The Sea of Azov (Russian: Азо́вское мо́ре, Azóvskoje móre; Ukrainian: Азо́вське мо́ре, Azóvśke móre; Crimean Tatar: Azaq deñizi, Азакъ денъизи, ازاق دﻩﯕىزى) is a sea in Eastern Europe. To the south it is linked by the narrow (about 4 km or 2.5 mi) Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea, and it is sometimes regarded as a northern extension of the Black Sea. The sea is bounded in the northwest by Ukraine, in the southeast by Russia. The Don and Kuban are the major rivers that flow into it. The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world, with the depth varying between 0.9 and 14 metres (2 ft 11 in and 45 ft 11 in). There is a constant outflow of water from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.
The sea is largely affected by the inflow of numerous rivers, which bring sand, silt, and shells, which in turn form numerous bays, limans, and narrow spits. Because of these deposits, the sea bottom is relatively smooth and flat with the depth gradually increasing toward the middle. Also, due to the river inflow, water in the sea has low salinity and a high amount of biomass (such as green algae) that affects the water colour. Abundant plankton results in unusually high fish productivity. The sea shores and spits are low; they are rich in vegetation and bird colonies.
|Sea of Azov|
Sea of Azov shoreline at Novaya Yalta, Donetsk Oblast
|Primary inflows||Don and Kuban|
|Max. length||360 km (220 mi)|
|Max. width||180 km (110 mi)|
|Surface area||39,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi)|
|Average depth||7 metres (23 ft)|
|Max. depth||14 m (46 ft)|
|Water volume||290 km3 (240×106 acre⋅ft)|
The name is likely to derive from the settlement of an area around Azov, whose name comes from the Kipchak Turkish asak or azaq ("lowlands"). A Russian folk etymology, however, instead derives it from an eponymous Cuman prince named "Azum" or "Asuf", said to have been killed defending his town in 1067. A formerly common spelling of the name in English was the Sea of Azoff, which is closer to the Russian pronunciation.
In antiquity, the sea was usually known as the Maeotis Swamp (Ancient Greek: ἡ Μαιῶτις λίμνη, ē Maiōtis límnē; Latin: Palus Maeotis) from the marshlands to its northeast. It remains unclear whether it was named for the nearby Maeotians or if that name was applied broadly to various peoples who happened to live beside it. Other names included Lake Maeotis or Maeotius (Mæotius or Mæotis Lacus); the Maeotian or Maeotic Sea (Mæotium or Mæoticum Æquor); the Cimmerian or Scythican Swamps (Cimmeriae or Scythicæ Paludes); and the Cimmerian or Bosporic Sea (Cimmericum or Bosporicum Mare). The Maeotians themselves were said by Pliny to call the sea Temarenda or Temerinda, meaning "Mother of Waters".
There are traces of Neolithic settlement in the area now covered by the sea.
In 1997, William Ryan and Walter Pitman of Columbia University published a theory that a massive flood through the Bosporus occurred in ancient times. They claim that the Black and Caspian Seas were vast freshwater lakes, but in about 5600 BC the Mediterranean spilled over a rocky sill at the Bosporus, creating the current link between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Subsequent work has been done both to support and to discredit this theory, and archaeologists still debate it. This has led some to associate this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.
The Maeotian marshes around the mouth of the Tanais River (the present-day Don) were famous in antiquity, as they served as an important check on the migration of nomadic people from the Eurasian steppelands. The Maeotians themselves lived by fishing and farming, but were avid warriors able to defend themselves against invaders. Misled by its strong currents, ancient geographers had only a vague idea of the extent of the sea, whose fresh water caused them to typically label it a "swamp" or a "lake". Herodotus (5th-century BC) judged it as large as the Black Sea, while the Pseudo-Scylax (4th-century BC) thought it about half as large. It was long thought to provide direct communication with the Arctic Ocean. Polybius (2nd-century BC) confidently expected that the strait to the Sea of Azov would close in the near future, presumably due to falling sea-levels. In the 1st-century, Strabo reckoned the distance from the Cimmerian Bosporus (the Strait of Kerch) to the mouth of the Tanais at 2200 stadia, a roughly correct figure, but did not know that its width continuously narrows.
Milesian colonization began in the 7th century BC. The Bosporan Kingdom was named for the Cimmerian Bosporus rather than for the more famous Bosporus at the other end of the Black Sea. Briefly annexed by Pontus from the late-2nd century BC, it stretched along both southern shores of the Sea of Azov from the time of Greek colonization to the end of the Roman Empire, serving as a client kingdom which exported wheat, fish, and slaves in exchange for Greek and Roman manufactures and luxuries. Its later history is uncertain, but probably the Huns overran it in the late-4th century.
The Sea of Azov was frequently the scene of military conflicts between Russia, pursuing naval expansion to the south, and the major power in the region, Turkey. During the Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700), there were two campaigns in 1695–96 to capture the then Turkish fortress of Azov defended by a garrison of 7,000. The campaigns were headed by Peter I and aimed to gain Russian access to the Sea of Azov and Black Sea. The first campaign began in the spring of 1695. The Russian army consisted of 31 thousand men and 170 cannons and included selected trained regiments and Cossacks. It reached Azov on 27–28 June and besieged it by land by 5 July. After two unsuccessful assaults on 5 August and 25 September, the siege was lifted.
The second campaign involved both ground forces and the Azov fleet, which was built in Moscow Oblast, Voronezh, Bryansk and other regions between winter 1695 and spring 1696. In April 1696, the army of 75,000 headed by Aleksei Shein moved to Azov by land and by ship via the Don River to Taganrog. In early May, they were joined by another fleet led by Peter I. On 27 May, the Russian fleet blocked Azov by sea. On 14 June, the Turkish fleet tried to break the blockade but, after losing two ships, retreated to the sea. After intensive bombardment of the fortress from land and sea, on 17 July the Russian army broke the defense lines and occupied parts of the wall. After heavy fighting, the garrison surrendered on 17 July. After the war, the Russian fleet base was moved to Taganrog and Azov, and 215 ships were built there between 1696 and 1711. In 1711, as a result of the Russo-Turkish War (1710–1711) and the Treaty of the Pruth, Azov was returned to Turkey and the Russian Azov fleet was destroyed. The city was recaptured by Russia in 1737 during the Russo-Austrian-Turkish War (1735–1739). However, as a result of the consequent Treaty of Niš, Russia was not allowed to keep the fortress and military fleet.
Another major military campaign on the Sea of Azov took place during the Crimean War of 1853–56. A naval and ground campaign pitting the allied navies of Britain and France against Russia took place between May and November 1855. The British and French forces besieged Taganrog, aiming to disrupt Russian supplies to Crimea. Capturing Taganrog would also result in an attack on Rostov, which was a strategic city for Russian support of their Caucasian operations. On 12 May 1855, the allied forces easily captured Kerch and gained access to the Sea of Azov, and on 22 May they attacked Taganrog. The attack failed and was followed by a siege. Despite the vast superiority of the allied forces (about 16,000 soldiers against fewer than 2,000), the city withstood all attempts to capture it, which ended around August 1855 with the retreat of the allied army. Individual coastal attacks continued without success and ceased in October 1855.
In December 2003, Ukraine and the Russian Federation agreed to treat the sea and the Strait of Kerch as shared internal waters.
In September 2018, Ukraine announced the intention to add navy ships and further ground forces along the coast of the Sea of Azov, with the ships based at Berdyansk. The military posturing has been exacerbated since the construction of the Crimean Bridge, which is too low to allow passage of Panamax ships into Ukraine’s port. Late that September, two Ukrainian vessels departed from the Black Sea port Odessa, passed under the Crimean Bridge, and arrived in Mariupol. Tensions increased further after the Kerch Strait incident in November 2018, when Russia seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels attempting to enter the Sea of Azov.
The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limit of the Sea of Azov in the Kertch Strait [sic] as "The limit of the Black Sea", which is itself defined as "A line joining Cape Takil and Cape Panaghia (45°02'N)".
The sea is considered an internal sea of Russia and Ukraine, and its use is governed by an agreement between these countries ratified in 2003. The sea is 360 kilometres (220 mi) long and 180 kilometres (110 mi) wide and has an area of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi); it is the smallest sea within the countries of the former Soviet Union. The main rivers flowing into it are the Don and Kuban; they ensure that the waters of the sea have comparatively low salinity and are almost fresh in places, and also bring in huge volumes of silt and sand. Accumulation of sand and shells results in a smooth and low coastline, as well as in numerous spits and sandbanks.
The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world with an average depth of 7 metres (23 ft) and maximum depth of 14 metres (46 ft); in the bays, where silt has built up, the average depth is about 1 metre (3 ft). The sea bottom is also relatively flat with the depth gradually increasing from the coast to the centre. The Sea of Azov is an internal sea with passage to the Atlantic Ocean going through the Black, Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean seas. It is connected to the Black Sea by the Strait of Kerch, which at its narrowest has a width of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and a maximum depth of 15 metres (49 ft). The narrowness of the Kerch Strait limits the water exchange with the Black Sea. As a result, the salinity of the Sea of Azov is low; in the open sea it is 10–12 psu, about one third of the salinity of the oceans; it is even lower (2–7 psu) in the Taganrog Bay at the northeast end of the Sea. The long-term variations of salinity are within a few psu and are mostly caused by changes in humidity and precipitation.
Although more than 20 rivers flow into the sea, mostly from the north, two of them, the Don and Kuban rivers, account for more than 90% of water inflow. The contribution of the Don is about twice that of the Kuban. The Kuban delta is located at the southeast, on the east side of the Kerch Strait. It is over 100 km long and covers a vast flooded area with numerous channels. Because of the spread, the delta has low contrast in satellite images, and is hardly visible in the map. The Don flows from the north into the large Taganrog Bay. The depth there varies between 2 and 9 metres, while the maximum depth is observed in the middle of the sea.
Typical values of the annual inflow and outflow of water to the sea, averaged over the period from 1923 to 1985, are as follows: river inflow 38.6 km3, precipitation 15.5 km3, evaporation 34.6 km3, inflow from the Black Sea 36–38 km3, outflow 53–55 km3. Thus, about 17 km3 of fresh water is outflowing from the Azov Sea to the Black Sea. The depth of Azov Sea is decreasing, mostly due to the river-induced deposits. Whereas the past hydrological expeditions recorded depths of up to 16 metres, more recent ones could not find places deeper than 13.5–14 metres. This might explain the variation in the maximum depths among different sources. The water level fluctuates by some 20 cm over the year due to the snow melts in spring.
The Taman Peninsula has about 25 mud volcanoes, most of which are active. Their eruptions are usually quiet, spilling out mud, and such gases as methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, but are sometimes violent and resemble regular volcanic eruptions. Some of those volcanoes are under water, near the shores of the peninsula. A major eruption on 6 September 1799, near stanitsa Golubitskaya, lasted about 2 hours and formed a mud island 100 metres in diameter and 2 metres in height; the island was then washed away by the sea. Similar eruptions occurred in 1862, 1906, 1924, 1950 and 1952.
The current vertical profile of the Sea of Azov exhibits oxygenated surface waters and anoxic bottom waters, with the anoxic waters forming in a layer 0.5 to 4 metres (1.6–13.1 ft) in thickness. The occurrence of the anoxic layer is attributed to seasonal eutrophication events associated with increased sedimentary input from the Don and Kuban Rivers. This sedimentary input stimulates biotic activity in the surface layers, in which organisms photosynthesise under aerobic conditions. Once the organisms expire, the dead organic matter sinks to the bottom of the sea where bacteria and microorganisms, using all available oxygen, consume the organic matter, leading to anoxic conditions. Studies have shown that in the Sea of Azov, the exact vertical structure is dependent on wind strength and sea surface temperature, but typically a 'stagnation zone' lies between the oxic and anoxic layers.
Many rivers flowing into the Sea of Azov form bays, lagoons and limans. The sand, silt and shells they bring are deposited in the areas of reduced flow, that is the sides of the bays, forming narrow sandbanks called spits. Typical maximum depth in the bays and limans is a few metres. Because of shallow waters and abundant rivers, the spits are remarkably long and numerous in the sea – the Arabat Spit stretches over 112 kilometres (70 mi) and is one of the world's longest spits; three other spits, Fedotov Spit, Achuevsk Spit and Obitochna Spit, are longer than 30 km. Most spits stretch from north to south and their shape can significantly change over just several years.
A remarkable feature of the Sea of Azov is the large complex of shallow lagoons called Sivash or "Rotten Sea". Their typical depth is only 0.5–1 metres with a maximum of 3 metres. They cover an area of 2,560 square kilometres (990 sq mi) in the northeastern Crimea which is separated from the sea by the Arabatsk Spit. North of the spit lies the city of Henichesk (population 22,500) and south of it is the Bay of Arabat. Sivash accepts up to 1.5 km3 of Azov water per year. Because of the lagoons' wide extent and shallowness, the water rapidly evaporates, resulting in the high salinity of 170 on the practical salinity scale (i.e. 170 psu). For this reason Sivash has long had an important salt-producing industry.
North of the Arabat Spit is the Molochna Liman with the associated Fedotov Spit (45 km long) which are formed by the Molochna River. Farther north, between the Fedotov Spit and Obytochna Spit (30 km long), lies Obytochny Bay. Further north, between Obytochna Spit and Berdyansk Spit (23 km long), is Berdyansk Bay with two cities, Berdyansk (population 112,000) and Primorsk (population 13,900). Further north again lies Belosaraysk Bay with Belosaraysk Spit, formed by the river Kalmius. The major city in the area is Mariupol (population 491,600). Then, approaching the Taganrog Bay and very close to Taganrog, are the Mius Liman and Krivaya Spit formed by the Mius River.
With an area of about 5,600 square kilometres (2,200 sq mi), Taganrog Bay is the largest bay of the Sea of Azov. It is located in the north-eastern part of the Sea and is bounded by the Belosaraysk and Dolgaya spits. The Don flows into it from the north-east. On its shores stand the two principal cities of the Sea of Azov, Taganrog (population 257,600) and Azov (population 83,200). South-east of the bay is Yeysk Liman. It lies entirely on the continent, entering the Taganrog Bay through the Yeysk and Glafirovsk Spits, and is the mouth of the Yeya River. Yeysk Spit is part of Yeysk city, which has a population of 87,500. It extends into the prominent Yeysk peninsula, which is tipped in the north-west by the Dolgaya Spit. South of it, also enclosed by the continent, lies Beisug Liman, which is restricted by the Yasensk Spit and is fed by the Beysug River. South-west of the liman, the 31 km long Achuevsk Spit runs along the coastline. Between the Achuevsk spit and Beisug Liman stands Primorsko-Akhtarsk with 32,165 inhabitants.
In the south, the Sea of Azov is connected to the Black Sea via the Strait of Kerch, which is bordered to the west by the Kerch peninsula of the Crimea and to the east by the Russian Taman peninsula in Krasnodar Krai. The city of Kerch (population 151,300) is located on the Kerch peninsula, and the Taman peninsula contains the delta of the Kuban, a major Russian river. The strait is 41 kilometres long and 4 to 15 kilometres wide. Its narrowest part lies on the Sea of Azov side, restricted by the Chushka Spit which faces southwards in consequence of the outflow from the Azov to the Black Sea.
The Strait of Kerch is spanned by the new Crimean Bridge, opened in May, 2018. This is a major geopolitical issue since shipping vessels over a certain size can not pass under the span. Since then Russia has been accused of interdicting shipping through the Kerch Strait.
The sea is relatively small and nearly surrounded by land. Therefore, its climate is continental with cold winters and hot and dry summers. In autumn and winter, the weather is affected by the Siberian Anticyclone which brings cold and dry air from Siberia with winds of 4–7 m/s, sometimes up to 15 m/s. Those winds may lower the winter temperatures from the usual −1 to −5 °C to below −30 °C. The mean mid-summer temperatures are 23–25 °C with a maximum of about 40 °C. Winds are weaker in summer, typically 3–5 m/s. Precipitation varies between 312 and 528 mm/year and is 1.5–2 times larger in summer than in winter.
Average water temperatures are 0–1 °C in winter (2–3 °C in the Kerch Strait) and 24–25 °C in summer, with a maximum of about 28 °C on the open sea and above 30 °C near the shores. During the summer, the sea surface is usually slightly warmer than the air. Because of the shallow character of the sea, the temperature usually lowers by only about 1 °C with depth, but in cold winters, the difference can reach 5–7 °C.
The winds cause frequent storms, with the waves reaching 6 metres in the Taganrog Bay, 2–4 metres near the southern shores, and 1 metre in the Kerch Strait. In the open sea, their height is usually 1–2 metres, sometimes up to 3 metres. Winds also induce frequent seiches – standing waves with an amplitude of 20–50 cm and lasting from minutes to hours. Another consequence of the winds is water currents. The prevailing current is a counterclockwise swirl due to the westerly and south-westerly winds. Their speed is typically less than 10 cm/s, but can reach 60–70 cm/s for 15–20 m/s winds. In the bays, the flow is largely controlled by the inflow of the rivers and is directed away from the shore. In the Kerch Strait, the flow is normally toward the Black Sea due to the predominance of northern winds and the water inflow from the rivers; its average speed is 10–20 cm/s, reaching 30–40 cm in the narrowest parts. Tides are variable but can peak at 5.5 metres.
The shallowness and low salinity of the sea make it vulnerable to freezing during the winter. Fast ice bands ranging from 7 km in the north to 1.5 km in the south can occur temporarily at any time from late December to mid-March. Several ships were trapped in ice in 2012 when it froze over. The ice thickness reaches 30–40 centimetres (12–16 in) in most parts of the sea and 60–80 cm in the Taganrog Bay. The ice is often unstable and piles up to the height of several metres. Before the introduction of icebreakers, navigation was halted in the winter.
Historically, the sea has had rich marine life, both in variety, with over 80 fish and 300 invertebrate species identified, and in numbers. Consequently, fishing has long been a major activity in the area. The annual catch of recent years was 300,000 tonnes, about half of which are valuable species (sturgeon, pike-perch, bream, sea-roach, etc.). This was partly due to extremely high biological productivity of the sea, which was stimulated by the strong supply of nutrients from numerous rivers feeding the sea, low water salinity, ample heating due to shallow waters and long vegetation period. However, diversity and numbers have been reduced by artificial reduction of river flow (construction of dams), over-fishing and water-intense large-scale cultivation of cotton, causing increasing levels of pollution. Fish hauls have rapidly decreased and in particular anchovy fisheries have collapsed.
Because of the shallow waters, the development of aquatic life in the Sea of Azov is more characteristic of a lagoon, and the plankton patterns are rather similar in the open sea and near the shores. Despite its shallowness, the water has low transparency, so bottom plants are poorly developed and most algae are of planktonic type. The sea is characterised by high concentrations of organic matter and long blooming periods. Another specific feature of the sea is the variable salinity – low in the large bays and higher in the open sea, especially near the Kerch Strait. Therefore, the plankton species are distributed inhomogeneously in the Sea of Azov. Although many additional species are brought in from the saltier Black Sea, most of them cannot adjust to the variable salinity of the Sea of Azov, except for the euryhaline species. About 600 species of planktonic algae are known in the Sea of Azov. The number of species is dominated by diatoms and green algae; blue-green algae and pyrophites are significant, and euglena and yellow-green algae form only 5% of the species. Green algae are mostly responsible for the colour of the sea in the satellite images (see photos above).
Regarding zooplankton, the fresh waters of the Tanganrog Bay are inhabited by cladocera, copepoda and rotifers, such as Brachionus plicatilis, Keratella curdata and Asplanchna. Western part of the sea, which is more saline, hosts three forms of Acartia clausi, as well as Centropages ponticus, meroplankton and larvae of gastropoda, bivalvia and polychaete.
Benthos species reside mostly at the sea bottom and include worms, crustaceans, bottom protists, coelenterata and mollusks. Mollusks account for 60–98% of the invertebrate biomass at the Sea of Azov bottom.
There are 183 ichthyofauna species from 112 genera and 55 families in the Sea of Azov region. Among them, there are 50 rare and 19 endangered species, and the sturgeon Acipenser nudiventris is probably extinct in the region.
The fauna of the freshwater Taganrog Bay is much poorer – it consists of 55 species from 36 genera and 16 families; among them, three species are rare and 6 are endangered.
The shores of the Sea of Azov contain numerous estuaries and marshes and are dominated by reeds, sedges, Typha and Sparganium. Typical submerged plants are Charales, pond weed, hornworts and water lilies. Also common is sacred lotus. The number of species is large; for example, the Belosaraysk and Berdyansk spits alone contain more than 200 each. Some spits are declared national nature reserves, such as Beglitsk, Belosaraysk, Krivaya and Berdyansk Spits.
Estuaries and spits of the sea are rich in birds, mostly waterfowl, such as wild geese, ducks and seagulls. Colonies of cormorants and pelicans are common. Also frequently observed are swans, herons, sandpipers and many birds of prey. Mammals include foxes, wild cats, hares, hedgehogs, weasels, martens and wild boar. Muskrats were introduced to the area in the early 20th century and are hunted for their fur.
Some ichthyofauna species, such as anchovy, garfish, Black Sea whiting and pickerel, visit the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea for spawning. This was especially frequent in 1975–77 when the salinity of the southern Sea of Azov was unusually high, and additional species were seen such as bluefish, turbot, chuco, spurdog, Black Sea salmon, mackerel and even corkwing wrasse, rock hopper, bullhead and eelpout. Unlike the Black Sea plankton which does not adapt well to the low salinity of the Sea of Azov and concentrates near the Kerch Strait, fishes and invertebrates of the Black Sea adjust well. They are often stronger than the native species, are used to the relatively low temperatures of the Black Sea and survive winter in the Sea of Azov well.
Balanus improvisus is the first benthos species which spread from the Black Sea in the early 20th century and settled in the Sea of Azov. Its current density is 7 kg/m2. From 1956, Rapana venosa is observed in the Sea of Azov, but it could not adjust to low salinity and therefore is limited to the neighborhood of the Kerch Strait. Several Sea of Azov mollusks, such as shipworm (Teredo navalis), soft-shell clam (Mya arernaria), Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and Anadara inaequivalvis, originate from the Black Sea. Another example of invading species is the Dutch crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii which is observed both in saline and freshwater parts.
Formerly three types of dolphins, short-beaked common dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise, regularly visited the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea although the common dolphin usually avoided the basin and Kerch Strait due to low salinity. One type of harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena relicta, used to live in the Sea of Azov and was therefore called "Azov dolphin" (Russian: азовка) in the Soviet Union. Nowadays, dolphins are rarely observed in the Sea of Azov. This is attributed to shallowing of the sea, increasing navigation activities, pollution, and reduction in the fish population.
Various species of pinnipeds and belugas were introduced into Black Sea by mankind and later escaped either by accidental or purported causes. Of these, grey seal has been recorded within Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov. Mediterranean monk seals became extinct in the Black Sea in 1997, and historic presences of large whales such as minke whales into Black Sea is recorded, although it is unclear whether these mammals historically occurred in the Azov Basin.
For centuries, the Sea of Azov has been an important waterway for the transport of goods and passengers. The first modern ironworks in Imperial Russia were located upstream on the Kalmius River at Donetsk, originally named Hughesovka (Russian: Юзовка). It was also important for the transportation of iron ores from the mines of the Kerch peninsula to the processing plant of Azovstal in Mariupol (formerly Zhdanov), Ukraine; this activity stopped after the closure of the mines in the 1990s. Navigation increased after the construction in 1952 of the Volga–Don Canal which connected the Sea of Azov with the Volga River – the most important riverine transport route in the central Russia – thus connecting major cities such as Moscow, Volgograd and Astrakhan. Currently, the major ports are in Taganrog, Mariupol, Yeysk and Berdyansk.
Increasing navigation rates have resulted in more pollution and even in ecological disasters. On 11 November 2007, a strong storm resulted in the sinking of four ships in the Strait of Kerch, in the Russian Port of Kavkaz. The ships were the Russian bulk carriers Volnogorsk, Nakhichevan, Kovel and the Georgian Haji Izmail with a Turkish crew. Six other ships were driven from their anchors and stranded and two tankers were damaged (Volgoneft-139 and Volgoneft-123). As a result, about 1300 tons of fuel oil and about 6800 tons of sulfur entered the sea.
Another traditional activity in the sea is fishing. The Sea of Azov used to be the most productive fishing area in the Soviet Union: typical annual fish catches of 300,000 tonnes converted to 80 kg per hectare of surface. (The corresponding numbers are 2 kg in the Black Sea and 0.5 kilograms (1.1 lb) in the Mediterranean Sea.) The catch has decreased in the 21st century, with more emphasis now on fish farming, especially of sturgeon.
Traditionally much of the coastline has been a zone of health resorts.
The irrigation system of the Taman Peninsula, supplied by the extended delta of the Kuban River, is favorable for agriculture and the region is famous for its vines. The area of the Sivash lagoons and Arabat Spit was traditionally a centre of a salt-producing industry. The Arabat Spit alone produced about 24,000 tonnes/year in the 19th century.
With a maximum depth of only about 46 feet (14 m), the Azov is the world's shallowest sea
The Azov is the world's shallowest sea, with depths ranging from 0.9 to 14 m (3.0 to 45.9 ft)
The Arabat Spit (Ukrainian: Арабатська коса, Russian: Арабатская коса) or Arabat Arrow is a spit (narrow strip of land) which separates a large, shallow and very salty system of lagoons named Syvash from the Sea of Azov. The spit is located between the Henichesk Strait to the north and the north-eastern shores of Crimea to the south.Azov campaigns (1695–96)
The Azov campaigns of 1695–96 (Russian: Азо́вские похо́ды, Azovskiye Pokhody), were two Russian military campaigns during the Russo-Turkish War of 1686–1700, led by Peter the Great and aimed at capturing the Turkish fortress of Azov (garrison - 7,000 men), which had been blocking Russia's access to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. Since the Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 had failed because of the difficulty of moving a large army across the steppe, Peter decided to try a river approach.Battle of Rostov (1941)
The Battle of Rostov (1941) was a battle of the Eastern Front of World War II, fought around Rostov-on-Don between the Army Group South of Nazi Germany and the Southern Front of the Soviet Union.
The battle comprised three phases: the German Sea of Azov Offensive Operation by Army Group South (General Gerd von Rundstedt) (begun on 12 September 1941), the Soviet Rostov Defensive Operation (5 November 1941 – 16 November 1941) by the Southern Front (General Yakov Timofeyevich Cherevichenko), and the Rostov Offensive Operation (27 November 1941 – 2 December 1941) executed by the same Soviet Front.
After forcing their way across the Mius river on 17 November, the German forces captured 10,000 Soviet troops and took Rostov on 21 November. Six days later the Southern Front, reinforced with the newly raised 37th Army, counterattacked from the north and threatened to surround the overstretched German III Motorized Army Corps. Rundstedt then ordered a retreat to the Mius line from Rostov to prevent the encirclement, which prompted Hitler to immediately fire him. Rundstedt's successor Walther von Reichenau confirmed the retreat order with the backing of the Army High Command Chief of Staff Franz Halder and Hitler relented. The Red Army retook Rostov on 28 November. It was the first successful major Soviet counteroffensive of the war.Battle of the Sea of Azov
The Battle of the Sea of Azov, also known as the Chernigovka pocket was an Axis military campaign fought between 26 September 1941 and 11 October 1941 on the northern shores of the Sea of Azov on the Eastern Front of World War II during Operation Barbarossa. It resulted in a complete Axis victory over the Red Army.
After destroying four Soviet armies at Kiev in late September 1941, the German Army Group South advanced east and south to capture the industrial Donbass region and the Crimea. Within days of the battle of Kiev's conclusion, the Soviet Southern Front launched an attack on 26 September with two armies on the northern shores of the Sea of Azov against elements of the German 11th Army, which was simultaneously advancing into the Crimea. After initially pushing back the Romanian 3rd Army, which fought under German command, the Soviet advance ground to a halt when the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler Brigade arrived to reinforce their Axis allies. On 1 October the 1st Panzer Army under Ewald von Kleist swept south to isolate the two Soviet armies. The offensive caught the Red Army completely by surprise, forcing them to retreat on 3 October to avoid encirclement.
The Germans now attacked from the west, north and east, cutting the Soviets off on 7 October after capturing Melitopol and Berdiansk. The Soviet 9th and 18th Armies were caught in a vise and annihilated in four days. The Soviet defeat was total; 106,332 men captured, 212 tanks destroyed or captured in the pocket alone as well as 766 artillery pieces of all types. All units of the German 11th Army and the 1st Panzer Army lost 12,421 men combined from 21 September to 10 October; actual German losses in the battle were lower as only parts of both armies fought in the battle.The death of or capture of two-thirds of all Southern Front troops in four days unhinged the Front's left flank, allowing the Germans to capture Kharkiv on 24 October. Kleist's 1st Panzer Army took the Donbass region that same month, while Manstein's 11th Army was freed to conquer Crimea with its full strength from 18 October onward.Bay of Arabat
The Bay of Arabat, (Ukrainian: Арабатська затока, Russian: Арабатский залив, Crimean Tatar: Arabat körfezi), is in the southwestern Azov Sea in eastern Europe.
It is located along the northwestern coast of the Kerch Peninsula and northeastern coast of Crimea.Don River
The Don (Russian: Дон, IPA: [don]) is one of the major Eurasian rivers of Russia and the fifth-longest river in Europe. The Don basin is between the Dnieper basin to the west, the Volga basin to the east, and the Oka basin (tributary of the Volga) to the north.
The Don rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Tula (120 km south of Moscow), and flows for a distance of about 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov. From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh, then southwest to its mouth. The main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets.Kepoi
Kepoi or Cepoi (Ancient Greek: Κῆποι, Russian: Кепы) was an ancient Greek colony situated on the Taman peninsula, three kilometres to the east of Phanagoria, in the present-day Krasnodar Krai of Russia. The colony was established by the Milesians in the 6th century BC. In the Hellenistic period, it was controlled by the kings of the Cimmerian Bosporus, who (according to Aeschines) made a present of a place called "the Gardens" to Gylon, the grandfather of Demosthenes. The town reached its peak in the 1st centuries AD, but the Huns and Goths put an end to its prosperity in the 4th century. Soviet excavations, started in 1957, yielded rich finds, including a marble statue of a Greek goddess ("Aphrodite of Taman"). More than 400 burials were explored at Kepoi in the 1960s and 1970s; the rest of the site has been submerged by the Sea of Azov.Kerch Strait incident
An international incident occurred on 25 November 2018 when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) coast guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels attempting to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait on their way to the port of Mariupol. In 2014, Russia had annexed the nearby Crimean Peninsula, which is dominantly internationally recognised as Ukrainian territory. It later constructed the Crimean Bridge across the strait. Under a 2003 treaty, the strait and the Azov Sea are intended to be the shared territorial waters of both countries, and freely accessible.As the flotilla, which consisted of two gunboats and a tugboat, approached the Kerch Strait, the Russian coast guard said they repeatedly asked the Ukrainian vessels to leave what they referred to as "Russian territorial waters". They said that the vessels had not followed the formal procedure for passage through the strait, that the Ukrainian ships had been manoeuvring dangerously, and that they were not responding to radio communications. Ukraine said that it had given advance notice to the Russians that the vessels would be moving through the strait, that the ships had made radio contact with the Russians, but received no response, and cited the 2003 treaty against the assertion that the ships had entered Russian territorial waters. The Russians tried to halt the Ukrainian ships, but they continued moving in the direction of the bridge. As they neared the bridge, the Russians authorities placed a large cargo ship under it, blocking their passage into the Azov Sea. The Ukrainian ships remained moored in the strait for eight hours, before turning back to return to port in Odessa. The Russian coast guard pursued them as they left the area, and later fired upon and seized the vessels in international waters off the coast of Crimea. Three Ukrainian crew members were injured in the clash, and all twenty-four Ukrainian sailors from the captured ships were detained by Russia.The Ukrainian government characterised the incident as a potential precursor to a Russian invasion, and declared martial law along the border with Russia and in Black Sea coastal areas, which expired on 26 December 2018. The incident took place a few days before the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit. Western leaders referred to it when they spoke of sanctions against Russia.Kuban River
The Kuban River (Russian: Куба́нь, IPA: [kʊˈbanʲ]; Circassian: Псыжъ, Psyẑ [psəʐ] or Псыжь, Psyź IPA: [psəʑ]; Abaza: Къвбина, Q̇vbina; Karachay–Balkar: Къобан, Qoban; Nogai: Кобан, Qoban) is a river in the Northwest Caucasus region of European Russia. It flows mostly through Krasnodar Krai for 660 kilometres (410 mi) but also in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic, Stavropol Krai and the Republic of Adygea.
The Kuban flows 870 kilometres (540 mi) north and west from its source near Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains, eventually reaching Temryuk Bay in the Sea of Azov. It is navigable up to Krasnodar.
Major cities along the Kuban are Karachayevsk, Cherkessk, Nevinnomyssk, Armavir, Ust-Labinsk, Krasnodar and Temryuk. Despite its name, Slavyansk-na-Kubani lies not on the Kuban River, but on its distributary the Protoka.List of tallest lighthouses
This is a list of the tallest lighthouses, by tower height (as opposed to focal height, i.e. height of the lamp of a lighthouse from water level).
The list is based on the list of tallest lighthouses from The Lighthouse Directory. As such, it includes "traditional lighthouses", i.e. buildings built by navigation safety authorities primarily as an aid to navigation. Some structures of interest that carry navigational lights, but were not mentioned in The Lighthouse Directory since they were not built primarily as lighthouses, are also listed, marked with "*".
Information regarding construction, year, and notes is from the list of tallest lighthouses at The Lighthouse Directory. Sources are given for all other information.
Heights are from the United States Coast Guard Light List for the United States and from NGA List of Lights for the rest of the world, unless a better source exists. Where several lighthouses share the same height they share the same position, and are all marked with "=".Mius River
Mius (Ukrainian: Міус, Russian: Миус) is a river in Eastern Europe that flows through Ukraine and Russia.
Its total length is 258 kilometres (160 mi).Molochnyi Liman
Molochnyi Estuary, or Molochnyi Liman (Ukrainian: Молочний лиман), is an estuary of the Molochna River, located on the north-western coast of the Sea of Azov.
Parameters of the water body:
Length 32 km
Width 8 km
Depth 3 m
Area 168 km2Connected to the Sea of Azov by artificial canal.Nakhchivan
Nakhchivan or Nakhichevan may refer to:
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, an exclave of Azerbaijan
Nakhchivan (city), the capital city
Nakhichevan Eyalet, a possible eyalet of the Ottoman Empire
Nakhichevan Khanate, in Safavid Persia,1747–1828
Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, within the Azerbaijan SSR of the Soviet Union, 1921–1990
Nakhichevan District, old name of Babek District, a rayon of Azerbaijan in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
Nakhichevan field, an offshore oil and gas field on the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan
Nakhichevan-on-Don, Armenian city in Nor Nakchivan, 1779–1928
Nakhichevan, a Russian cargo ship that sank in the Sea of Azov in 2007North Caucasus
The North Caucasus (Russian: Се́верный Кавка́з, IPA: [ˈsʲevʲɪrnɨj kɐfˈkas]) or Ciscaucasia is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east, within Asian Russia. Geographically, the Northern Caucasus (territory north of the Greater Caucasus Range) includes the Russian republics and krais of the North Caucasus. As part of the Russian Federation, the Northern Caucasus region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, approximately from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, Karachay–Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia–Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.Geographically, the term North Caucasus also refers to the northern slope and western extremity of the Caucasus Major mountain range, as well as a part of its southern slope to the West (until the Psou River in Abkhazia). The Forecaucasus steppe area is often also encompassed under the notion of "Ciscaucasus", thus the northern boundary of the Forecaucasus steppe is generally considered to be the Manych River.Port Krym
Port Krym (Russian: Порт Крым, Ukrainian: Порт Крим, Crimean Tatar: Qırım Limanı - literally Port Crimea) is a port in Crimea. It is located on the western shore of Kerch Strait, in the north-eastern part of Kerch city near a settlement of Zhukivka. Next to the port is located the Krym railway station.
Port Krym has the Kerch Strait ferry connection with Port Kavkaz on the eastern (Russian) shore of the strait. The port is also a base for pilot boats which guide navigation through the Strait of Kerch. The port is served by a fleet of three ships which were the property of the Ukrainian State Company "Kerch Ferry" as well as two more ships of the Russian company "ANShIP" which provides railroad ferry connection.
Port Krym is a transition point on the () where it terminates and resumes on the Russian coast at the Port Kavkaz. The type of crossing is ferry, status - local. The types of transportation crossings are passenger and freight.Pryazovia
Pryazovia (Ukrainian: Приазов'я, Russian: Приазовье, Priazovye) or literally Cis-Azov region is usually referred to the geographic area of north coast of the Sea of Azov. It is located in the northern part of the Azov-Kuban Lowland which surrounds the Sea of Azov for the most of coastline stretch. In a more general sense it may mean the Azov Sea littoral.
It consists of southern part of Donetsk Oblast, Zaporizhia Oblast, eastern part of Kherson Oblast. The western part of Rostov Oblast in Russia could also be claimed as a part of broader Northern Pryazovia.Siege of Taganrog
The Siege of Taganrog is a name given in some Russian histories to Anglo-French naval operations in the northeastern part of the Sea of Azov between June and October 1855 during the Crimean War. British and French forces were implementing a strategy of destroying the supply lines for the main Russian army which ran across the Sea of Azov. Taganrog was one of the major logistical hubs of the Russian army and was attacked and destroyed as a military depot on 3 June 1855 (NS) as part of a series of attacks on all major Russian supply bases in the area, except Rostov-on-Don, which could not be reached due to the large shoals not admitting any available warship.Syvash
The Syvash or Sivash (Russian and Ukrainian: Сива́ш; Crimean Tatar: Sıvaş, Cyrillic: Сываш, "dirt"), also known as the Putrid Sea or Rotten Sea (Russian: Гнило́е Мо́ре, Gniloye More; Ukrainian: Гниле́ Мо́ре, Hnyle More; Crimean Tatar: Çürük Deñiz, Cyrillic: Чюрюк Денъиз), consists of a large system of shallow lagoons on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. Separated from the sea by the narrow Arabat Spit, the water of the Syvash covers an area of around 2,560 km2 (990 sq mi) and the entire area spreads over about 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi). Its eastern connection to the Sea of Azov is called the Henichesk Strait. The Syvash borders the northeastern coast of the main Crimean Peninsula; Central and Eastern Syvash registered as wetlands of Ukraine under Ramsar Convention, after the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea became under a territorial dispute.Taganrog Bay
Taganrog Bay or Tahanrih Bay (Russian: Таганрогский залив, Ukrainian: Таганрозька затока) is the northeastern arm of the Sea of Azov. It also may be perceived as a flooded estuary of the Don River.
Marginal seas of the Atlantic Ocean