Ionian sea

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Location of the Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea ( Greek Ιόνιο Πέλαγος Ionio Pelagos , Italian Mar Ionio , Albanian Deti Jon ) is part of the Mediterranean Sea . In the Ionian Basin is the Calypso Depth , which is the deepest point in the Mediterranean at 5,267 meters.


The origin of the name is unknown. Ancient authors linked him to the myth of Io , a lover of Zeus . Today it is believed that it goes back to the Ionians who sailed into the Magna Graecia .


Different defined boundaries of the Ionian Sea; yellow: traditional borders, orange: borders according to the classification of the Italian weather service Meteomar, red: borders according to the definition of the International Hydrographic Organization

The Ionian Sea is connected to the Adriatic Sea in the north by the Strait of Otranto , and the Strait of Messina connects it to the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west . At the end of the Gulf of Corinth, the Corinth Canal has been connecting the Ionian Sea with the Aegean Sea since 1893 . In the south it opens up to the open Mediterranean Sea (here Libyan Sea ).

How far the Ionian Sea extends in the north, east and south is defined differently. Traditionally, in the north it separates the line from Capo d'Otranto to Cape Gjuhëza of the Adriatic Sea, in the east a line from Cape Malea to the northern tip of the Gramvousa peninsula on Crete from the Myrtoic Sea , a tributary of the Aegean Sea. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the sea boundaries of the Ionian Sea in the north as a line from the mouth of the Vivar Canal to Cape Karagol and to the west of Corfu as a line from Cape Kefali to the Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca . In the south it defines a line from Capo Passero to Cape Tenaro as the border with the Libyan Sea . This excludes the Diapontic Islands, traditionally included in the Ionian Islands, as well as Elafonisos, Kythira and Andikythira. According to this definition, the north of the island of Corfu is also in the Adriatic Sea. The Italian weather service Meteomar defines the 40th north latitude as the northern limit and also includes the area southeast of Capo Passero as part of the Ionian Sea.

The coasts bordering the Ionian Sea are in the west the coasts of the southern Italian regions of Apulia , Basilicata and Calabria as well as the east coast of Sicily , to the east is the west coast of the Balkan Peninsula with southwestern Albania and western Greece with the Peloponnese peninsula .


The Gulf of Taranto is a larger bay ; the smaller ones include the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth, which are connected by the Strait of Rio, which has been spanned by the Rio-Andirrio Bridge since 2004 . The Corinthian Gulf extends far into mainland Greece. The bays of the southern Peloponnese are the Messenian and Laconian Gulf.


The largest archipelago in the sea are the Ionian Islands , which stretch as a long arch from the Diapontian Islands to Kythira and Andikythira and with Kefalonia the largest, with Corfu the most populous island in the sea. The smaller archipelagos include the Alkyonids in the Corinthian Gulf, the Cheradi Islands in the Gulf of Taranto and the Cyclops Islands off the Sicilian coast. The largest single islands in the Ionian Sea are Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada , Zakynthos and Kythira.


In the east of the sea there is a typical Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and moderate winters. The Ionian Sea is known to sailors for its calm winds .

The Ionian Sea in ancient times

The geographers of ancient Greece used the term Ionion pelagos ( ancient Greek Ἰόνιον πέλαγος ) or Ionios kolpos ( Ἰόνιος κόλπος ) to denote the Strait of Otranto or the Adriatic Sea. The modern definition of the sea between Sicily and Greece as the Ionian Sea does not come from ancient times.

The Ionian Sea and its islands are the setting for large parts of Homer's Odyssey .

Port cities

Ionian Sea near Borsh (Albania)

Important ports of the Ionian Sea are located in

Web links

Commons : Ionian Sea  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Ionian Sea  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ WM Murray: Ionian Sea . In: S. Hornblower / A. Spawforth (Eds.): Oxford Classical Dictionary . 4th edition. Oxford 2012, p. 742 .
  2. ^ Pierer 1857 online
  3. ^ Limits of Oceans and Seas . 3. Edition. International Hydrographic Organization, Montecarlo 1953, (PDF; 971 kB)
  4. Sea areas around Italy on the Meteomar website
  5. William Smith: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, illustrated by numerous engravings on wood, London (Walton and Maberly) 1854 ( article Ionium Mare online )

Coordinates: 38 ° 6 '  N , 18 ° 18'  E