The Importance of the Marmara Sea and Region for Turkey

| Created : 2023-10-17
| Updated : 2024-02-23
Created : 2023-10-17
Updated : 2024-02-23

The Marmara Region is the apple-of-eye of the Republic of Turkey. It is a sociologically, culturally, and economically rich region. Another reason that makes the region a treasure, is the Marmara Sea, the sea from which the region takes its name.

The Marmara Sea connects the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean. It is a vital channel for global trade. Approximately 100,000 ships pass through the Marmara Sea in a year. Around 70% of these ships are cargo ships.

Even Gibraltar, one of the world's most famous straits, welcomes around 200,000 ships a year. This proves that the Marmara Sea also brings a huge load of money to Turkey.

The Marmara Region is Turkey's most densely populated region and with this work power, it hosts a large part of the country's economic activity. Also, the region is the pioneer of Turkish real estate, according to statistics on home sales.

Major companies most of the time prefer Istanbul for their headquarters. Therefore, major cities such as Istanbul are full of business opportunities, industrial facilities, and commercial centers. If you want to learn how to set up a business in Turkey, don’t forget to read our article.

The Sea of Marmara is crucial to the economy and trade of Turkey. It serves as the country's energy gateway and has great tourism potential. This is why it is an important part of the Turkish economy and strategic assets.

What is the Meaning of Marmara in Turkish?

Propontis, the Greeks named the Marmara Sea by combining the words “pro” and “pontic”. Pro means “before” and pontus means “sea”. They gave it this name because they would sail on the Sea of Marmara to access the Black Sea.

The island of Marmara, which is the largest island in the sea and is currently connected to Balıkesir, was called "Marmaros", which means marble in Greek, in ancient times. Due to the large amount of marble found here, the Greeks called the island this way. Consequently, this name started to be used for the sea over time.

Does the Sea of Marmara Belong to Turkey?

Yes, the Sea of Marmara is Turkish territory.  Cities, towns, and villages along the shores of the Sea, are under the control of the Turkish government. 

In 1923, after the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I, the Republic of Turkey was founded. The new state inherited the Ottoman Empire's traditions and continued to safeguard the Marmara Sea within its borders.

As a result of historical developments, the sea now belongs to Turkey. It is an integral part of Turkey's modern borders.

What is the Marmara Region Famous for?

This region has many impressive attributes. Besides breaking records in various sectors and receiving hundreds of thousands of immigrants annually, it's also home to many significant companies and has a cultural heritage spanning for centuries. Let's analyze these traits together.

  • Istanbul: Turkey’s most renowned city is Istanbul and it’s in the Marmara Region. Istanbul presents a special way of living with its rich history, cultural heritage, dynamic business opportunities, and beautiful views of the Bosphorus.
  • Tourism: We talked about Istanbul a lot, this time we invite you, our readers, to learn about the cities of Bursa, Balikesir, and Canakkale (also known as Gallipoli). It is possible to find numerous historical marks from thousands of years ago, during the era of Romans and Greeks.
  • Culture: The Marmara is the city of Istanbul, where different cultures come together. It has a rich cultural heritage of Turks, Greeks, Jews, and many others. There are also many Turkish people from different regions in the surrounding cities of Istanbul. You can also visit there and witness the cultural differences between other regions in Turkey.
  • Cuisine: Apart from street food such as kebab, doner, and other stuff, Marmara is also famous for its seafood. Especially, having seafood in a restaurant with a sea view of Marmara is something cultural in the region.
  • Bursa: In short, Bursa is a city with a mixture of economic and social harmony, natural beauties, healing waters, and summer and winter tourism. If you want to know more about Bursa, feel free to read our article about this beautiful city.
  • Canakkale: Also known as Gallipoli, it's a city with a lot of cultural and historical significance that was home to the earliest human civilizations. Summer holidays are also very popular in the area. Anyone can visit this place for an enjoyable summer break while exploring the historical sites in detail.
  • Real Estate: We previously mentioned that the Marmara Region is attractive in terms of property sales. Many famous construction projects are one of the factors contributing to this popularity. If you are interested in purchasing an apartment in Istanbul or the region, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Where is the Marmara Sea Located in Turkey?

The Marmara Sea links the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It connects to the Black Sea via the Bosporus Strait and the Aegean Sea through the Dardanelles Strait. These straits also divide Europe and Asia. Its surface area is 11,352 km2.

However, the Marmara Sea has a harmful characteristic that puts human lives at risk. The North Anatolian Fault line passes directly through the sea's location. This fault line has caused earthquakes which have resulted in loss of lives. 

That's why the Marmara Region and the cities along the Marmara Sea are called earthquake zones.

Can you Swim in the Sea of Marmara?

Yes, you actually can, as long as you know how to swim. Since the current is not strong, it does not pose a danger to anyone who can swim properly, and it is very difficult to find species that can harm humans other than jellyfish. 

The beaches where you can see seahorses in Turkey are mostly in the Marmara region. Since the beaches are open to the ordinary public, luxury hotels and private beaches have not been able to plunder the beaches. Therefore, you will not encounter disturbing loud music while swimming here.

Those who think that the Marmara Sea is only about Istanbul should take a detour and visit Balıkesir. It has very special bays that are both calm, clean, and far from modern beach logic.

Let’s not forget that water quality and beach conditions can differ based on the location along the coast. Certain places have clean and well-kept beaches, while others have less impressive facilities.

What is So Important About the Sea of Marmara?

What makes a region important? Or what can make a sea so important? Perhaps we can understand how vital a sea is based on important details such as its geographical location, the depth of the sea, its cleanliness, ship traffic, and the cities around it. 

Needless to say, many reasons make the Marmara Sea important. Let's examine the features that make the Marmara Sea special.

  • Strategical Location: The Sea of Marmara is situated where Europe meets Asia, and links the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. This means it is an important waterway for global trade and business.
  • Biodiversity: A wide variety of fish, dolphins, sea turtles, and bird species live in the Sea of Marmara. Additionally, this is the breeding ground for many important fish species.
  • Culture: The Sea of Marmara is embraced by a tapestry of cities and towns steeped in rich culture and age-old traditions. Istanbul, proudly standing as Turkey's largest metropolis, graces the northern shores of the Sea of Marmara. This magnificent sea also shares its embrace with other notable cities like Bursa, Izmit, and Tekirdag.
  • Economic Significance: The Marmara Sea is crucial to Turkey's economy. If you wonder why because Istanbul lies on its shores. It is the country's financial, commercial, and industrial hub. The sea is the backbone of transport, trade, and travel to other countries.
  • Diverse Real Estate Options: The Marmara Region offers a wide range of real estate options, including historic properties, modern apartments, luxury villas, and commercial spaces. This diversity caters to various tastes and investment preferences.

Which Cities are in the Marmara Region?

Everyone is familiar with Istanbul. As it's one of the most famous cities in the world. Yeah, the famous city is situated in this region, the Marmara.

However, the Marmara Region offers more than just Istanbul. There are numerous modern and cultural cities in the area where visitors can experience Turkish culture in its entirety. Let's explore these cities now.

  • Istanbul: If regions in Turkey had official capitals, we are sure that Istanbul would be chosen as the capital of the Marmara Region. We have already told you about this paradise city many times, but if you want more detailed information, don't forget to read our article about Istanbul.
  • Bursa: Bursa is an attractive city famous for its rich history, beautiful landscape, and delightful food. It was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and has many historical monuments. Additionally, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the nearby mountains.
  • Canakkale: Çanakkale is an interesting city known for its fascinating history and unique geography. The Gallipoli Peninsula's aesthetic beauty and the strategic importance of the Çanakkale Strait make this region both a tourist destination and a historical gem.
  • Balikesir: Balıkesir is a town situated in the Marmara Region of Turkey. It has a reputation for its splendid natural and cultural wonders. Its landscape is dotted with olive trees and historical landmarks, and its gastronomy is truly famous with a wide variety of seafood and dishes based on olive oil.

In addition to the ones we mentioned, cities like Edirne, Yalova, and Kocaeli are also located in the Marmara region. If you're close to Istanbul but don't feel quite ready for a life right in the heart of Istanbul, it's advisable to consider the surrounding cities.

Is the Marmara Region in Asia or Europe?

The Marmara Sea holds a remarkably interesting geographical position, as it stretches between both the continents of Europe and Asia. This unique feature is emphasized by the presence of the Istanbul Strait (the Bosphorus) and the Dardanelles Strait. The Istanbul Strait forms an intercontinental waterway connecting the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea, while the Dardanelles Strait serves as a critical link between the Aegean Sea and this inland sea. Thanks to these geographical characteristics, the Marmara Sea holds historical and strategic significance, serving as a body of water that brings together two major continents.

How Many Islands are there in the Marmara Sea?

There are numerous islands in the Marmara Sea belonging to Turkey. These islands are not only favored by Istanbul residents for summer vacations but also host large concerts, entertainment events, and festivals. The Princes' Islands, in particular, are often preferred by young people, primarily due to the abundance of suitable camping areas on the island. Now, let's get to know these beautiful islands more closely.

  • The Princes' Islands: The collective name given to the group of islands belonging to Istanbul is "The Princes' Islands," consisting of 9 separate islands. Among these islands, four of them, namely Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kınalıada, have settlements, while the other 5 islands, named Sedefadası, Tavşanadası, Sivriada, Kaşıkadası, and Yassıada, do not have settlements. The reason these islands are called the Princes' Islands is that during the Byzantine era, unruly princes were exiled to these islands as a form of punishment.
  • Marmara Island: A calm island with numerous guesthouses and easy access to the sea, located in the Sea of Marmara, near the island of Avsha. Its historic name is Proconessos, and it is presently called after the Greek/Italian term "Marmara". The island has exceptional shores, also recognized for its serene tea gardens and sycamore trees.
  • Avsha Island: A sparkling place on the coast of the Sea of Marmara: It has a large beach. It has a more touristy, modern, and lively atmosphere than Marmara Island. The island is usually crowded and lively in July and August. If you are looking for a more relaxed experience, June or September would be a wise choice. Especially in September, the sea is clear, people are calmer and more hospitable. Olives, olive oil, wine, and seafood are the delights that you must try when you visit the island.

About Turkey

In this article, we attempted to provide a comprehensive overview of the Marmara Region and the Marmara Sea. We highlighted the key features of this region and the sea. If you wish to acquire more information about other regions, we recommend checking out our other articles that explain why Turkey is divided into seven distinct regions. Additionally, you can access our article to delve deeper into details about the regions in Turkey. Utilize these resources to explore the geographical and cultural richness of Turkey, and get prepared for your first property purchase in Turkey.