Aegean Sea

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 13, 2022, 8:51

The Aegean Sea, or Egeo Pelagos in Greek, is situated between the coast of Greece and Turkey (erstwhile Asia Minor) and is part of the Mediterranean Sea. The sea's total area is 214,000 square kilometres, and it is filled with over 2000 islands. The maximum depth of the sea is 3,543 metres to the east of Crete.

Some people believe that the name "Aegean" comes from Aegae, an ancient town in Greece. Or it may happen that the sea got its name after the Amazon queen Aegae or the sea-goat Aigaion. Previously, the name of the sea was Archipelago.

History of the Aegean Sea

The earliest known civilisation surrounding the Aegean Sea was the Minoan civilisation (c. 2700 - 1450 BC). The Minoan civilisation was rich in terms of culture, literature, and human development. It was followed by the Mycenaean civilisation (c. 1600 - 1100 BC). The term Aegean civilisation includes both Minoan civilisation and Mycenaean civilisation.

The Aegean islands were very wealthy, prosperous, and powerful during the Archaic era (c. 750 - 480BC), with Naxos being the most powerful and prosperous. In the 5th century BC, the Athenian hegemony turned the Aegean islands into supply stations to support Athenian ships transporting goods into various parts of the world. This pushed the islands to abject poverty.

From the times of the Greeks until today, the Aegean Sea continues to remain a prominent trade route.

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Location of the Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea is connected with the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea by the Bosphorus and Dardanelles in the north. It also connects with the Ionian Sea in its west through a strait between the Peloponnese peninsula of Crete and Greece. The Aegean islands are divided into the following seven groups:

  • Northeastern Aegean Islands
  • East Aegean Islands
  • Northern Sporades
  • Cyclades
  • Saronic Islands
  • Dodecanese
  • Crete
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The Climate Around the Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea experiences a Mediterranean climate like in Western Turkey and Greece.

Koppen Climate Classification classifies Aegean Sea weather as the hot-summer Mediterranean. Usually, the weather is characterised by drier and hotter summers and wetter and mild winters.

In summer, the area has lower temperatures than arid and semi-arid climates. In fact, the weather in the Aegean basin is highly influenced by Etesian wind.

Vital Facts About the Aegean Sea

  • In some Slavik languages, the Aegean Sea is also known as the White Sea.
  • The total depth of the sea is 11,642 feet.
  • The total length and width of the Aegean Sea are 430 miles and 250 miles, respectively.
  • The two major islands of the Aegean Sea are Bozkaada and Gockeada. Both islands are in Turkey.
  • Some prominent Aegean Sea islands include Karpathos, Kythera, Rhodes, and Crete.
  • Marine creatures like seals, whales, sea turtles, and dolphins are found in abundance in the Aegean Sea.

The Aegean Sea and islands are major tourist destinations. In Greece, 25% of income is accounted to the tourism sector. Hence, Greece and Turkey have developed luxury resorts on the coast of the Aegean Sea to attract tourists.

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FAQs on the Aegean Sea

Q.1) Where is the Aegean Sea located?

The Aegean Sea is situated between the coast of Greece and Asia Minor (presently Turkey).

Q.2) What is the origin of the term 'Aegean Sea'?

Some people believe that the name for the Aegean Sea comes from Aegae, an ancient town in Greece, or that it was named after the Amazon queen Aegae or the sea-goat Aigaion.

Q.3) How is the climate in the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea experiences a Mediterranean climate like in Western Turkey and Greece.

Q.4) Which are the major cities on the Aegean Sea coast?

The major cities on the Aegean Sea coast are Thessaloniki and Athens in Greece and Izmir in Turkey.

Q.5) Which major seas are connected with the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea is connected with the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea by the Bosphorus and Dardanelles in the north.