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The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated
embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a Gulf (geography), gulf, sea, sound (geography), sound, or bight (geogr ...

embayment
of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
located between Europe's
Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch t ...
peninsula and Asia's
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In the north, the Aegean is connected to the Marmara Sea and the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
by the straits of the
Dardanelles satellite in September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The Dardanelles is the tapered waterway running diagonally between the two seas, from the northeast to the ...
and the
Bosphorus File:Bosphorus aerial view.jpg, Aerial view of the Bosporus taken from its northern end near the Black Sea (bottom), looking south (top) toward the Marmara Sea, with the city center of Istanbul visible along the strait's hilly banks. The Bosp ...

Bosphorus
. The
Aegean Islands The Aegean Islands ( el, Νησιά Αιγαίου, Nisiá Aigaíou; tr, Ege Adaları) are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between ...
are located within the sea and some bound it on its southern periphery, including
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
and
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the sout ...

Rhodes
. The sea reaches a maximum depth of 3,544 meters, to the east of Crete. The
Thracian Sea image:Map of the Aegean Sea.jpg, 250px, Map of the Aegean Sea. The Thracian Sea can be seen at the top. The Thracian Sea ( el, Θρακικό Πέλαγος, ''Thrakiko Pelagos''; tr, Trakya Denizi) is the northernmost part of the Aegean Sea. I ...

Thracian Sea
and the
Myrtoan Sea The Myrtoan Sea (also Mirtoan Sea; el, Mυρτώο Πέλαγος, ''Myrtoo Pelagos'' ) is a subdivision of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on th ...
are subdivisions of the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Islands can be divided into several island groups, including the
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Dodecanese
, the
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the Node (ne ...

Cyclades
, the
Sporades The (Northern) Sporades (; el, Βόρειες Σποράδες, , ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small ...
, the
Saronic islands The Saronic Islands or Argo-Saronic Islands is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islan ...
and the
North Aegean Islands The North Aegean islands are a number of disconnected islands in the north Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula an ...
, as well as Crete and its surrounding islands. The Dodecanese, located to the southeast, includes the islands of Rhodes,
Kos Kos or Cos (; el, Κως ) is a island, part of the island chain in the southeastern . Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese by area, after and ; it has a population of 33,388 (2011 census), making it the second most populous of t ...

Kos
, and
Patmos Patmos ( el, Πάτμος, ) is a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
; the islands of
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
and
Naxos Naxos (; el, Νάξος, ) is a list of islands of Greece, Greek island and the largest of the Cyclades. It was the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. The island is famous as a source of Emery (rock), emery, a rock rich in corundum, which un ...

Naxos
are within the Cyclades to the south of the sea.
Lesbos Lesbos or Lesvos (, also ; el, Λέσβος, Lésvos ) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly con ...
is part of the North Aegean Islands. Euboea, the second-largest island in Greece, is located in the Aegean, despite being administered as part of
Central Greece Continental Greece ( el, Στερεά Ελλάδα, ''Stereá Elláda''; formerly , ''Chérsos Ellás''), colloquially known as Roúmeli (Ρούμελη), is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic region of Greece. In English the ...
. Nine out of twelve of the Administrative regions of Greece border the sea, along with the Turkish provinces of
Edirne Edirne (, ), formerly known as Adrianople or Hadrianopolis (), is a city in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the ...
, Canakkale,
Balıkesir Balıkesir () is a city in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greec ...
,
Izmir
Izmir
,
Aydın Aydın ( ''EYE-din''; ; formerly named ''Güzelhisar''), Ancient and Modern Greek Τράλλεις /''Tralleis/,'' is a city in and the seat of Aydın Province Aydın Province ( tr, ) is a province of southwestern Turkey Turkey ( tr, T ...
and
Muğla Muğla () is a city in south-western Turkey. Muğla is the center of the District of Districts of Turkey, Menteşe and Muğla Province , which stretches along Turkey's Aegean Sea, Aegean coast. Muğla's center is situated inland at an altitude of ...
to the east of the sea. Various Turkish islands in the sea are
Imbros Imbros or İmroz, officially Gökçeada since 29 July 1970,Alexis Alexandris, "The Identity Issue of The Minorities in Greece And Turkey", in Hirschon, Renée (ed.), ''Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange ...
,
Tenedos Tenedos (, ''Tenedhos'', ), or Bozcaada in Turkish, is an island of Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece G ...
,
Cunda Island __NOTOC__ Cunda Island, also called Alibey Island, ( tr, Cunda Adası, Alibey Adası), Greek Moschonisi ( gr, Μοσχονήσι or Μοσχόνησος), is the largest of the Ayvalık Islands archipelago in Turkey, which was historically calle ...
, and the Foça Islands. The Aegean Sea has been historically important, especially in regards to the civilization of
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, who inhabited the area around the coast of the Aegean and the Aegean islands. The Aegean islands facilitated contact between the people of the area and between Europe and Asia. Along with the Greeks,
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
lived among the northern coast. The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
conquered the area under the Roman Empire, and later the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
held it against advances by the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye) was a medieval Bulgar- Slavic and later Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

First Bulgarian Empire
. The
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
weakened Byzantine control of the area, and it was eventually conquered by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, with the exception of Crete, which was a Venetian colony until 1669. The
Greek War of Independence The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution of 1821 or Greek Revolution ( el, Ελληνική Επανάσταση, ''Elliniki Epanastasi''; referred to by Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''É ...
allowed a Greek state on the coast of the Aegean from 1829 onwards. The Ottoman Empire held a presence over the sea for over 500 years, until it was replaced by modern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
. The rocks making up the floor of the Aegean are mainly limestone, though often greatly altered by volcanic activity that has convulsed the region in relatively recent geologic times. Of particular interest are the richly coloured sediments in the region of the islands of
Santorini Santorini ( el, Σαντορίνη, ), officially Thira (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in S ...

Santorini
and
Milos Milos or Melos (; el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, inc ...

Milos
, in the south Aegean. Notable cities on the Aegean coastline include
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
,
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki (; el, Θεσσαλονίκη, ), also known as Thessalonica (), Saloniki or Salonica (), is the List of countries by largest and second largest cities, second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its Thessaloni ...

Thessaloniki
,
Volos Volos ( el, Βόλος ) is a coastal port city in Thessaly situated midway on the Greece, Greek mainland, about north of Athens and south of Thessaloniki. It is the sixth most populous city of Greece, and the capital of the Magnesia (regional ...

Volos
,
Kavala Kavala ( el, Καβάλα, ''Kavála'' ) is a city in northern Greece, the principal seaport of eastern Macedonia (Greece), Macedonia and the capital of Kavala (regional unit), Kavala regional unit. It is situated on the Bay of Kavala, across f ...

Kavala
and
Heraklion Heraklion or Iraklion ( ; el, Ηράκλειο, , ) is the largest city and the administrative capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larg ...
in Greece, and
İzmir Izmir ( , ; tr, İzmir, ) is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia, capital of the İzmir Province, province of the same name. It is the list of cities in Turkey, third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara; ...

İzmir
and
Bodrum Bodrum () is a port city and the center of the eponymous district of in southwestern . It is located on the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, at the entrance into the . The population of the town center of Bodrum was 35,795 in the 2012 census. ...

Bodrum
in Turkey. The Aegean Sea groundwater itself has a high salinity content leading one to think that the soil would be infertile due to the volcanic region, but actually has an equilibrium with its soil content structure making it able to grow fertile crops on land that would seem infertile. A number of issues concerning sovereignty within the Aegean Sea are disputed between Greece and Turkey. The
Aegean dispute The Aegean dispute is a set of interrelated controversies between Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; A ...
has had a large effect on Greek-Turkish relations since the 1970s. Issues include the delimitation of
territorial waters The term territorial waters is sometimes used informally to refer to any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the ...
,
national airspace National may refer to: Common uses * Nation or country ** Nationality – a ''national'' is a person who is subject to a nation, regardless of whether the person has full rights as a citizen ** National (distribution), a type of product or publi ...
, exclusive economic zones and
flight information region 300px, A map showing the borders of the United States' flight information regions as well as that of Canada and other neighboring nations. In aviation, a flight information region (FIR) is a specified region of airspace in which a flight informatio ...
s.


Name and etymology

Late Latin authors referred the name ''Aegaeus'' to
Aegeus In , Aegeus (; grc, Αἰγεύς, Aigeús, also spelled ) was an archaic figure in the of . The "goat-man" who gave his name to the was, next to , the father of , the founder of Athenian institutions and one of the . Family Aegeus was the s ...
, whom they said to have jumped into that sea (instead of jumping from the Athenian acropolis, as told by some Greek authors). He was the father of
Theseus Theseus (, ; grc-gre, Θησεύς ) was the myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans ...

Theseus
, the mythical king and founder-hero of
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
. Aegeus had told Theseus to put up white sails when returning if he was successful in killing the
Minotaur In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature ...

Minotaur
. When Theseus returned, he forgot these instructions, and Aegeus thinking his son to have died then drowned himself in the sea. The sea was known in Latin as ''Aegaeum mare'' under the control of the Roman Empire. The
Venetians Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...
, who ruled many Greek islands in the
High High may refer to: People with the name * High (surname) Science, technology and economics * Height * High (atmospheric), a high-pressure area * High (computability), a quality of a Turing degree, in computability theory * High (technical analy ...
and
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical com ...
, popularized the name ''Archipelago'' (Greek: αρχιπέλαγος, meaning "main sea" or "chief sea"), a name that held on in many European countries until the
early modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
. In the
South Slavic languages The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches (West Slavic lang ...
, the Aegean is called ''White Sea'' (Bulgarian: /; Macedonian: /; Serbo-Croatian: /). The Turkish name for the sea is ''Ege Denizi,'' derived from the Greek name.


Geography

The Aegean Sea is an elongated
embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a Gulf (geography), gulf, sea, sound (geography), sound, or bight (geogr ...

embayment
of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, and covers about in area, measuring about longitudinally and latitudinal. The sea's maximum depth is , located at a point east of
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
. The
Aegean Islands The Aegean Islands ( el, Νησιά Αιγαίου, Nisiá Aigaíou; tr, Ege Adaları) are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between ...
are found within its waters, with the following islands delimiting the sea on the south, generally from west to east:
Kythera Kythira (, ; el, Κύθηρα, , also transliterated as Cythera, Kythera and Kithira) is an Greek islands, island in Greece lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is traditionally listed as one of the seven main Ion ...
,
Antikythera Antikythera or Anticythera ( ) is a Greek island lying on the edge of the Aegean Sea, between Crete and Peloponnese. In antiquity the island was known as (). Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Kythira i ...

Antikythera
,
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
,
Kasos Kasos (; el, Κάσος, ), also Casos, is a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europ ...
,
Karpathos Karpathos ( el, Κάρπαθος, ), also Carpathos, is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Together with the neighboring smaller Saria Island it forms the municipality of Karpathos, which is part of ...
and
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the sout ...

Rhodes
. The Anatolian peninsula marks the eastern boundary of the sea, while the Greek mainland marks the west. Several seas are contained within the Aegean Sea; the
Thracian Sea image:Map of the Aegean Sea.jpg, 250px, Map of the Aegean Sea. The Thracian Sea can be seen at the top. The Thracian Sea ( el, Θρακικό Πέλαγος, ''Thrakiko Pelagos''; tr, Trakya Denizi) is the northernmost part of the Aegean Sea. I ...

Thracian Sea
is a section of the Aegean located to the north, the
Icarian Sea 250px, Map of the Aegean Sea. Icarian Sea is shown at its right. The Icarian Sea ( el, Ικάριο Πέλαγος, ''Ikario Pelagos'') is a subdivision of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, s ...
to the east, the
Myrtoan Sea The Myrtoan Sea (also Mirtoan Sea; el, Mυρτώο Πέλαγος, ''Myrtoo Pelagos'' ) is a subdivision of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on th ...
to the west, while the
Sea of Crete 300px, Map of the Sea of Crete The Sea of Crete (, ''Kritiko Pelagos''), or Cretan Sea, is a sea, part of the Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated embayment A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that direc ...
is the southern section. The Greek regions that border the sea, in alphabetical order, are
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
,
Central Greece Continental Greece ( el, Στερεά Ελλάδα, ''Stereá Elláda''; formerly , ''Chérsos Ellás''), colloquially known as Roúmeli (Ρούμελη), is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic region of Greece. In English the ...

Central Greece
,
Central Macedonia Central Macedonia ( el, Κεντρική Μακεδονία, Kentrikí Makedonía, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, consisting of the central part of the geographical and historical region of Macedonia (Greece), Macedo ...

Central Macedonia
, Crete,
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Eastern Macedonia and Thrace ( el, Ανατολική Μακεδονία και Θράκη, translit=Anatolikí Makedhonía ke Thráki, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece The administrative divisions of Greece, admi ...
,
North Aegean The North Aegean Region ( el, Περιφέρεια Βορείου Αιγαίου, translit=Periféria Voríou Eyéou, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, and the smallest of the thirteen by population. It comprises the isla ...
,
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the ...
,
South Aegean The South Aegean ( el, Περιφέρεια Νοτίου Αιγαίου, translit=Periféria Notíou Eyéou, ) is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece The administrative divisions of Greece, administrative regions of Greec ...
, and
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
. The historical region of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
also borders the sea, to the north. The Aegean Islands, which almost all belong to
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, can be divided into seven groups: # Northeastern Aegean Islands, which lie in the
Thracian Sea image:Map of the Aegean Sea.jpg, 250px, Map of the Aegean Sea. The Thracian Sea can be seen at the top. The Thracian Sea ( el, Θρακικό Πέλαγος, ''Thrakiko Pelagos''; tr, Trakya Denizi) is the northernmost part of the Aegean Sea. I ...

Thracian Sea
# # Northern
Sporades The (Northern) Sporades (; el, Βόρειες Σποράδες, , ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small ...
#
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the Node (ne ...

Cyclades
#
Saronic Islands The Saronic Islands or Argo-Saronic Islands is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islan ...
(or ''Argo-Saronic Islands'') #
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...

Dodecanese
(or ''Southern Sporades'') #
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
Many of the Aegean islands or island chains, are geographically extensions of the mountains on the mainland. One chain extends across the sea to Chios, another extends across Euboea to Samos, and a third extends across the Peloponnese and Crete to Rhodes, dividing the Aegean from the Mediterranean. The bays and gulfs of the Aegean beginning at the South and moving clockwise include on Crete, the Mirabello,
Almyros Almyros or Halmyros ( el, Αλμυρός, , , ) is a town and a municipality of the regional units of Greece, regional unit of Magnesia (regional unit), Magnesia, modern regions of Greece, region of Thessaly, Greece. It lies in the center of prospe ...
,
Souda Souda ( el, Σούδα) is a town and former municipality in the Chania regional unit, Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, : , : '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the , the largest island in the world and the largest island ...

Souda
and
Chania Chania ( el, Χανιά ; vec, La Canea) is a city in Greece and the capital of the Chania (regional unit), Chania regional unit. It lies along the north west coast of the island Crete, about west of Rethymno and west of Heraklion. The mun ...
bays or gulfs, on the mainland the
Myrtoan Sea The Myrtoan Sea (also Mirtoan Sea; el, Mυρτώο Πέλαγος, ''Myrtoo Pelagos'' ) is a subdivision of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on th ...
to the west with the
Argolic GulfThe Argolic Gulf (), also known as the Gulf of Argolis or Gulf of Nafplio, is a Bay, gulf of the Aegean Sea off the east coast of the Peloponnese, Greece. It is about 50 km long and 30 km wide. Its main port is Nafplio, at its northwestern ...

Argolic Gulf
, the
Saronic Gulf The Saronic Gulf (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...

Saronic Gulf
northwestward, the
Petalies Gulf The Petalioi Gulf ( el, Κόλπος Πεταλιών - ''Kolpos Petalion'') is a gulf of the Aegean Sea, Greece. It stretches between the east coast of Attica and the south tip of the island Euboea. It takes its name from the Petalioi islands, tha ...
which connects with the South Euboic Sea, the
Pagasetic Gulf frame, Map showing Magnesia within Greece The Pagasetic Gulf ( el, Παγασητικός κόλπος, Pagasitikós kólpos) is a rounded gulf (max. depth 102 metres) in the Magnesia regional unit (east central Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδ ...
which connects with the North Euboic Sea, the
Thermian Gulf The Thermaic Gulf (), also called the Gulf of Salonika and the Macedonian Gulf, is a Gulf (geography), gulf constituting the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. The city of Thessaloniki is at its northeastern tip, and it is bounded by Pieria (re ...
northwestward, the
Chalkidiki Chalkidiki (; el, Χαλκιδική, Halkidhikí, ) also spelled ''Chalkidike'', ''Chalcidice'', ''Khalkidhiki'', or ''Halkidiki'', is a peninsula and regional units of Greece, regional unit of Greece, part of the region of Central Macedonia, in ...
Peninsula including the
Cassandra Cassandra or Kassandra (Ancient Greek: Κασσάνδρα, , also ), (sometimes referred to as Alexandra), was a Trojan priestess of Apollo in Greek mythology cursed to utter true prophecy, prophecies, but never to be believed. In modern usage he ...
and the Singitic Gulfs, northward the Strymonian Gulf and the Gulf of Kavala and the rest are in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
; Saros Gulf, Edremit (District), Balıkesir, Edremit Gulf, Dikili Gulf, Gulf of Çandarlı, Gulf of İzmir, Gulf of Kuşadası, Gulf of Gökova, Güllük Gulf. The Aegean sea is connected to the Sea of Marmara by the
Dardanelles satellite in September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The Dardanelles is the tapered waterway running diagonally between the two seas, from the northeast to the ...
, also known from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont. The Dardanelles are located to the northeast of the sea. It ultimately connects with the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
through the Bosporus, Bosphoros strait, upon which lies the city of Istanbul. The Dardanelles and the Bosphoros are known as the Turkish Straits.


Extent

According to the International Hydrographic Organization, the limits of the Aegean Sea as follows: * On the south: A line running from Cape Aspro (28°16′E) in Asia Minor, to Cum Burnù (Capo della Sabbia) the Northeast extreme of the Island of
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος, translit=Ródos ) is the largest of the Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands in the sout ...

Rhodes
, through the island to Cape Prasonisi, the Southwest point thereof, on to Vrontos Point (35°33′N) in Skarpanto [
Karpathos Karpathos ( el, Κάρπαθος, ), also Carpathos, is the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Together with the neighboring smaller Saria Island it forms the municipality of Karpathos, which is part of ...
], through this island to Castello Point, the South extreme thereof, across to Cape Plaka (East extremity of Crete), through Crete to Agria Grabusa, the Northwest extreme thereof, thence to Cape Apolitares in Antikythera, Antikithera Island, through the island to Psira Rock (off the Northwest point) and across to Cape Trakhili in Kythira, Kithera Island, through Kithera to the Northwest point (Cape Karavugia) and thence to Cape Santa Maria () in the Morea. * In the Dardanelles: A line joining Kum Kale (26°11′E) and Cape Helles.


Hydrography

Aegean surface water circulates in a counterclockwise Ocean gyre, gyre, with hypersaline Mediterranean water moving northward along the west coast of
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
, before being displaced by less dense
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
outflow. The dense Mediterranean water sinks below the Black Sea inflow to a depth of , then flows through the Dardanelles Strait and into the Sea of Marmara at velocities of . The Black Sea outflow moves westward along the northern Aegean Sea, then flows southwards along the east coast of Greece. The physical oceanography of the Aegean Sea is controlled mainly by the regional climate, the fresh water discharge from major rivers draining southeastern Europe, and the seasonal variations in the Black Sea surface water outflow through the Dardanelles Strait. Analysis of the Aegean during 1991 and 1992 revealed three distinct water masses: * Aegean Sea Surface Water – thick veneer, with summer temperatures of 21–26 °C and winter temperatures ranging from in the north to in the south. * Aegean Sea Intermediate Water – Aegean Sea Intermediate Water extends from 40 to 50 m to with temperatures ranging from 11 to 18 °C. * Aegean Sea Bottom Water – occurring at depths below 500–1000 m with a very uniform temperature (13–14 °C) and salinity (3.91–3.92%).


Climate

The climate of the Aegean Sea largely reflects the climate of Greece and Western Turkey, which is to say, predominately Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean. According to the Köppen climate classification, most of the Aegean is classified as Mediterranean climate, Hot-summer Mediterranean (''Csa''), with hotter and drier summers along with milder and wetter winters. However, high temperatures during summers are generally not quite as high as those in arid or semiarid climates due to the presence of a large body of water. This is most predominant in the west and east coasts of the Aegean, and within the Aegean islands. In the north of the Aegean Sea, the climate is instead classified as Semi-arid climate, Cold semi-arid ''(BSk)'', which feature cooler summers than Hot-summer Mediterranean climates. The Etesian winds are a dominant weather influence in the Aegean Basin. The below table lists climate conditions of some major Aegean cities:


Population

Numerous Greek and Turkish settlements are located along their mainland coast, as well as on towns on the Aegean islands. The largest cities are Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece and İzmir in Turkey. The most populated of the Aegean islands is Crete, followed by Euboea and Rhodes.


Biogeography and ecology


Protected Areas

Greece has established several marine protected areas along its coasts. According to the Network of Managers of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean (MedPAN), four Greek MPAs are participating in the Network. These include Alonnisos Marine Park, while the Missolonghi–Aitoliko Lagoons and the island of Zakynthos are not on the Aegean.


History


Ancient history

The current coastline dates back to about 4000 BC. Before that time, at the peak of the last glacial period, last ice age (about 18,000 years ago) sea levels everywhere were 130 metres lower, and there were large well-watered coastal plains instead of much of the northern Aegean. When they were first occupied, the present-day islands including
Milos Milos or Melos (; el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, inc ...

Milos
with its important obsidian production were probably still connected to the mainland. The present coastal arrangement appeared around 9,000 years ago, with post-ice age sea levels continuing to rise for another 3,000 years after that. The subsequent Bronze Age civilizations of Greece and the Aegean Sea have given rise to the general term ''Aegean civilization''. In ancient times, the sea was the birthplace of two ancient civilizations – the Minoan civilization, Minoans of Crete and the Mycenaean Greece, Myceneans of the Peloponnese. The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands, flourishing from around 3000 to 1450 BC before a period of decline, finally ending at around 1100 BC. It represented the first advanced civilization in Europe, leaving behind massive building complexes, tools, stunning artwork, writing systems, and a massive network of trade. The Minoan period saw extensive trade between Crete, Aegean, and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. The most notable Minoan palace is that of Knossos, followed by that of Phaistos. The Mycenaean Greeks arose on the mainland, becoming the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, which lasted from approximately 1600 to 1100 BC. It is believed that the site of Mycenae, which sits close to the Aegean coast, was the center of Mycenaean civilization. The Mycenaeans introduced several innovations in the fields of engineering, architecture and military infrastructure, while trade over vast areas of the Mediterranean, including the Aegean, was essential for the Mycenaean economy. Their syllabic script, the Linear B, offers the first written records of the Greek language and Mycenaean religion, their religion already included several deities that can also be found in the Twelve Olympians, Olympic Pantheon. Mycenaean Greece was dominated by a warrior elite society and consisted of a network of palace-centered states that developed rigid hierarchical, political, social and economic systems. At the head of this society was the king, known as ''wanax''. The civilization of Mycenaean Greeks perished with the Late Bronze Age collapse, collapse of Bronze Age culture in the eastern Mediterranean, to be followed by the so-called Greek Dark Ages. It is undetermined what cause the collapse of the Mycenaeans. During the Greek Dark Ages, writing in the Linear B script ceased, vital trade links were lost, and towns and villages were abandoned.


Ancient Greece

The Archaic Greece, Archaic period followed the Greek Dark Ages in the 8th century BC. Greece became divided into small self-governing communities, and adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. By the 6th century BC several cities had emerged as dominant in Greek affairs: Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Greece, Corinth, and Thebes (Greece), Thebes, of which Athens, Sparta, and Corinth were closest to the Aegean Sea. Each of them had brought the surrounding rural areas and smaller towns under their control, and Athens and Corinth had become major maritime and mercantile powers as well. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC many Greeks emigrated to form Colonies in antiquity, colonies in Magna Graecia (Southern Italy and Sicily), Asia Minor and further afield. The Aegean Sea was the setting for one of the most pivotal naval engagements in history, when on September 20, 480 B.C. the Athenian fleet gained a decisive victory over the Persian fleet of the Xerxes II of Persia at the Battle of Salamis. Thus ending any further attempt of western expansion by the Achaemenid Empire. The Aegean Sea would later come to be under the control, albeit briefly, of the Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Kingdom of Macedonia. Philip II of Macedon, Philip II and his son Alexander the Great led a series of conquests that led not only to the unification of the Greek mainland and the control of the Aegean Sea under his rule, but also the destruction of the Achaemenid Empire. After Alexander the Great's death, his empire was divided among his generals. Cassander became king of the Hellenistic kingdom of Macedon, which held territory along the western coast of the Aegean, roughly corresponding to modern-day Greece. The Kingdom of Lysimachus had control over the sea's eastern coast. Greece had entered the Hellenistic period.


Roman rule

The Macedonian Wars were a series of conflicts fought by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies in the eastern Mediterranean against several different major Greek kingdoms. They resulted in Roman control or influence over the eastern Mediterranean basin, including the Aegean, in addition to their hegemony in the western Mediterranean after the Punic Wars. During Roman rule, the land around the Aegean Sea fell under the provinces of Achaea (Roman province), Achaea, Macedonia (Roman province), Macedonia, Thracia, Asia (Roman province), Asia and Crete and Cyrenaica, Creta et Cyrenica (island of Crete)


Medieval period

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire allowed its successor state, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, to continue Roman control over the Aegean Sea. However, their territory would later be threatened by the Early Muslim conquests initiated by Muhammad in the 7th century. Although the Rashidun Caliphate did not manage to obtain land along the coast of the Aegean sea, its conquest of the Eastern Anatolian peninsula as well as Egypt, the Levant, and North Africa left the Byzantine Empire weakened. The Umayyad Caliphate expanded the territorial gains of the Rashidun Caliphate, conquering much of North Africa, and threatened the Byzantine Empire's control of Western Anatolia, where it meets the Aegean Sea. During the 820s, Crete was conquered by a group of Berbers Al-Andalus, Andalusians exiles led by Abu Hafs Umar al-Iqritishi, and it became an independent Islamic state. The Byzantine Empire launched a campaign that took most of the island back in 842 and 843 under Theoktistos, but the reconquest was not completed and was soon reversed. Later attempts by the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
to recover the island were without success. For the approximately 135 years of its existence, the emirate of Crete was one of the major foes of Byzantium. Crete commanded the sea lanes of the Eastern Mediterranean and functioned as a forward base and haven for Muslim corsair fleets that ravaged the Byzantine-controlled shores of the Aegean Sea. Crete returned to Byzantine rule under Nikephoros II, Nikephoros Phokas, who launched a huge campaign against the Emirate of Crete in 960 to 961. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Empire threatened Byzantine control of Northern Greece and the Aegean coast to the south. Under Presian I of Bulgaria, Presian I and his successor Boris I of Bulgaria, Boris I, the Bulgarian Empire managed to obtain a small portion of the northern Aegean coast. Simeon I of Bulgaria led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion, and managed to conqueror much of the northern and western coasts of the Aegean. The Byzantines later regained control. The Second Bulgarian Empire achieved similar success along, again, the northern and western coasts, under Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria. The Seljuq Turks, under the Seljuk Empire, invaded the Byzantine Empire in 1068, from which they annexed almost all the territories of Anatolia, including the east coast of the Aegean Sea, during the reign of Alp Arslan, the second Sultan of the Seljuk Empire. After the death of his successor, Malik Shah I, the empire was divided, and Malik Shah was succeeded in Anatolia by Kilij Arslan I, who founded the Sultanate of Rum. The Byzantines yet again recaptured the eastern coast of the Aegean. After Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
, the area around the Aegean sea was fragmented into multiple entities, including the Latin Empire, the Kingdom of Thessalonica, the Empire of Nicaea, the Principality of Achaea, and the Duchy of Athens. The Venetians created the maritime state of the Duchy of the Archipelago, which included all the Cyclades except Mykonos and Tinos. The Empire of Nicaea, a Byzantine rump state, managed to effect the Recapture of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 and defeat Epirus. Byzantine successes were not to last; the Ottomans would conquer the area around the Aegean coast, but before their expansion the Byzantine Empire had already been weakened from internal conflict. By the late 14th century the Byzantine Empire had lost all control of the coast of the Aegean Sea and could exercise power around their capital, Constantinople. The Ottoman Empire then gained control of all the Aegean coast with the exception of Crete, which was a Venetian colony until 1669.


Modern Period

The
Greek War of Independence The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution of 1821 or Greek Revolution ( el, Ελληνική Επανάσταση, ''Elliniki Epanastasi''; referred to by Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''É ...
allowed a Greek state on the coast of the Aegean from 1829 onward. The Ottoman Empire held a presence over the sea for over 500 years until its Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, dissolution following World War I, when it was replaced by modern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
. During the war, Greece gained control over the area around the northern coast of the Aegean. By the 1930s, Greece and Turkey had about resumed their present-day borders. In the Italo-Turkish War of 1912, Italy captured the Dodecanese islands, and had occupied them since, reneging on the 1919 Eleftherios Venizelos, Venizelos–Tommaso Tittoni, Tittoni agreement to cede them to Greece. The Greco-Italian War took place from October 1940 to April 1941 as part of the Balkans Campaign (World War II), Balkans Campaign of World War II. The Italian war aim was to establish a Greek puppet state, which would permit the Italian annexation of the
Sporades The (Northern) Sporades (; el, Βόρειες Σποράδες, , ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small ...
and the
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the Node (ne ...

Cyclades
islands in the Aegean Sea, to be administered as a part of the Italian Aegean Islands. The German invasion resulted in the Axis occupation of Greece. The German troops evacuated Athens on 12 October 1944, and by the end of the month, they had withdrawn from mainland Greece. Greece was then liberated by Allied troops.


Economy and politics

Many of the islands in the Aegean have safe harbours and bays. In ancient times, navigation through the sea was easier than travelling across the rough terrain of the Greek mainland, and to some extent, the coastal areas of Anatolia. Many of the islands are Volcano, volcanic, and marble and iron are mined on other islands. The larger islands have some fertile valleys and plains. Of the main islands in the Aegean Sea, two belong to Turkey – Bozcaada (Tenedos) and Gökçeada (Imbros); the rest belong to Greece. Between the two countries, there are Aegean dispute, political disputes over several aspects of political control over the Aegean space, including the size of territorial waters, air control and the delimitation of economic rights to the continental shelf. These issues are known as the
Aegean dispute The Aegean dispute is a set of interrelated controversies between Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; A ...
.


Transport

Multiple ports are located along the Greek and Turkish coasts of the Aegean Sea. The port of Piraeus in Athens is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the third largest in the world, World's busiest port#Busiest passenger ports, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million Twenty-foot equivalent unit, TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. Piraeus is also the commercial hub of Greek shipping. Piraeus bi-annually acts as the focus for a major shipping convention, known as Posidonia, which attracts maritime industry professionals from all over the world. Piraeus is currently Greece's third-busiest port in terms of tons of goods transported, behind Aghioi Theodoroi and Port of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki. The central port serves ferry routes to almost every island in the eastern portion of Greece, the island of Crete, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, and much of the northern and the eastern Aegean Sea, while the western part of the port is used for cargo services. As of 2007, the Port of Thessaloniki was the second-largest container port in Greece after the port of Piraeus, making it one of the busiest ports in Greece. In 2007, the Port of Thessaloniki handled 14,373,245 tonnes of cargo and 222,824 Twenty-foot equivalent unit, TEU's. Paloukia, on the island of Salamis Island, Salamis, is a major passenger port.


Fishing

Fish are Greece's second-largest agricultural export, and Greece has Europe's largest fishing fleet. Fish captured include Sardines as food, sardines, Mackerel as food, mackerel, grouper, grey mullets, sea bass, and Sparidae, seabream. There is a considerable difference between fish catches between the pelagic and demersal zones; with respect to pelagic fisheries, the catches from the northern, central and southern Aegean area groupings are dominated, respectively, by anchovy, Trachurus, horse mackerels, and boops. For demersal fisheries, the catches from the northern and southern Aegean area groupings are dominated by Mullet (fish), grey mullets and Spicara smaris, pickerel (''Spicara smaris'') respectively. The industry has been impacted by the Great Recession. Overfishing and habitat destruction is also a concern, threatening grouper, and Sparidae, seabream populations, resulting in perhaps a 50% decline of fish catch. To address these concerns, Greek fishermen have been offered a compensation by the government. Although some species are defined as protected or threatened under EU legislation, several illegal species such as the molluscs ''Pinna nobilis'', ''Charonia tritonis'' and ''Lithophaga lithophaga'', can be bought in restaurants and fish markets around Greece.


Tourism

The Aegean islands within the Aegean Sea are significant tourist destinations. Tourism to the Aegean islands contributes a significant portion of tourism in Greece, especially since the second half of the 20th century. A total of five UNESCO World Heritage Site, World Heritage sites are located the Aegean Islands; these include the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on
Patmos Patmos ( el, Πάτμος, ) is a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
, the Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos in Samos, the Nea Moni of Chios, the island of
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
, and the Rhodes (city), Medieval City of Rhodes. Greece is one of the World Tourism rankings#Europe, most visited countries in Europe and the world with over 33 million visitors in 2018, and the tourism industry around a quarter of Greece's Gross Domestic Product. The islands of Santorini, Crete, Lesbos, Delos, and Mykonos are common tourist destinations. An estimated 2 million tourists visit Santorini annually. However, concerns relating to overtourism have arisen in recent years, such as issues of inadequate infrastructure and overcrowding. Alongside Greece, Turkey has also been successful in developing resort areas and attracting large number of tourists, contributing to tourism in Turkey. The phrase "Blue Cruise" refers to recreational voyages along the Turkish Riviera, including across the Aegean. The ancient city of Troy, a World Heritage Site, is on the Turkish coast of the Aegean. Greece and Turkey both take part in the Blue Flag beach certification programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education. The certification is awarded for beaches and marinas meeting strict quality standards including environmental protection, water quality, safety and services criteria. As of 2015, the Blue Flag has been awarded to 395 beaches and 9 marinas in Greece. Southern Aegean beaches on the Turkish coast include Muğla, with 102 beaches awarded with the blue flag, along with
İzmir Izmir ( , ; tr, İzmir, ) is a metropolitan city in the western extremity of Anatolia, capital of the İzmir Province, province of the same name. It is the list of cities in Turkey, third most populous city in Turkey, after Istanbul and Ankara; ...

İzmir
and
Aydın Aydın ( ''EYE-din''; ; formerly named ''Güzelhisar''), Ancient and Modern Greek Τράλλεις /''Tralleis/,'' is a city in and the seat of Aydın Province Aydın Province ( tr, ) is a province of southwestern Turkey Turkey ( tr, T ...
, who have 49 and 30 beaches awarded respectively.


See also

* Exclusive economic zone of Greece * Geography of Turkey * List of Greek place names


References


External links

* {{Authority control Aegean Sea, Seas of Greece Seas of Turkey Marginal seas of the Mediterranean European seas Seas of Asia Landforms of Çanakkale Province Landforms of Muğla Province Landforms of İzmir Province Landforms of Balıkesir Province Landforms of Edirne Province Landforms of Aydın Province