The Mediterranean is known to be home to some of the best destinations for beach holidays. That’s thanks to the fresh food, healthy Mediterranean diet, great climate and turquoise sea. The sea extends all the way from the Nile River to ancient Rome. The region is home to many historical cities and sights that are worth visiting.
There are so many things for you to see and do, you’ll want to take a Mediterranean cruise and visit several jaw-dropping destinations in the region. Start from the Colosseum in Rome and go to Antoni Gaudi’s architectural works in Barcelona.
How well do you know the region? There’s more to the destination than meets the eye. If you go for a deep exploration of the Med, you’ll realise there are so many things to do and learn about the sea and the region.
In this article, you will find ten surprising facts you need to know about the Mediterranean.
1. The Med sea is very deep
Yes, the sea is very deep and it has an average depth of 4,900 feet (1,500m). The deepest point of the sea lies in the Ionian Sea’s Calypso and it is 17,280 feet (5,200m) below the surface. Quite deep! The entire sea covers an area equal to 2.5 million sq kilometres and from that, you can tell the water body is large.
2. The Med borders 21 different countries
During the Roman Empire’s rule, the entire sea border belonged to them for so many centuries. But now, the Med touches three different continents and 21 modern countries. 11 of these countries are in Europe, five in Africa and five in Asia. As stated in fact no.1, the sea covers such as large are and that’s why it borders so many countries. The countries bordered by the sea include Spain, Italy, France, Malta, Slovenia, Monaco, Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, Syria, Lebanon, Albania, Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt, Israel, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.
3. The Med is made up of many other smaller seas
The Med is a large sea that contains numerous subdivisions of seas within it. It’s made up of smaller seas that make one large sea, the Med. Some of the smaller seas include the Alboran Sea, the Balearic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ligurian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Aegean Sea. There are other smaller seas but the ones mentioned are the well-known ones.
4. The region has more than 3,000 islands
If there’s something that the Mediterranean is known for, is the massive number of islands in the region. The true number is not known because there are different theories about how many Mediterranean islands exist. Many people have estimated the total to be over 3,000. Others claim that the total number of islands is close to 3,500.
5. Different species of fish (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises)
The Med is home to eight different species of Whales, Porpoises, and Dolphins. The Gibraltar Strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Med is known to be home to killer whales, especially during tuna seasons. The Blue waters of the sea are full of more than 700 different varieties of fish. It actually makes up 10% of the world’s marine species.
6. It has been in existence for over 5 million years
Indeed, the Med is a historical site. It has been around for over 5 million years. The sea was filled about 5.33 million years ago by a massive flood that occurred then. It was filled in less than 2 years despite its large size. It might seem impossible that the sea was created in less than 2 years. Scientific studies conducted show that the ancient flood filled that area at that stated time, 5.33 million years ago.
7. The two largest Mediterranean islands are Italian
As previously mentioned in the article, the Med has more than 3,000 islands. Most of these islands are tiny while others are very large. The five largest islands in the area include Sicily, Sardinia, Crete, Cyprus and Corsica. The two largest islands in terms of size and population are Sicily and Sardinia and they are both Italian islands.
8. The water is darker than usual
The sea is popular for so many unique things and one of them is how the waters are dark blue in colour. The explanation behind this is that the sea lacks some nutrients that support plant growth and as a result, it looks darker than the usual ocean waters. Another fact is that the sea has very few tides. Unlike other large water bodies, the Med has few tides around the year. This is because a large part of the sea is landlocked and it’s only connected to the Atlantic by a narrow Strait of Gibraltar.
9. There are many communities in the Med
There are so many islands in the Mediterranean such as Cyprus, Sicily and Majorca. All these islands are inhabited by different groups of people. Therefore, the Med has a rich culture and one thing you can enjoy while travelling is the Mediterranean diet. It incorporated the most traditional healthy eating habits of the people from this region. The diet is linked with good health and a healthy heart. The diet varies from region to region but generally, it comprises of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, fish, grains and unsaturated fats like olive oil.
10. The Med has been used for centuries
The first people to sail the sea were the Phoenicians. Many Greek city states also used it as a trade route and for transport too. The trade links back to the ancient times when Darius I of Persia conquered Egypt. He built a canal that connected the Red Sea with the Med and used this route to do trade. Back in 2015, the route was used by 1 million migrants who were travelling to Europe. Up to date, it’s still a major travel route.