefining the exclusive economic zones between the two countries.

Black Sea: Holiday resorts and spas

Cities of the Black Sea

In the years following the end of the Cold War, the popularity of the Black Sea as a tourist destination steadily increased. Tourism at Black Sea resorts became one of the region's growth industries. The following is a list of notable Black Sea resort towns:

  • 2 Mai (Romania)
  • Agigea (Romania)
  • Ahtopol (Bulgaria)
  • Amasra (Turkey)
  • Anaklia (Georgia)
  • Anapa (Russia)
  • Albena (Bulgaria)
  • Alupka (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Alushta (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Balchik (Bulgaria)
  • Batumi (Georgia)
  • Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • Byala (Bulgaria)
  • Cap Aurora (Romania)
  • Chakvi (Georgia)
  • Constantine and Helena (Bulgaria)
  • Constanța (Romania)
  • Corbu (Romania)
  • Costineşti (Romania)
  • Eforie (Romania)
  • Emona (Bulgaria)
  • Eupatoria (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Foros (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Feodosiya (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Giresun (Turkey)
  • Gagra (Abkhazia, Georgia)
  • Gelendzhik (Russia)
  • Golden Sands (Bulgaria)
  • Gonio (Georgia)
  • Gurzuf (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Hopa (Artvin, Turkey)
  • Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Jupiter (Romania)
  • Kamchia (Bulgaria)
  • Kavarna (Bulgaria)
  • Kiten (Bulgaria)
  • Kobuleti (Georgia)
  • Koktebel (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Lozenetz (Bulgaria)
  • Mamaia (Romania)
  • Mangalia (Romania)
  • Năvodari (Romania)
  • Neptun (Romania)
  • Nesebar (Bulgaria)
  • Novorossiysk (Russia)
  • Ordu (Turkey)
  • Obzor (Bulgaria)
  • Odessa (Ukraine)
  • Olimp (Romania)
  • Pitsunda (Abkhazia, Georgia)
  • Pomorie (Bulgaria)
  • Primorsko (Bulgaria)
  • Rize (Turkey)
  • Rusalka (Bulgaria)
  • Samsun (Turkey)
  • Saturn (Romania)
  • Sinop (Turkey)
  • Sochi (Russia)
  • Sozopol (Bulgaria)
  • Sudak (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Skadovsk (Ukraine)
  • Sulina (Romania)
  • Sunny Beach (Bulgaria)
  • Şile (Turkey)
  • Sveti Vlas (Bulgaria)
  • Trabzon (Turkey)
  • Tsikhisdziri (Georgia)
  • Tuapse (Russia)
  • Ureki (Georgia)
  • Vama Veche (Romania)
  • Varna (Bulgaria)
  • Venus (Romania)
  • Yalta (Crimea, Russia/Ukraine (disputed))
  • Zonguldak (Turkey)
Soviet frigate Bezzavetny (right) bumping the USS Yorktown during the 1988 Black Sea bumping incident.
Ukrainian Navy artillery boat U170 in the Bay of Sevastopol

Black Sea: Modern military use

Black Sea: International and military use of the Straits

The 1936 Montreux Convention provides for a free passage of civilian ships between the international waters of the Black and the Mediterranean Seas. However, a single country (Turkey) has a complete control over the straits connecting the two seas. The 1982 amendments to the Montreux Convention allow Turkey to close the Straits at its discretion in both wartime and peacetime.

The 1936 Montreux Convention governs the passage of vessels between the Black and the Mediterranean Seas and the presence of military vessels belonging to non-littoral states in the Black Sea waters.

Black Sea: Trans-sea cooperation

Main articles: Black Sea Euroregion, Superior Prut and Lower Danube, Black Sea Games, and Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation

Black Sea: See also

  • 1927 Crimean earthquakes
  • Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks
  • Anoxic event
  • Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
  • Caucasian Riviera
  • Internationalization of the Danube River
  • Karadeniz Technical University
  • Kuma–Manych Depression
  • Mount Akhun
  • Romanian Black Sea resorts

Black Sea: Notes

  1. Abkhazia has been a de facto independent republic since 1992, although remains a de jure autonomous republic of Georgia.

Black Sea: References

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  56. Lamy, F., Arz, H. W., Bond, G. C., Barh, A. and Pätzold, J. (2006). "Multicentennial-scale hydrological changes in the Black Sea and northern Red Sea during the Holocene and the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation" (PDF). Paleoceanography. 21. Bibcode:2006PalOc..21.1008L. doi:10.1029/2005PA001184. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 15, 2012.
  57. "Spatial and temporal analysis of annual rainfall variations in Turkey". International Journal of Climatology. 16: 1057–1076. Bibcode:1996IJCli..16.1057T. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0088(199609)16:9<1057::AID-JOC75>3.3.CO;2-4.
  58. Cullen, H. M.; A. Kaplan; et al. (2002). "Impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation on Middle Eastern climate and streamflow" (PDF). Climatic Change. 55 (3): 315–338. doi:10.1023/A:1020518305517.
  59. Ozsoy, E. & U. Unluata (1997). "Oceanography of the Black Sea: A review of some recent results". Earth-Science Reviews. 42 (4): 231–272. Bibcode:1997ESRv...42..231O. doi:10.1016/S0012-8252(97)81859-4.
  60. Brody, L. R., Nestor, M.J.R. (1980). Regional Forecasting Aids for the Mediterranean Basin. Handbook for Forecasters in the Mediterranean, Naval Research Laboratory. Part 2.
  61. Wilford, John Noble (17 December 1996). "Geologists Link Black Sea Deluge To Farming's Rise". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  62. William Ryan & Walter Pitman (1998). Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History. New York: ISBN 0-684-85920-3.
  63. David Nicolle (1989). The Venetian Empire 1200-1670. ISBN 978-0-85045-899-2.
  64. Bruce McGowan. Economic Life in Ottoman Europe: Taxation, Trade and the Struggle for Land, 1600-1800, Studies in Modern Capitalism. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-521-13536-8.
  65. "Black Sea Security". NATO Advanced Research Workshop. NATO. 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
  66. "Черное море признано одним из самых неблагоприятных мест для моряков". International Transport Workers' Federation. BlackSeaNews. May 27, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  67. Turkish Black Sea Acoustic Surveys: Winter distribution of anchovy along the Turkish coast Serdar SAKINAN. Middle East Technical University - Institute of Marine Sciences
  68. "Bulgarian Sea Resorts". Retrieved February 2, 2007.
  69. "Montreaux and The Bosphorus Problem" (in Turkish).
  70. "Montreaux Convention and Turkey (pdf)" (PDF).

Black Sea: Bibliography

  • Stella Ghervas, "Odessa et les confins de l'Europe: un éclairage historique", in Stella Ghervas et François Rosset (ed), Lieux d'Europe. Mythes et limites, Paris, Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2008. Buy book ISBN 978-2-7351-1182-4
  • Charles King, The Black Sea: A History, 2004, Buy book ISBN 0-19-924161-9
  • William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah's Flood, 1999, Buy book ISBN 0-684-85920-3
  • Neal Ascherson, Black Sea (Vintage 1996), Buy book ISBN 0-09-959371-8
  • Rüdiger Schmitt, "Considerations on the Name of the Black Sea", in: Hellas und der griechische Osten (Saarbrücken 1996), pp. 219–224
  • West, Stephanie (2003). ‘The Most Marvellous of All Seas’: the Greek Encounter with the Euxine. 50. Greece & Rome. pp. 151–167.
  • Petko Dimitrov; Dimitar Dimitrov (2004). THE BLACK SEA, THE FLOOD AND THE ANCIENT MYTHS. Varna. p. 91. ISBN 954-579-335-X.
  • Dimitrov, D (2010). Geology and Non-traditional resources of the Black Sea. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. p. 244. ISBN 978-3-8383-8639-3.
  • Space Monitoring of the Black Sea Coastline and Waters
  • Pictures of the Black sea coast all along the Crimean peninsula
  • China: China wants to build a "Black Sea" highway Agriculture in the Black Sea Region (BS-AGRO.COM)
  • Black Sea Environmental Internet Node
  • Black Sea Organization for Integration and Sustainable Development
  • Black Sea-Mediterranean Corridor during the last 30 ky: UNESCO IGCP 521 WG12
  • Black Sea Interactive Map
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