Sea of Marmara

The Sea of Marmara (/ˈmɑːrmərə/; Turkish: Marmara Denizi), also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis is the inland sea, entirely within the borders of Turkey, that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean Sea. The former also separates Istanbul into its Asian and European sides. The Sea of Marmara is the smallest sea in the world. It has an area of 11,350 km2 (4,380 sq mi), with dimensions 280 km × 80 km (174 mi × 50 mi).[1]Its greatest depth is 1,370 m (4,490 ft).

Sea of Marmara
Marmara Denizi
Sea of Marmara map
Map of the Sea of Marmara
LocationEurope and Asia
Coordinates40°41′12″N 28°19′7″E / 40.68667°N 28.31861°ECoordinates: 40°41′12″N 28°19′7″E / 40.68667°N 28.31861°E
TypeInland Sea
Primary inflowsSimav River, Biga Çayı, Nilüfer River
Primary outflowsTurkish Straits
Catchment area11,500 km2 (4,400 sq mi)
Basin countriesTurkey
Surface area11,350 km2 (4,380 sq mi)
Average depth494 m (1,621 ft)
Max. depth1,370 m (4,490 ft)
Water volume3,378 km3 (810 cu mi)
IslandsMarmara Island, Avşa, İmralı, Prince Islands, Paşalimanı and Ekinlik Island
SettlementsIstanbul, Bursa, İzmit, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, and Yalova
Photograph of the Sea of Marmara from space (STS-40, 1991). The sea is the light-colored body of water.
Gulf of Izmit, Turkey
This astronaut photograph highlights the metropolitan area of Izmit along the northern and eastern shores of the Sea of Marmara, at the end of the Gulf of Izmit.
Ebédlőház - Rodostó, 2014.10.25 (43)
Sea of Marmara – From the dining room of the Rákóczi exile


The sea takes its name from Marmara Island, which is rich in sources of marble, from the Greek μάρμαρον (marmaron), "marble".[2]

The sea's ancient Greek name Propontis derives from pro- (before) and pontos (sea), deriving from the fact that the Greeks sailed through it to reach the Black Sea, Pontos. In Greek mythology, a storm on Propontis brought the Argonauts back to an island they had left, precipitating a battle where either Jason or Heracles killed King Cyzicus, who mistook them for his Pelasgian enemies.[3]


The surface salinity of the sea averages about 22 parts per thousand, which is slightly greater than that of the Black Sea, but only about two-thirds that of most oceans. The water is much more saline at the sea bottom, averaging salinities of around 38 parts per thousand, similar to that of the Mediterranean Sea. This high-density saline water, like that of the Black Sea, does not migrate to the surface. Water from the Susurluk, Biga (Granicus) and Gonen Rivers also reduces the salinity of the sea, though with less influence than on the Black Sea. With little land in Thrace draining southward, almost all of these rivers flow from Anatolia.

The sea contains the archipelago of the Prince Islands and Marmara Island, Avşa and Paşalimanı.

The south coast of the sea is heavily indented, and includes the Gulf of İzmit (Turkish: İzmit Körfezi), the Gulf of Gemlik (Turkish: Gemlik Körfezi), Gulf of Bandırma (Turkish: Bandırma Körfezi) and the Gulf of Erdek (Turkish: Erdek Körfezi). During a storm on December 29, 1999, the Russian oil tanker Volgoneft broke in two in the Sea of Marmara, and more than 1,500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the water.

The North Anatolian Fault, which has triggered many major earthquakes in recent years, such as the August and November 1999 earthquakes in Izmit and Düzce, respectively, runs under the sea.


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Sea of Marmara as follows:[4]

On the West. The Dardanelles limit of the Aegean Sea [A line joining Kum Kale (26°11'E) and Cape Helles].
On the Northeast. A line joining Cape Rumili with Cape Anatoli (41°13'N).

Towns and cities

Towns and cities on the Marmara Sea coast include:

Istanbul Province
Balıkesir Province

Bursa Province


Çanakkale Province

Kocaeli Province
İzmit (Pr. Cap)

Tekirdağ Province

Marmara Ereğli
Tekirdağ (Pr. Cap)
Yalova Province
Yalova (Pr. Cap)

Image gallery

Bosphorus aerial view

Aerial view of the Bosphorus, southern end and Istanbul in the background

Marmara sea

View of Marmara Sea from Istanbul (Kumkapı)

Yassiada 1

Sea of Marmara approaching Yassıada

Marmara Sea at Yesilkoy (Resim 093)

View of the Marmara Sea from Yeşilköy


View of the Marmara Sea from Kadıköy

See also


  1. ^ "Marmara, Sea of - Dictionary definition of Marmara, Sea of - FREE online dictionary". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. ^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "A Greek-English Lexicon". Henry Stuart Jones and Roderick McKenzie. Perseus. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  3. ^ Parada, Carlos. "Greek Mythology Link". Archived from the original on February 13, 2002. Retrieved April 30, 2001.
  4. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas" (PDF) (3rd ed.). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved February 7, 2010.

External links


Avşa Island (Turkish: Avşa Adası) or Türkeli is a Turkish island in the southern Sea of Marmara with an area of about 14 square miles (36 square kilometres). It was the classical and Byzantine Aphousia (Greek: Αφουσία) or Ophiousa (Οφιούσα) and was a place of exile during the Byzantine period.

The island belongs to the Marmara District of Balıkesir Province in northwestern Turkey. It is a popular domestic tourist destination, especially for tourists from Istanbul. The local population is around 2,000 according to the last census, but during the summer season the number of visitors increases as far as forty to fifty thousand.


Burgazada, Burgaz Adası, or shortly Burgaz (Greek: Αντιγόνη, Antigoni) is the third largest of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey.

It is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul. Burgazada is a common setting and even a major theme for writer Sait Faik Abasıyanık, where he also resided. Today, his residence is kept as a museum. In 2003, Burgazada suffered a terrible forest fire, losing 4 square kilometres of its entire woodland.

The island consists of a single hill 2 kilometres across. Demetrius I of Macedon, one of the Diadochi (Successors) of Alexander the Great, built a fort (Greek: Pyrgos for fort/tower) here and named it after his father Antigonus I Monophthalmus. The island took this name, but is generally known by the Turks today as simply "Burgaz."

Historically, the island has been inhabited chiefly by the Greek minority, whereas in the 20th century, many Jews from Istanbul have settled in Burgazada. In recent years, with the dwindling of minority populations of Turkey, the local population balance has shifted towards that of Istanbul in general.

The Burgazada Sanitarium, founded in 1928, is one of the oldest sanitariums in the country.


Büyükada (Greek: Πρίγκηπος or Πρίγκιπος, rendered Prinkipos or Prinkipo) is the largest of the nine so-called Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, with an area of about 2 square miles (5 square kilometres). It is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar (Islands) district of Istanbul Province, Turkey.

Ekinlik Island

Ekinlik Island, formerly Koutalis (Greek: Κούταλης) is an island situated off the Turkish coast, in the Sea of Marmara.

Fener Island

Fener Island (literally "Lighthouse Island") is a Marmara island of Turkey. The island is to the east of Kapıdağ Peninsula at 40°27′29″N 28°04′05″E. Administratively it is a part of Bandırma ilçe (district) of Balıkesir Province. It is a long and narrow island in north west to south east direction. The length of the longer dimension is 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). There are some islets to the east of the island.

Kaşık Island

Kaşık Island, (Turkish: Kaşık Adası, literally "Spoon Island"; is one of the nine islands comprising the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. It is located between the islands of Burgazada and Heybeliada. Kaşık Adası is officially administered by Burgazada neighborhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul, Turkey.

Koyun Island

Koyun Island (Turkish: Koyun Adası, literally "Sheep Island") is a Turkish island in the Sea of Marmara. At 40°30′33″N 27°34′40″E it is a part of Erdek ilçe (district) of Balıkesir Province. It is situated between the better known islands of Avşa Island and Paşalimanı Island.

The island is a long island where the longer dimension is directed from north to south direction. Its total area is about 1.7 square kilometres (0.66 sq mi). There are only a few summer houses on the otherwise uninhabited island.


Kınalıada (Armenian: Գնալը կղզի; Greek: Πρώτη, Proti 'first') is an island in the Sea of Marmara; it is the closest of the Prince Islands to Istanbul, Turkey, lying about 12 kilometres (7 mi) to the south. Administratively, it is a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul.

Kınalıada means "Henna Island" in Turkish, as the land has a reddish colour from the iron and copper that has been mined here. This is one of the least forested of the Prince Islands.

Proti was the island most used as a place of exile under the Byzantine Empire. The most notable exile was emperor Romanos IV Diogenes, after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, who remained in the Monastery of the Transfiguration on Hristo Peak of the island.

List of islands of Turkey

This is a list of islands of Turkey. In the parentheses following the name of the island is the other/official name of the island. There are around 500 islands and islets in the Turkish seas.

Marmara Ereğlisi

Marmara Ereğlisi is a town, located in a district bearing the same name, in Tekirdağ Province in the Marmara region of Turkey.

The mayor was, as of January 2011, Uyan (CHP).

Marmara Island

Marmara Island (Turkish: Marmara Adası; Greek: Προκόννησος) is a Turkish island in the Sea of Marmara. With an area of 117.8 km2 (45.5 sq mi) it is the largest island in the Sea of Marmara and is the second largest island of Turkey after Gökçeada (older name in Turkish: İmroz; Greek: Ίμβρος Imvros). It is the center of Marmara district in Balıkesir Province. Transportation is possible from Istanbul by ship and ferry, and by motorboat from Tekirdağ and Erdek. Famed for their wine and fish, Marmara and Avsa offer wonderful shorelines. Marmara island is full of historical treasures which increase its attractiveness. The town of "Mermer Plaj" / Marble Beach takes its name from the marbles for which the town is famous and which give the island and the sea their name.

Marmara Region

The Marmara Region (Turkish: Marmara Bölgesi) is a geographical region of Turkey.

Located in northwestern Turkey, it is bordered by Greece and the Aegean Sea to the west, Bulgaria and the Black Sea to the north, the Black Sea Region to the east, the Central Anatolia Region to the southeast and the Aegean Region to the south. At the center of the region is the Sea of Marmara, which gives the region its name.

Among the seven geographical regions, the Marmara Region has the second-smallest area, yet the largest population; it is the most densely populated region in the country.


Paşalimanı Island (Turkish: Paşalimanı Adası), formerly Halone (Greek: Αλώνη), is a small island in the southern Sea of Marmara in Turkey. The island belongs to the Marmara District of Balıkesir Province in northwestern Turkey. There are five small settlements on the island.

Sedef Island

Sedef Island, (Turkish: Sedef Adası, literally "Mother-of-Pearl Island"; Greek: Τερέβυνθος Terebinthos, and in ancient times also Androvitha or Andircuithos) is one of the nine islands consisting the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey. Sedef Adası is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul.

With an area of 0.157 km², it is one of the smallest islands of the archipelago. The island is mostly private property and the current pine forests were largely planted by its owner Şehsuvar Menemencioğlu, who purchased the island in 1956 and also played an important role in the imposition of a strict building code to make sure that the island's nature and environment will be protected. It is not allowed to build houses with more than 2 floors.

The island's Greek name, Terebinthos, means "turpentine", which suggests a significant presence of the turpentine tree or terebinth in earlier times. In 857 AD Patriarch Ignatios of Constantinople was sent in exile to the island, where he was imprisoned for 10 years before being re-elected as Patriarch in 867 AD.


Silivri (Selymbria) is a city and a district in Istanbul Province along the Sea of Marmara in Turkey, outside metropolitan Istanbul, containing many holiday and weekend homes for residents of the city. The largest city in the district is also named Silivri. The mayor is Özcan Işıklar (CHP).

Silivri is located bordering Büyükçekmece to the east, Çatalca to the north, Çorlu and Marmara Ereğli (both districts of Tekirdağ Province) to the west, Çerkezköy to the north-west (one of Tekirdağ Province) and with the Sea of Marmara to the south. It is with an area of 760 km2 (290 sq mi) the second largest district of Istanbul Province after Çatalca. The seat of the district is the city of Silivri.

The district consists of 8 towns and 18 villages, and its population is 155,923 (2013 census). 75,702 in the city of Silivri, the remaining in the surrounding towns and villages – listed below.

Established in 2008, Turkey's most modern and Europe's largest prison complex is located 9 km (5.6 mi) west of Silivri.

Tavşan Adası

Tavşan Adası or Neandros Adası (Tavşan Adası meaning"Rabbit Island"; Greek: Νέανδρος Neandros, the name of a mythological figure) is the smallest of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Istanbul, Turkey. It is under the administration of the Adalar (literally Islands or Isles) district of Istanbul Province. The island has an area of 0.004 km2 (0.0015 sq mi).

Turkish Straits

The Turkish Straits (Turkish: Türk Boğazları) are a series of internationally significant waterways in northwestern Turkey that connect the Aegean and Mediterranean seas to the Black Sea. They consist of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus, all part of the sovereign sea territory of Turkey and subject to the regime of internal waters.

Located in the western part of the landmass of Eurasia, the Turkish Straits are conventionally considered the boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia, as well as the dividing line between European Turkey and Asian Turkey. Owing to their strategic importance in international commerce, politics, and warfare, the Turkish Straits have played a significant role in European and world history, and have since been governed in accordance with the 1936 Montreux Convention.


İmralı is a small Turkish island in the south of the Sea of Marmara, west of the Armutlu-Bozburun peninsula within Bursa Province. It measures 8 kilometres (5 miles) in the north-south direction with a width of 3 kilometres (2 miles), and has an area of 9.98 square kilometres (3.85 sq mi). The highest peak is Türk Tepesi at an altitude of 217 metres (712 feet) above sea level. It is currently a prison island, so it is prohibited to fly over the island or fish near its shores.


İzmit, sometimes Kocaeli, known as Nicomedia in antiquity, is a city in Turkey, the administrative center of the Kocaeli Province as well as the Metropolitan Municipality. It is located at the Gulf of İzmit in the Sea of Marmara, about 100 km (62 mi) east of Istanbul, on the northwestern part of Anatolia. The city center has a population of 300,611 (2011 census). The population of the province (including rural areas) is 1,459,772. (Unlike other provinces in Turkey, apart from Istanbul, the whole province is included within the municipality of the metropolitan center.)

Nicomedia was the eastern and most senior capital city of the Roman Empire between 286 and 324, during the Tetrarchy introduced by Diocletian. Following Constantine the Great's victory over co-emperor Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324, Nicomedia served as an interim capital city for Nova Roma.

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