Monday, April 16, 2018

Mediterranean Sea History and Attractions


The Mediterranean Sea is a completely landlocked body of water which has one narrow exit called the Strait of Gibraltar that connects it with the Atlantic Ocean. Its name is derived from the Latin word 'mediterraneus'; “medius” meaning “middle” and “terra” meaning “Earth”. The whole words can be translated to “in the middle of the Earth”. Ancient Roman people believed that the sea was in the middle of the Earth. 

The average depth of the sea goes about 4900 feet and the deepest goes beyond the point of 17000 feet. Because of its depth, it’s only worthy enough to be named in which experts called it the Calypso deep located near Greece in the Ionian Sea. 

For millions of years, the Mediterranean Sea fascinates people and some of the most influential nations in the world originated near its shorelines. Archaeological relics found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea proved that several ancient civilizations formed near its waters. The sea has a major influence in forming these civilizations up to the modern times. Even today, the sea greatly influences the lives of more than million living in the Mediterranean region. Known for its deep blue color, the Mediterranean Sea has the most interesting facts that still fascinate experts. 

Ancient Civilizations

The Mediterranean Sea has a particular oval shape which lands on three continents – southern part of Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. The Mediterranean Sea is so vast that has two subdivisions – the Eastern and Western region. The division borders from Sicily to Tunisia and the ridge is called the “Strait of Sicily”. By that, some of the most influential and powerful nations in the world surround the Mediterranean Sea including Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey to name a few. Within these nations, the only independent countries in the Mediterranean region are Cyprus and Malta. The rest of the nations are known as the Mediterranean States. 

The calm temper of the Mediterranean Sea

As a landlocked sea, the Mediterranean Sea has unique natural phenomenon occurrence on Earth. Some of its characteristics are rarely seen in other parts of the world. The waves and tides are relatively calm compared to other places. The climate within the Mediterranean region happens to be a subtype of the subtropical climate; mostly wet, with chilling winters and hot summers.

But the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea almost never happened. Around 5.96 million years ago, the Mediterranean Sea almost dried up in an event called “Messinian salinity crisis”. The crisis was so severe that it lasted for about 63 thousand years. Then a miracle happened, the event ended when the Atlantic flooded the world during the Zanclean flood. Many can find submarine karst spring can be found in many places along the coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea. These springs released groundwater that is highly pressured and sometimes hot, which attract tourists to visit the region. 

Significant Ports around the Mediterranean Sea

Ever since time immemorial, the Mediterranean Sea played a significant role in commercial trading and diversifying cultural inheritance. Some of the countries ended up trading more than herbs and spices back during the ancient times, they shared most of their cultural heritage to some of the nations around the Mediterranean Sea. These nations took advantage of the bountiful harvest of the sea and in return keep its pristine condition as much as they can.

Significant ports on the European region includes Barcelona, Durres of Albania, Genoa, Malaga, Marseille, Monaco, Naples, Nice, Palermo, Palma of Spain, Split of Croatia, Toulon of France, Valencia, and Venice of Italy. Their counterparts in Asia are Antalya of Turkey, Latakia of Syria and Tel Aviv of Israel. Meanwhile, some of the largest and most important ports in the African regions are Alexandria of Egypt, Tripoli, Benghazi of Libya, Algiers of Algeria, Tangier of Morocco, Tunis of Tunisia, and many more. 


Despite its size, the Mediterranean Sea has high levels of endemism; experts estimated about 20% to 30% of its species. It even has more endemic species than the vast neighboring Atlantic Ocean. These species including fishes and other marine animals are not found anywhere else in the world. Some endangered species take refuge in the Mediterranean Sea, species like the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, and monk seal. It may be a surprise for some people to know that whales and dolphins do thrive in its waters. However, many scientists now considered the pilot whale and the fin whale as engendered marine animals.

Sad woes

Being a landlocked body of water, it’s both a blessing and a curse to the Mediterranean Sea. Its pristine beaches and crystal clear water are incomparable to others. But it also adds to its sad woes; with little to no escape route, anything that gets dumped into its water, stays there for years, even millennia to recover from. It’s a sad realization that most people don’t realize. Land-based activities contribute to the 80% of Mediterranean Sea’s pollution according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Along with it, the sea is being threatened by marine transport by-products and overfishing. 

Beacon of hope

Fortunately, there is still hope to save the waters and the marine animals in the Mediterranean Sea. Many people pro-actively rally against the abuse and threats of its deep blue waters. There are many conservation groups across the Mediterranean. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the most prominent groups protecting the Mediterranean Sea. 

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