map of the mediterranean sea
|coordinates||35°n 18°e / 35°n 18°e / ||atlantic ocean, sea of marmara, nile, ebro, rhône, chelif, po|
- abkhazia (independence disputed, claimed by georgia)
- bosnia and herzegovina
- democratic republic of the congo
- czech republic
- gibraltar (uk)
- kosovo (independence disputed, claimed by serbia)
- northern cyprus (independence disputed, claimed by cyprus)
- north macedonia
- state of palestine (a de jure sovereign state)
- san marino
- south ossetia (independence disputed, claimed by georgia)
- south sudan
- transnistria (independence disputed, claimed by moldova)
- vatican city
|surface area||2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi)|
|average depth||1,500 m (4,900 ft)|
|max. depth||5,267 m (17,280 ft)|
|water volume||3,750,000 km3 (900,000 cu mi)|
|residence time||80–100 years|
|settlements||alexandria, algiers, athens, barcelona, beirut, carthage, dubrovnik, istanbul, İzmir, rome, split, tangier, tel aviv, tripoli, tunis (full list)|
the mediterranean sea is a sea connected to the atlantic ocean, surrounded by the mediterranean basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by southern europe and anatolia, on the south by north africa and on the east by the levant. although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the atlantic ocean, it is usually referred to as a separate body of water. geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the mediterranean was cut off from the atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years (the messinian salinity crisis) before being refilled by the zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
it covers an area of about 2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi), representing 0.7% of the global ocean surface, but its connection to the atlantic via the strait of gibraltar—the narrow strait that connects the atlantic ocean to the mediterranean sea and separates spain in europe from morocco in africa—is only 14 km (9 mi) wide. in oceanography, it is sometimes called the eurafrican mediterranean sea or the european mediterranean sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
the mediterranean sea has an average depth of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m (17,280 ft) in the calypso deep in the ionian sea. it lies between latitudes 30° and 46° n and longitudes 6° w and 36° e. its west-east length, from the strait of gibraltar to the gulf of iskenderun, on the southeastern coast of turkey, is about 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi).
the sea was an important route for merchants and travellers of ancient times, facilitating trade and cultural exchange between peoples of the region. the history of the mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies.
the countries surrounding the mediterranean in clockwise order are spain, france, monaco, italy, slovenia, croatia, bosnia and herzegovina, montenegro, albania, greece, turkey, syria, lebanon, israel, egypt, libya, tunisia, algeria, and morocco; malta and cyprus are island countries in the sea. in addition, the gaza strip and the british overseas territories of gibraltar and akrotiri and dhekelia have coastlines on the sea.