Here Are 151 Uncommon Facts About The Sea Of Azov!

Joan Agie
Nov 02, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Jan 10, 2022
The Sea of Azov is one of the most uncommon water bodies in the world.

Life on earth is both impossible and unimaginable without the presence of diverse water bodies.

You may have learned about the largest and deepest seas in the world, but have you ever heard about the world's shallowest sea? It's the Sea of Azov!

A well-known fact is that 71% of the earth's surface is covered by water bodies, and oceans and seas occupy about 91% of the hydrosphere. Undoubtedly, the earth qualifies as the 'Blue Planet'.

While most people are aware of the Arabian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Black Sea, and the Caribbean Sea, they still know very little about inland seas like the Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, Hudson Bay, or the Sea of Azov. Inland waters are equally important for the sustenance of humankind as they serve as fishing and trading ports.

Innumerable rivers and their tributaries drain into these seas.

For instance, the Don, as well as Kuban rivers, discharge their waters into the Sea of Azov. Are you aware that the Sea of Azov is considered to be the Black Sea's northern extension?

It's because the Azov Sea is linked to the Black Sea with the help of Kerch Strait. To know more about the origin, features, and significance of the Sea of Azov, continue reading.

The History Of The Sea Of Azov

Did you know that the famous Crimean War betided on the Sea of Azov? The history of the Sea of Azov is as interesting as its geographical location. Here are some intriguing facts from the pages of history.

  • Evidence points out that prehistorically, the current area covered by the Sea of Azov was initially used for Neolithic settlements. Some geophysicists, archaeologists, and researchers contend that massive flooding led to the formation of this sea in prehistoric times, though these flood myths have been contested by many historians and researchers.
  • The Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, and the Sea of Marmara connect the Sea of Azov with the Atlantic Ocean. The Sea of Azov has therefore been at the face of innumerable military conflicts that ensued between the two superpowers of Russia and Turkey. Both Russia and Turkey engaged in the Russo-Turkish War that extended from 1686-1700.
  • Peter I led two campaigns from 1695-1696 with the target of accessing and establishing Russian control over the Black Sea and Azov Sea. 
  • During the first campaign, the Russian army comprising 31,000 men reached Azov and laid siege to the land, but the attempts turned out to be unsuccessful, so the siege was ultimately lifted. For championing the second campaign, the Russian naval forces, as well as ground forces, were put to use. Under the leadership of Aleksei Shein, the Russian forces set foot on Azov. Another fleet joined them at the beginning of May, and on May 27, the fleet blocked the Sea of Azov. This instigated Turkish backlash as the Turkish fleet attempted to break through the Russian blockade. However, the Turks retreated when their attempts fell apart with the loss of two ships. 
  • As the fight heightened, they strengthened the Russian naval operations with the construction of more naval ships. Ultimately, at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, the Treaty of the Pruth was signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and Russian control over the Black Sea and Azov was surrendered as Turkey regained its powers.
  • The Russian naval ship stationed at Azov was dismantled. The next significant military action that occurred on the Sea of Azov was the Crimean War that continued for three years from 1853-1856. In this campaign, the Ottoman Turks, France, and Britain were jointly pitted against the Russian forces. The war ended with the defeat of Russian forces, following which the Treaty of Paris was signed.
  • In 1995, Ukraine proposed to formalize the seafaring borders by entering into a formal agreement with the Russian government and resolving the issues relating to the legal status of Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov.
  • In 2003, Ukraine and the Russian Federation came upon a mutual understanding and decided upon sharing the internal waters of the Kerch Strait and Azov Sea. In fact, the Soviet countries exempted the sea from international law so that no one could make claims on it.
  • In 2018, Ukraine increased the number of navy ships stationed at Berdyansk. The Crimean Bridge was built to link the Russian mainland, and the Crimean Peninsula worsened the military positioning as its low height didn't allow the Ukrainian ships to pass through to the Ukrainian ports. 
  • Later, two Ukrainian ships sent from the port of the Black Sea managed to cross the Crimean Bridge and reach Mariupol. However, tensions still continued as the Russian coast guard attacked and captured Ukrainian ships that were sent from the Ukrainian side.


Some Key Features Of The Sea Of Azov

Like all other seas and oceans, some distinct characteristics of the Sea of Azov contribute to its uniqueness and make it different from the others.

  • The Sea of Azov is an Eastern European sea that extends to the Black Sea, connected by the Kerch Strait. The narrowest point of the Kerch Strait falls on the side of the Sea of Azov. The Taman Peninsula is on the eastern side of the Kerch Strait, whereas the Crimean Peninsula borders the west. To the northwest, the sea is bound by Ukraine, while it has Russia in the southeast. 
  • The most prominent feature of the Sea of Azov is its shallowness. With an average depth of only 23 ft (7 m) and a maximum depth of 46 ft (14 m), the Sea of Azov has been recorded as the shallowest sea in the world.
  • The sea expands for 110 mi (180 km) in width and 220 mi (360 km) in length while it covers an area of about 15,000 sq mi (39,000 sq km). In comparison, the Caspian Sea has an average depth of 620 ft (190 m). The Sea of Azov, therefore, qualifies as the smallest sea of the countries that made up the original Soviet Union back in Soviet times.
  • The two main rivers that drain into this sea are the Kuban River and Don River. Some of the small river systems that end up in the Sea of Azov include the Yeya, Berda, Beysug, Kalmius, Atmanai, Mius, and Molochna rivers.
  • As these rivers flow into and mingle with the seawater and the water remains somewhat fresh, lowering its salinity. The bottom of the sea is comparatively smooth and flattened due to depositions made by innumerable river drainages, whereas the sea becomes gradually denser towards the center. The silt, sand, and shells deposited by the rivers result in the lowering of the coastline as well as the formation of narrow spits, bays, and limans. 
  • Did you know that the Arabat Spit is among the longest spits in the world? The Arabat Spit is a sandbar located towards the western section of the sea that stretches 70 mi (113 km) in length.
  • On the other hand, water lagoons like the Sivash covering 1,590 mi (2,558 km) lie to the northeast of the Crimean Peninsula.
  • Taganrog Bay is the largest bay, while some other bays in the Sea of Azov comprise the Taman, Temryuk, Obytichna, and Kazantip.
  • The Sea of Azov exhibits low levels of salinity because of continuous river inflow. The sea is also rich in biomass like green algae that impacts the color of the water. Moreover, the sea is replete with planktons that help in yielding a vast quantity of fish. Apart from the large variety of freshwater fishes, the seashores boast several colonies of birds and abundant vegetation. The sea witnesses a temperate to a continental type of climate with short and cold winter times and pretty hot, dry summers. The transition from the autumn to winter season is marked by the strong, bitterly cold winds of the Siberian Anticyclone. 
  • In January, the temperature ranges from 23-30.2 F (-5--1 C) but the chilling winds blown from Siberia make the temperature fall to around -22 F (-30 C). By July, the temperature rises to about 73.4-77 F (23-25 C). Since the sea lacks depth and is low on salinity, it is highly susceptible to freezing into ice during the chilling winters of late December. Fogs and heavy frosts are also common.

The Importance Of The Sea Of Azov

Have you ever wondered why the Sea of Azov is important? Let's take a look at some of these facts that underscore the significance of the Sea of Azov.

  • The Sea of Azov serves as an internal sea in countries like Ukraine and Russia. The sea plays a crucial role as a navigational waterway for both these countries as they share the territorial waters of the Azov Sea.
  • It serves as a medium for transporting goods and travelers across countries. Nevertheless, the lack of depth of the seawater also acts as a major impediment to ship movement. Ice formations during winter times also obstruct navigation.
  • The ice is often removed with the help of icebreakers. Yeysk and Taganrog are the Russian ports, while Mariupol and Berdyansk are two of the important Ukrainian ports that heavily rely on the trade route of the Sea of Azov.
  • The construction of the Volga-Don Canal aided navigation from the Russian mainland as it offered the shortest sea route connecting the Caspian Sea with the other oceans through the Azov Sea and the Black Sea.


Amazing Facts About The Sea Of Azov

Now, it's time to set aside the geographical aspect of the Sea of Azov and explore some amazing fun-filled facts about the world's shallowest sea.

  • How many names of the Sea of Azov do you know? It's called 'Palus Maeotis' in Latin, 'Azovskoye more' in Russian, and 'Azaq deñizi' in Crimean Tatar.
  • There's a lot of mystery and doubt surrounding the origin of the name. However, it's widely accepted that the sea received its name from the region called Azov, where evidence of settlements could be discovered. The term has its roots in the Turkish language Kipchak where 'azaq' or 'asak' translates to 'lowlands'.
  • The shallowness of the sea, its pleasing warm climate, topped with the presence of biomass, make the sea and its surrounding areas perfectly suitable for biological productivity.
  • The region is rich in flora and fauna. More than 80 species of fish and 300 invertebrates add to the marine biodiversity. If you love fishing, then you'd be glad to know that fish species such as gray mullet, sardine, shemaja, minnow, sea-roach, bream, and anchovy are common in the waters.
  • The benthic fauna consists of a variety of mollusks, worms, and crustaceans. Besides these aquatic species, several avian species like pelicans, great cormorants, wild geese, swans, herons, and seagulls can also be traced in the estuaries.
  • Other terrestrial animals that can be spotted along the coasts of the sea are wild boar, martens, muskrats, hares, weasels, foxes, and wild cats. Several species of plants and flowers, such as sedges, weeds, and water lilies, beautify the marshes and estuaries.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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