Aegean Sea

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Aegean Sea,

Gr. Aigaion Pelagos, Turkish Ege Denizi, arm of the Mediterranean Sea, c.400 mi (640 km) long and 200 mi (320 km) wide, off SE Europe between Greece and Turkey; Crete and Rhodes mark its southern limit. Irregular in shape, it is dotted with islands, most of which belong to Greece; they include ÉvvoiaÉvvoia
or Euboea
, island (1991 pop. 205,502), 1,467 sq mi (3,800 sq km), SE Greece, separated from Boeotia and Attica on the Greek mainland by the Évripos strait. Khalkís is the main city and the administrative center.
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, the SporadesSporades
, islands, E and SE Greece, in the Aegean Sea. They have been grouped variously at different times. The Northern Sporades are generally understood to include Skiáthos, Skópelos, Alónnisos, Skíros, and some smaller islands off the coast of
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, the CycladesCyclades
, Gr. Kikládhes [Gr.,=circular], island group (1991 pop. 94,005), c.1,000 sq mi (2,590 sq km), SE Greece, a part of the Greek archipelago, in the Aegean Sea stretching SE from Attica.
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, SámosSámos
, island (1991 pop. 33,032), c.181 sq mi (469 sq km), SE Greece, in the Aegean Sea; one of the Southern Sporades, near Turkey. Largely mountainous, it rises to c.4,725 ft (1,440 m) on Mt. Kerki.
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, KhíosKhíos
or Chios
, island (1991 pop. 51,060), c.350 sq mi (910 sq km), E Greece, in the Aegean Sea, just W of Asia Minor. It is mountainous and is famous for its scenic beauty and good climate. The highest point is Mt. Elias (c.4,160 ft/1,270 m).
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, LesbosLesbos
or Lésvos
, island (1991 pop. 87,151), c.630 sq mi (1,630 sq km), E Greece, in the Aegean Sea near Turkey. A fertile island, it has vast olive groves and also produces wheat, wine, and citrus fruit.
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, ThásosThásos
, island (1991 pop. 13,527), c.170 sq mi (440 sq km), NE Greece, in the Aegean Sea. Timber, olive oil, honey, wine, and lead-zinc ores are its chief products; boatbuilding, fishing, and tourism are the main industries.
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, and the DodecaneseDodecanese
, Gr. Dhodhekánisos, island group (1991 pop. 163,476), c.1,035 sq mi (2,680 sq km), SE Greece, in the Aegean Sea, between Asia Minor and Crete, comprising the greater part of the group known as the Southern Sporades.
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. The Aegean Sea's greatest depths (more than 11,600 ft/3,540 m) are found E of Crete. The Dardanelles strait connects the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

Sardines and sponges taken from the Aegean are economically important. There has been considerable tension between Greece and Turkey since the 1970s over oil deposits and mineral rights in the Aegean. The name Aegean has been variously derived from Aegae, a city of Évvoia; from Aegeus, father of Theseus, who drowned himself in the sea believing his son had been slain by the Minotaur; and from Aegea, an Amazon queen who drowned in it. The sea's ancient name, Archipelago, now applies to its islands and, generally, to any island group.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aegean Sea


a semi-enclosed body of water in the basin of the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, and the island of Crete. The Aegean is linked with the Sea of Marmara and ultimately with the Black Sea by the Dardanelles in the northeast and with the Mediterranean by several straits between islands in the south. The sea has an area of approximately 179 sq km. It formed as a result of the submersion in the late Pliocene and Pleistocene of the land block known as Aegeides. The numerous islands are remnants of this land, and for this reason the Aegean was formerly called the Greek Archipelago.

The prevalent depths are 200–1,000 m, reaching a maximum of 2,529 m in the south. Currents in the western parts of the sea flow south, while those in the eastern part flow north. The velocity of the currents reaches 0.5–1 km/hr. The water temperature at the surface is 11°–15°C in winter and 22°–25°C in summer. At depths of more than 350 m the water temperature is 12°–13°C and remains constant throughout the year. The salinity of the sea is 37.0–39.0‰. Tides are semidiurnal and have ranges of 30–60 cm. The sea yields fish and sponges. The principal ports are Piraeus and Thessaloniki in Greece and Izmir in Turkey.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Aegean Sea

an arm of the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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