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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of the Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea (ā-drē-ˈa-tik) is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. The Adriatic Sea is a part of the Mediterranean Sea.[1]

The western coast is Italian, while the eastern coast runs along Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (26 km), Montenegro, and Albania. Major rivers joining the Adriatic are the Reno, Po, Adige/Etsch, Brenta, Piave, Soča/Isonzo, Zrmanja, Krka, Cetina, Neretva, and Drin (Drini).


Name and etymology

A satellite image of the Adriatic Sea.

Originally, the sea was known in Latin as Mare Superum. Later, it was replaced by Mare (H)Adriaticum. The name, derived from the Etruscan colony of Adria (or Hadria), originally designated only the upper portion of the sea (Herodotus vi. 127, vii. 20, ix. 92; Euripides, Hippolytus, 736), but was gradually extended as the Syracusan colonies gained in importance. The name Adria probably derives from the Illyrian word adur meaning "water" or "sea".[2]

But even then the Adriatic in the narrower sense only extended as far as the Monte Gargano, the outer portion being called the Ionian Sea: the name was sometimes, however, inaccurately used to include the Gulf of Tarentum (the modern-day Gulf of Taranto), the Sea of Sicily, the Gulf of Corinth and even the sea between Crete and Malta (Acts xxvii. 27).

The Adriatic Sea is situated largely between the eastern coast of Italy and Croatia, which are both major tourist attractions. It was used by the ancient Romans to transport goods (including animals and slaves) to Ostia (the Roman port).

Extent and bathymetry

Zadar, city on the Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic extends northwest from 40° to 45°45' North, with an extreme length of about 770 km (415 nm, 480 mi). It has an average width of about 160 km (85 nm, 100 mi), although the Strait of Otranto, through which it connects at the south with the Ionian Sea, is only 45-55 nautical miles wide (85–100 km).[3]

Moreover, the chain of islands which fringes the northern part of the eastern shore reduces the extreme breadth of open sea in this part to 145 km (78 nm, 90 mi). Its total surface area is about 60,000 square miles (160,000 km²).

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the southern limit of the Adriatic Sea as "A line running from the mouth of the Butrinto River (39°44'N) in Albania to Cape Karagol in Corfu, through this island to Cape Kephali (these two capes are in lat. 39°45'N) and on to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca".[4]

The depths of the Adriatic near its shores share a close relationship to the physiography of the nearby coastlines. Wherever the coasts are high and mountainous, the nearby sea depths are considerable. For instance, in the case of the Istrian and Dalmatian areas of Slovenia and Croatia., the shores are low and sandy, and the nearby sea is shallow, as in the vicinity of Venice or, farther south, near the delta of the Italian Po River. Generally speaking, the waters are shallow all along the Italian coast. The site of maximum depth of the Adriatic Sea is situated south of the central area, and the average depth is 1,457 feet (0.444 km) and maximum depth is 3,300 feet (1.0 km).[3]

Coasts and islands

Islet Pokonji Dol in the Adriatic sea, seen from the ferry between Hvar and Korčula in Croatia
Torre Sant'Andrea, Salento (Italy)

The west shore is generally low, merging, in the northwest, into the marshes and lagoons on either hand of the protruding delta of the river Po, the sediment of which has pushed forward the coastline for several miles within historic times—Adria is now some distance from the shore.

On islands within one of the lagoons opening from the Gulf of Venice, Venice has its unique situation. Other notable cities on the Italian coast are Trieste, Ravenna, Rimini, Ancona, Pescara, Bari, and Brindisi.

The east coast is generally bold and rocky, with many islands. South of the Istrian Peninsula, which separates the Gulfs of Venice and Trieste from the Bay of Kvarner, the island-fringe of the east coast extends as far south as Dubrovnik. The island of Cres is the largest island in the sea, slightly larger than nearby Krk.

The islands, which are long and narrow (the long axis lying parallel with the coast of the mainland), rise rather abruptly to elevations of a few hundred feet, with the exception of a few larger islands like Brač (Vidova gora, 778 m) or the peninsula Pelješac (St. Ilija, 961 m). There are over a thousand islands in the Adriatic, 66 of which are inhabited.

On the mainland, notably in the Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska; named after the town of Kotor), lofty mountains often fall directly to the sea.

The prevalent colour of the rocks is a light, dead grey, contrasting harshly with the dark vegetation, which on some of the islands is luxuriant. In fact, Montenegro (Black Mountain) was named after the black pines that cover the coast there, and similarly the Greek name for the island of Korčula is Korkyra Melaina meaning "Black Corfu".

It is interesting to note the vast difference between the Italian and Croatian coasts on the Adriatic. Although only a small distance from each other, the Croatian Coast and beaches are generally many times clearer, cleaner and bluer than Italy's. Croatia is known for its Crystal clear water[5].

Major cities on the eastern coast include Trieste in Italy; Koper, Izola and Piran in Slovenia; Umag, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, Opatija, Rijeka, Senj, Zadar, Biograd, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, Makarska, Ploče and Dubrovnik in Croatia; Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Bar, Budva and Ulcinj in Montenegro; Shkodër, Lezhë, Durrës, Fier and Vlorë in Albania.

Weather patterns

The bora[6] (northeast wind), and the prevalence of sudden squalls from this quarter or the southeast, are dangers to navigation in winter. Also notable are sirocco (southern wind) which brings rain in the winter and maestral (western wind) which brings serene weather in the summer. The area is known for occasional waterspouts similar to those found in the Florida Keys.

Tidal movement is slight. The amphidromic point is just off the northwestern shore, near Ancona.

Adriatic Sea (Croatia).

See also


  1. ^ "Adriatic Sea" Tiscali Encyclopedia Research Machines, 2008.
  2. ^ Adrian Room, "Brewer's Dictionary of Names", p.7. (ISBN 1-85986-323-x)
  3. ^ a b "Adriatic Sea" Britannica Encyclopedia 2008. Online Library Edition 7.
  4. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Blue Flag Programme - Croatia
  6. ^ The Bora Wind of the Adriatic Sea

External links

Coordinates: 43°N 15°E / 43°N 15°E / 43; 15


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Latin Adriaticum mare, from Ancient Greek Ἀδρίας




  1. Of or pertaining to the Adriatic Sea



Proper noun




  1. (usually with "the") The Adriatic Sea, an extension of the Mediterranean Sea located between Italy and the Dalmatian coast of the Balkans.


1818 1822 1891 1909 1914 1915 1946
ME: [[{{{enm}}}]] « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • 1818Lord Byron, Beppo
    Her husband sail'd upon the Adriatic,
    And made some voyages, too, in other seas,
  • 1822James Monroe, Sixth State of the Union Address
    When we see...that a civil war of the most frightful character rages from the Adriatic to the Black Sea...
  • 1855-91Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, bk XXVI
    Year of the marriage of continents, climates and oceans!
    (No mere doge of Venice now wedding the Adriatic,)
  • 1889Robert Louis Stevenson, The Wrong Box, ch II
    There was but one evidence of personal taste, a vizarded forage cap; from this form of headpiece, since he had fled from a dying jackal on the plains of Ephesus, and weathered a bora in the Adriatic, nothing could divorce our traveller.
  • 1909Bram Stoker, The Lady of the Shroud
    A strange story comes from the Adriatic.
  • 1914Saki, Cousin Teresa and women of middle age and average education might be seen together in corners earnestly discussing, not the question whether Servia should have an outlet on the Adriatic, or the possibilities of a British success in international polo contests,
  • 1915G. K. Chestrton, Lepanto
    They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
    They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
  • 1946Winston Churchill, Iron Curtain Speech, (5 March)
    From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.


the Adriatic Sea
See Adriatic Sea

See also

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