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Europe > Black Sea

Black Sea

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The Black Sea and the major coastal cities

The Black Sea lies southeast of Europe. Clockwise from the west, it borders the following regions:

Most of the regions above are known for their beaches and resort towns. Turkey is an exception to a large extent; its warmer Mediterranean coast is much more famous.

To the north, the Strait of Kerch connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov (bordering Eastern Ukraine and Russia's Rostov Oblast in addition to some of the regions listed above), which may or may not be considered a part of the Black Sea, while to the south, it is connected by the Bosphorus to the Sea of Marmara (and by extension the Mediterranean). Navigable inland waterways also connect the Black Sea to the North Sea (through the DanubeRhine system) and the Baltic, White, and Caspian Seas through a series of rivers, canals, and lakes in Russia.

The Black Sea had formed a central point of human history and cultural exchange for millenia: The steppelands north of the sea in what is now Ukraine are widely considered to be the ancient homeland of the Indo-European speaking nations. Later on, the ancient Greek sailors followed a rigorous colonization policy along its coasts during their pursuit of the famed golden fleece, founding many of the cities that line the Black Sea to this day. The Via Pontica was a major Roman road following the western rim of the sea between Byzantium/Constantinople and the Danube Delta. During the Middle Ages, the ships plying its waters back and forth between Romania and Trebizond provided the link between Europe and Persia (and beyond).

After the end of the Cold War-era restrictions for western travellers (except Turkey, the sea was completely surrounded by Soviet allies or the Soviet Union itself), more and more travellers, including families with children, started to attempt to encircle the Black Sea, although this may not be always possible due to the political conflicts in the area (e.g., Transnistria, Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, and Abkhazia) and the consequent border closures. Jules Verne's 1883 novel Kéraban-the-Inflexible depicts one such journey through the eyes of a Dutchman, lead by his host Kéraban, an Ottoman trader who did not simply hire a boat to take his guest to his home across the narrow Bosphorus, but instead did a full tour around the Black Sea with him.

Holiday resorts and spas[edit]

The Swallow's Nest, an early 20th century neo-Gothic folly near Yalta, Crimea

In the years following the end of the Cold War, the popularity of the Black Sea as a tourist destination steadily increased. The following is a list of some of the notable Black Sea resort towns:

See also[edit]

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