The Black Sea (Marea Neagra)

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Frozen Black Sea|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY5Yl3ryxUw
Black Sea|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2tDLqgCmgA
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The Romanian Black Sea resort area stretches from Danube Delta in north down to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in south, along 275 km of coastline. The most important resort is Mamaia, situated north of the city of Constanta on a narrow land slice that separates the Black Sea from the Lake Siutghiol. Mamaia is a popular destination in summertime for Romanians and foreign tourists, as a result of a major investments program in tourism infrastructure. Other important resorts have names from the Roman and Greek mythology: Eforie Nord, Neptun, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Olimp, Eforie Sud, 2 Mai, Cap Aurora. Costinesti is the traditional students’ resort, while Vama Veche (in extreme south, at the border with Bulgaria) is a fishermen village well known for its particular ‘hippie’ atmosphere. The main cities in the region are Constanta (the biggest port of Romania and the second largest in Europe), Mangalia, Navodari and Sulina. In Tulcea County the greatest resort is Gura Portitei. The Romanian seaside is served by Constanţa Airport which is connected to the main European capitals through charter flights during the summer season.
 
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas and various straits. The Bosphorus Strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate Eastern Europe and western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.
 
The Black Sea has an area of 436,400 km2 (168,500 sq. miles) (not including the Sea of Azov), a maximum depth of 2,212 m (7,257 feet), and a volume of 547,000 km3 (131,200 cubic miles). The Black Sea forms in an east-west trending elliptical depression which lies between Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains to the south, the Caucasus Mountains to the east and features a wide shelf to the northwest. The longest east-west extent is about 1,175 km. Important cities along the Black Sea coast include Batumi, Burgas, Constanta, Giresun, Hopa, Kerch, Mangalia, Navodari, Novorossiysk, Odessa, Ordu, Poti, Rize, Samsun, Sevastopol, Sochi, Sukhumi, Trabzon, Varna, Yalta and Zonguldak.
 
The Black Sea has a positive water balance that is, a net outflow of water 300 km3 per year through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea. Mediterranean water flows into the Black Sea as part of a two-way hydrological exchange. The Black Sea outflow is cooler and less saline, and floats over the warm, more saline Mediterranean inflow – as a result of differences in density caused by differences in salinity – leading to a significant anoxic layer well below the surface waters. The Black Sea also receives river water from large Eurasian fluvial systems to the north of the Sea, of which the Don, Dnieper and Danube are the most significant.
 
In the past, the water level has varied significantly. Due to these variations in the water level in the basin the surrounding shelf and associated aprons have sometimes been land. At certain critical water levels it is possible for connections with surrounding water bodies to become established. It is through the most active of these connective routes, the Turkish Straits, that the Black Sea joins the world ocean. When this hydrological link is not present, the Black Sea is a lake, operating independently of the global ocean system. Currently the Black Sea water level is relatively high, thus water is being exchanged with the Mediterranean. The Turkish Straits connect the Black and Aegean Seas and comprise the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles.
 
Historical names
 
Strabo’s Geography reports that in antiquity, the Black Sea was often just called “the Sea” (ho pontos). For the most part, Greco Roman tradition refers to the Black Sea as the ‘Hospitable sea’, Pontos Euxeinos (Εὔξεινος Πόντος). This is a euphemism replacing an earlier ‘Inhospitable Sea’, Pontos Axeinos, first attested in Pindar (around 475 BC). Strabo was thinking that the Black Sea was called “inhospitable” before Greek colonization because it was difficult to navigate, and because its shores were inhabited by savage tribes. The name was changed to “hospitable” after the Milesians had colonized the southern shoreline, the Pontus, making it part of Greek civilization. It is also possible that the name Axeinos arose by popular etymology from a Scythian Iranic axšaina- ‘unlit,’ ‘dark’; the designation “Black Sea” may thus date from Antiquity. A map of Asia dating to 1570, entitled Asiae Nova Descriptio, from Ortelis’s Theatrum labels the sea “Mare Maggiore.” English-language writers of the 18th century often used the name “Euxine Sea” to refer to the Black Sea. Edward Gibbon, for instance, calls the sea by this name throughout The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
 
The Black Sea is connected to the World Ocean by a chain of two shallow straits, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is 55 m (180.45 ft) deep and the Bosphorus is as shallow as 36 m (118.11 ft). By comparison, at the height of the last ice age, sea levels were more than 100 m (328.08 ft) lower than they are now. There’s also evidence that water levels in the Black Sea, too, were considerably lower at some point during the post-glacial period. Thus, for example, archaeologists found fresh-water snail shells and man-made structures in roughly 328 feet (100 m) of water off the Black Sea coast of modern Turkey. Therefore it is agreed that the Black Sea has been a landlocked freshwater lake (at least in upper layers) during the last glaciation and for some time after.
 
In the aftermath of the Ice Age, water levels in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea rose independently until they were high enough to exchange water. The exact timeline of this development is still subject to debate. One possibility is that the Black Sea filled first, with excess fresh water flowing over the Bosphorus sill and eventually into the Mediterranean Sea. There are also catastrophic scenarios, such as the “Black Sea deluge theory” put forward by William Ryan and Walter Pitman.
 
Deluge hypothesis
 
In 1997, William Ryan and Walter Pitman from Columbia University published a hypothesis according to which a massive flood through the Bosphorus occurred in ancient times. They claim that the Black and Caspian Seas were vast freshwater lakes, but then about 5600 BC, the Mediterranean spilled over a rocky sill at the Bosphorus, creating the current communication between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Subsequent work has been done both to support and to discredit this hypothesis, and archaeologists still debate it. This has led some to associate this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.
 
History
 
The Black Sea was a busy waterway on the crossroads of the ancient world: the Balkans to the West, the Eurasian steppes to the north, Caucasus and Central Asia to the East, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the south, and Greece to the south-west. The oldest processed gold in the world, arguably left by Old Europeans, was found in Varna, and the Black Sea was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis, (now Georgia), marked for the Greeks the edge of the known world. The steppes to the north of the Black Sea have been suggested as the original homeland of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, the progenitor of the Indo-European language family, by some scholars such as Kurgan while others move the heartland further east towards the Caspian Sea, yet others to Anatolia. Numerous ancient ports, some older than the Egyptian pyramids, line the Black Sea’s coasts.
 
The Black Sea became an Ottoman Navy lake within five years of Genoa losing the Crimea in 1479, after which the only Western merchant vessels to sail its waters were those of Venice’s old rival Dubrovnik. This restriction was gradually changed by the Russian Navy from 1783 until the relaxation of export controls in 1789 because of the French Revolution. The Black Sea was a significant naval theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II.
 
Archaeology
 
Ancient trade routes in the region are currently being extensively studied by scientists, as the Black Sea was sailed by Hittites, Carians, Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Varangians, Crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Lithuanians, Georgians, Poles, Tatars, Ottomans, and Russians. Perhaps the most promising areas in deep water archaeology are the quest for submerged prehistoric settlements in the continental shelf and for ancient shipwrecks in the anoxic zone, which are expected to be exceptionally well preserved due to the absence of oxygen. This concentration of historical powers, combined with the preservative qualities of the deep anoxic waters of the Black Sea, has attracted increased interest from marine archaeologists who have begun to discover a large number of ancient ships and organic remains in a high state of preservation.
 
Black Sea Resorts
 
Warm climate, miles of sand beaches, ancient monuments, vineyards and modern resorts invite travelers to seriously consider Romania’s Black Sea Coast as their summer vacation destination. Beaches, stretching from Mangalia to Mamaia, are dotted with fine resorts and hotels, and countless sports and entertainment facilities. Remnants of ancient Greek culture as far back as the 7th Century, BC, when seafarers established trading colonies along the coast, are still being discovered. Romania’s main sea resorts are centred on 45 miles of fine sand beaches and include Mamaia, Eforie, Neptun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mangalia.
 
The Black Sea coast has long been known for cures of arthritic, rheumatic, internal and nervous disorders. Eforie Nord and Mangalia Spas specialize in mud baths (the mud is taken from the area’s salty lake waters) as well as in world famous “Gerovital” and “Aslavital” original rejuvenation treatments. Vacationers at Romania’s Black Sea Coast can also join organized trips from the seaside to a number of locations in the country, including the Danube Delta, the painted monasteries of Bucovina, to the nation’s capital city, Bucharest, or to nearby Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

Litoralul romanesc al Marii Negre se intinde de la Delta Dunarii la nord in jos pana la coasta bulgareasca a Marii Negre la sud, pe o lungime costiera de 275 km. Cea mai importanta statiune turistica este Mamaia, situata la nord de orasul Constanta pe o fasie ingusta de pamant care separa Marea Neagra de lacul Siutghiol. Mamaia este o destinatie populara in timpul verii atat pentru turistii romani cati si pentru turistii straini, in special in urma unui program de investitii majore in infrastructura turistica. Alte statiuni importante poarta nume din mitologia romana si greaca: Eforie Nord, Neptun, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Olimp, Eforie Sud, 2 Mai, Cap Aurora. Costinesti este statiunea traditionala a studentilor, in timp ce Vama Veche (in extrema sudica, langa granita cu Bulgaria) este un sat pescaresc faimos pentru atmosfera sa ‘hippie’ specifica. Principalele orase din zona sunt Constanta (cel mai mare port al Romaniei si al doilea ca marime in Europa), Mangalia, Navodari si Sulina. In judetul Tulcea cea mai mare statiune este Gura Portitei. Litoralul romanesc este deservit de aeroportul Constanţa care este conectat cu marile capitale europene prin curse charter in perioada verii.
 
Marea Neagra este delimitata de Europa, Anatolia si muntii Caucaz si este in cele din urma conectata cu Oceanul Atlantic prin Marea Mediterana si Marea Egee si mai multe stramtori. Stramtoarea Bosfor o conecteaza cu Marea Marmara, iar Stramtoarea Dardanele o conecteaza cu Marea Egee si cu Marea Mediterana. Apele Marii Neagre separa Europa de Est de partea vestica a Asiei. Marea Neagra este de asemenea conectata cu Marea Azov prin Stramtoarea Kerci.
 
Marea Neagra are o suprafata de 436,400 km2 (168,500 mile patrate) (fara a include aici Marea Azov), o adancime maxima de 2,212 m (7,257 picioare), si un volum de 547,000 km3 (131,200 mile cubice). Marea Neagra formeaza o depresiune eliptica de la est spre vest care se intinde intre Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Rusia, Turcia, si Ucraina. Este delimitata de Muntii Pontici la sud, Muntii Caucaz la est si prezinta o imensa zona stancoasa la nordvest. Cea mai mare lungime de la est la vest este de aproximativ 1,175 km.
Printre orasele importante aflate pe tarmul Marii Negre se numara Batumi, Burgas, Constanta, Giresun, Hopa, Kerci, Mangalia, Navodari, Novorossiysk, Odessa, Ordu, Poti, Rize, Samsun, Sevastopol, Sochi, Sukhumi, Trabzon, Varna, Yalta si Zonguldak.
Marea Neagra are un bilant pozitiv, deoarece in fiecare an un surplus de apa de aproximativ 300 km3 trece prin stramtorile Bosfor si Dardanele in Marea Egee. Apele Marii Mediterane de asemenea se revarsa si ele in apele Marii Negre ca parte a unui schimb hidrologic bidirectional. Apele Marii Neagre sunt mai reci si mai putin sarate, si plutesc deasupra apelor mai calde si mai sarate venite din Marea Mediterana – ca rezultat al diferentei in densitate cauzate de diferenta in salinitate – ducand la formarea unui strat anoxic important mult sub nivelul marii. Marea Neagra de asemenea primeste ape fluviale de la marile fluvii eurasiatice aflate la nord si est, din care Don, Nipru si Dunarea sunt cele mai importante.
 
In trecut, nivelul apei a variat semnificativ. Datorita acestor variatii ale nivelului apei in bazinul marii este posibil ca in unele locuri ale Marii Negre in trecut sa fi fost uscat. La un anumit nivel critic al apei este posibil ca legaturi cu alte zone cu apa din jurul Marii Negre sa fi fost stabilite. Totusi legatura cea mai activa se realizeaza prin Stramtorile Turcesti, prin care Marea Neagra este unita cu oceanul planetar. Cand aceasta legatura hidrologica nu este prezenta, Marea Neagra este un lac, operand independent de sistemul oceanului planetar. In prezent nivelul apei din Marea Neagra este relativ inalt, si astfel apele Marii Negre se afla intr-un schimb continuu cu apele Marii Mediterane. Stramtorile Turcesti unesc Marea Neagra si Marea Egee si includ stramtoarea Bosfor, Marea Marmara si stramtoarea Dardanele.
 
Nume istorice
 
Geografia lui Strabon spune ca in antichitate, Marea Neagra era deseori numita doar “Marea” (ho pontos). In majoritatea scrierilor antice Greco Romane se face referire la Marea Neagra ca la ‘Marea ospitliera’, Pontos Euxeinos (Εὔξεινος Πόντος). Acesta este un eufemism care inlocuieste un termen mai vechi de ‘Mare Inospitaliera’, Pontos Axeinos, mentionata de Pindar (in jurul anului 475 iChr). Strabo considera ca Marea Neagra era numita “inospitaliera” inainte de colonizarea greceasca deoarece era dificil de navigat, si deoarece tarmurile sale erau locuite de triburi salbatice. Numele a fost schimbat in “ospitaliera” dupa ce Milezienii au colonizat tarmul sudic, Pontus-ul, incluzandu-l in civilizatia greaca.
 
Este de asemenea posibil ca numele de Axeinos sa derive din etimologia populara dintr-un cuvant Scitic Iranic axšaina- ‘stins,’ ‘intunecat’; iar numele de “Marea Neagra” sa provina astfel din antichitate. O harta a Asiei datand din 1570, numita Asiae Nova Descriptio, din Teatrul Ortelis defineste aceasta mare ca “Marea cea Mare” sau “Mare Maggiore.” Scriitori de limba engleza din secolul 18 o numesc deseori ca “Marea Euxin” facand referire la Marea neagra. Edward Gibbon, de exemplu, numeste marea cu acest nume in Istoria, Declinul si Caderea Imperiului Roman.
 
Marea Neagra este unita cu Oceanul Planetar printr-un lant de doua stramtori mici, Dardanele si Bosfor. Stramtoarea Dardanele este de 55 m adancime iar stramtoarea Bosfor este adanca de cel mult 36 m. Prin comparatie, in perioada ultimei ere glaciare, nivelul marilor era cu peste 100 m mai scazut decat in prezent. Exista si alte dovezi ca nivelul apelor din Marea Neagra, de asemenea, era considerabil mai scazut in unele locuri in perioada post-glaciara. Astfel, de examplu, arheologii au descoperit in apa Marii Negre cochilii de melci de apa dulce si structuri realizate de om la aproximativ 328 picioare (100 m) departare de tarmul Turciei moderne. Prin urmare se considera ca Marea Neagra era in trecut un lac inchis de apa dulce (cel putin in straturile superioare) in timpul ultimei glaciatiuni si ulterior pentru inca o perioada.
 
La sfarsitul perioadei glaciare (Ice Age), nivelul apelor din Marea Neagra si Marea Egee au crescut independent unul de celalat pana cand au ajuns suficient de ridicate pentru a se realiza un schimb de ape. Perioada exacta a derularii acestor evenimente este inca subiect de dezbatere. Una din ipoteze este ca Marea Neagra s-a umplut prima, cu exces de apa proaspata curgand peste pragul Bosforului si eventual in Marea Mediterana. Exista si scenarii catastrofice, cum ar fi “teoria potopului Marii Negre” lansate de William Ryan si Walter Pitman.
 
Ipoteza Potopului
 
In 1997, William Ryan si Walter Pitman de la Universitatea Columbia au publicat o ipoteza conform careia o inundatie masiva a avut loc in zona Bosforului in antichitate. Ei afirma ca Marea Neagra si Marea Caspica erau lacuri de apa proaspata imense, insa in jurul anului 5600 iChr, Marea Mediterana s-a revarsat peste pragurile stancoase ale Bosforului, si a creat actuala cale de comunicare intre Marea Neagra si Marea Mediterana. Lucrări ulterioare au fost realizate pentru a sustine dar si pentru a discredita aceasta ipoteza, iar arheologii inca o dezbat. Aceste studii au condus la asocierea acestei catastrofe cu miturile stravechi ale Potopului.
 
Istoria
 
Marea Neagra era o ruta maritima foarte aglomerata aflata la rascrucea drumurilor antichitatii: Balcanii la Vest, stepele Eurasiei la nord, Muntii Caucaz si Asia Centrala la est, Asia Mica si Mesopotamia la sud, si Grecia la sud-vest. Cele mai vechi obiecte din aur prelucrat din lume, apartinand probabil Vechilor Europeni, au fost descoperite la Varna, iar Marea Neagra se presupune ca era navigata de Argonauti in cautarea Lanii de Aur. Tinutul aflat la estul Marii Negre, Colchis, (azi Georgia), era considerat de grecii antici a fi capatul lumii cunoscute. Stepele aflate la nordul Marii Negre se presupune ca au fost patria primilor vorbitori ai limbii Proto-Indo-Europene, stramosul familiei limbilor Indo-Europene, de catre unii oameni de stiinta cum ar fi Kurgan in timp ce altii muta aceasta zona mai la est spre Marea Caspica, iar altii catre Anatolia. Numeroase porturi antice, unele mai vechi decat piramidele egiptene, sunt amplasate de-a lungul tarmului Marii Negre.
 
Marea Neagra a devenit un lac Otoman la cinci ani dupa ce Genova a pierdut dominatia asupra peninsulei Crimeea in 1479, dupa care singurele nave comerciale din Europa care puteau naviga in apele Marii Negre erau cele ale vechilor rivali ai Venetiei din orasul Dubrovnik. Aceasta restrictie a fost treptat schimbata de Flota Ruseasca incepand cu anul 1783 pana la relaxarea controalelor asupra exporturilor in 1789 datorata Revolutiei Franceze. Marea Neagra a fost un important teatru pentru luptele navale care au avut loc in timpul primului Razboi Mondial cat si un important teatru pentru luptele navale si terestre care au avut loc in timpul celui de-al doilea Razboi Mondial.
 
Arheologia
 
Vechile rute comerciale din regiune sunt in prezent intens studiate de oamenii de stiinta, deoarece pe Marea Neagra au navigat Hititii, Carienii, Tracii, Grecii, Persii, Cimerienii, Scitii, Romanii, Bizantinii, Gotii, Hunii, Avarii, Bulgarii, Slavii, Varangienii, Cruciatii, Venetienii, Genovezii, Lituanienii, Georgienii, Polonezii, Tatarii, Otomanii, si Rusii. Probabil cele mai promitatoare zone pentru arheologia subacvatica sunt cele aflate in zona asezarilor antice, unele partial scufundate, din zona continentala, iar pentru naufragiile din antichitate, cele aflate in zonele anoxice, unde se presupune ca sunt conservate perfect datorita absentei oxigenului. Aceasta concentratie de puteri ale istoriei, combinata cu calitatile conservative ale apelor anoxice adanci ale Marii Negre, au generat un interes din ce in ce mai mare din partea arheologilor marini care au inceput sa descopere un mare numar de nave vechi scufundate si alte vestigii aflate in stare de conservare aproape perfecta.
 
Statiunile de la Marea Neagra
 
Climatul cald, plajele lungi cu nisip fin, monumentele stravechi, podgoriile si statiunile turistice moderne invita calatorii sa ia serios in considerare litoralul romanesc al Marii Negre ca destinatie de vacanta de vara. Plajele, care se intind de la Mangalia la Mamaia, sunt inzestrate cu statiuni turistice frumoase si hoteluri, precum si cu nenumarate posibilitati de practicare a sporturilor nautice sau pentru entertainment. Vestigii ale culturii grecesti antice datand din secolul 7, iChr, cand negustorii au intemeiat colonii comerciale de-a lungul tarmului Marii Negre, inca mai sunt descoperite. Principalele statiuni de pe litoralul romanesc se intind pe 45 de mile de plaje cu nisip fin si includ Mamaia, Eforie, Neptun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn si Mangalia.
 
Coasta Marii Negre mai este foarte cunoscuta pentru cure pentru artrita, cure reumatice, cure interne sau ale sistemului nervos. Spa-urile din Eforie Nord si Mangalia sunt specializate in bai de namol (namolul este luat din zona lacurilor cu apa sarata) dar si in tratamentele de intinerire “Gerovital” si “Aslavital” cunoscute in intreaga lume. Turistii de pe litoralul romanesc al Marii Negre pot de asemenea sa beneficieze de excursiile organizate de pe litoral catre mai multe locatii din tara, printre care Delta Dunarii, manastirile pictate din Bucovina, capitala tarii, Bucuresti, sau in tarile invecinate: Bulgaria, Grecia si Turcia.

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