Bulgaria - Black Sea

The Black Sea Explained

Black Sea Bulgaria - lots of information about The Black Sea, giving you a great insight into the history and possible reasons why this Sea is so densely salty.

Among the various breathtaking landscapes in Bulgaria, the Black Sea lays its salty, quiet waters to amuse the traveller.

The view of these waters also called for the respect of the ancient Greek sailors of the area, since this particular sea had been initially called "Pontos Axeinos" which means inhospitable sea. As time passed, it was then renamed "Pontos Euxenios", meaning hospitable sea, in order to gain the sea's good favour. These dark waters seemed unusual when compared to the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea.

The low visibility in the Black Sea - on average approximately five meters - must have helped create a mysterious atmosphere. At the time, it was common belief that the land at the Eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis (Georgia at present day), was on the edges of the known world. Although it really has a low visibility if compared to the up to thirty-five meters in the Mediterranean, the water is as blue as any other sea on sunny clear days.

Consisting of many different layers, the Black Sea's waters never completely circulate. Different portions of this large sea contain different densities and compositions that restrict their flow. Warmer, salt water from the Mediterranean feeds into the Black Sea and settle at the deepest depths, where as the cooler water that comes in from various rivers settles at the top. The Black Sea's waters are depleted of oxygen for this reason. In fact, the Black Sea is the largest body of water in the world to contain such low oxygen counts.

The Black Sea is known to have incredibly high sodium counts. There are many theories that attempt to explain it, but no one can prove it with any certainty. Some scientists believe that the Black Sea was once a freshwater lake. As surrounding glaciers melted, the source of freshwater was depleted. Others feel that the Mediterranean Sea grew and was able to create an overflow situation as the sea's levels topped the Dardanelles and the Bosporus Strait. Because more water was flowing from the Mediterranean Sea and finding its way to the Black Sea, the sodium counts rose drastically.

In 1997, two scholars, William Ryan and Walter Pitman, offered a new theory. They believe that a massive flood through the Bosphorus occurred centuries earlier. This flood opened a channel between the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Although ensuing research has been completed, their theory remains an active subject of controversy for archaeologists.

Recent archaeological studies have discovered the presence of freshwater matter within the depths of the Aegean Sea. Freshwater snail shells, scrap lumber, and manmade materials offer evidence that the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea may have been connected hundreds of centuries ago.

On the Bulgarian coastline of the Black Sea, there are only a few small islands. Due to the salinity of such an environment, they are quite barren islands. The surface water has an average salinity of 18-18.5 parts per thousand and contains just enough oxygen and other nutrients required to sustain marine life. The Black Sea’s surface temperature ranges from 8C during the cooler seasons to 30C in the warm summer months.

Not only this Sea is interesting from the Geographical and Physical points of view, but also because the plains located north of the Black Sea is believed to be the settlement that housed the ancient Urheimat culture. As the originators of the language spoken today, the Urheimats play an important part in the history of speech for many present day cultures.

The Black Sea also has an intense tourist activity, especially amidst the country's main Black Sea resort area in Varna. More and more hotels are being built every year to keep up with the demand for accommodation of tourists. Moreover, since there are no architectural regulations, many different building styles co exist, sometimes on the same block.

While it seems that the Black Sea may be at risk for destruction, the Bulgarian Parliament is diligently working on a bill that will protect the Black Sea's coastline. A ban on beachfront construction is one immediate goal. Additionally, towns that are growing beyond their means would be forced to slow growth until the water, garbage, electrical, and sewer capacities could be altered to handle a surge in population. However, government officials are conscious that even though they can regulate future constructions, they cannot undo mistakes of the past.

In the past two years, Bulgaria has seen a steady increase in visiting tourists. More than four million tourists visited Bulgaria bringing in almost two billion euros in tourism revenue. The draw of the ski resorts and the Black Sea continue to shape Bulgaria's future in tourism. Hotels and resorts are going up at alarming rates, but if the Bulgarian government can regulate the area's growth, Bulgaria's future in tourism should top preliminary expectations!