|Sea of Marmara|
Map of the Sea of Marmara
|Location||Europe and Asia|
|Primary inflows||Simav River, Biga Çayı, Nilüfer River|
|Primary outflows||Turkish Straits|
|Catchment area||11,500 km2 (4,400 sq mi)|
|Surface area||11,350 km2 (4,380 sq mi)|
|Average depth||494 m (1,621 ft)|
|Max. depth||1,370 m (4,490 ft)|
|Water volume||3,378 km3 (810 cu mi)|
|Islands||Marmara Island, Avşa, İmralı, Prince Islands, Paşalimanı and Ekinlik Island|
|Settlements||Istanbul, Bursa, İzmit, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, and Yalova|
The Sea of Marmara (//; 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).Its greatest depth is 1,370 m (4,490 ft).
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.
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 Merranean 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 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.
Towns and cities on the Marmara Sea coast include:
|Istanbul Province||Balıkesir Province||Kocaeli Province||Yalova Province|
Sea of Marmara approaching Yassıada
View of the Marmara Sea from Yeşilköy
View of the Marmara Sea from Kadıköy