The Caspian Sea, the world’s largest lake, the largest landlocked body of water, is one of the wonders of the Middle East. This self-sufficient lake has no access to any free sea and is connected to the Black Sea through a canal.
The Caspian Sea, formerly known as Khavinsky, Hyrcanian Sea, Jorjan Sea (Gorgan), Caspian Sea, Absakun Sea, and Khazar Sea, is the largest lake on earth. Located north of the Alpine-Himalayan orogeny, this closed sea is a remnant of the Tethys Ocean, which, according to Russian geologists, separated from it about 11,000 years ago after separating from the Black and Mediterranean Seas as well.
The Caspian is bounded on the south by Iran, on the north by Russia, on the west by Russia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and on the east by the Republics of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
The Caspian Sea which as mentioned earlier, was once part of the Tethys Sea, thereby connected to the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Classified as the world’s largest lake and sometimes the smallest self-sufficient sea on Earth.
However, it is publically known as the largest landlocked body of water.
Tabarestan Sea is one of the names that has been used in ancient sources to name the Caspian Sea. The names of this Sea have a story for themselves. According to Russian historians in the twelfth century, this sea was still called Tabarestan (AKA Mazandaran) by the Iranians.
The Caspian Sea, with an area of about 436,000 square kilometers, is 1,200 kilometers long and 220 to 550 kilometers wide. And its water volume is more than 77,000 cubic kilometers.
The depth of this sea is 10 to 12 meters in the northern part and up to 770 meters in the middle part and its deepest point in the southern part is up to 1000 meters. The water level of the lake is about 26 to 28 meters (depending on the year) lower than the water level of the high seas. Indirectly related to the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.
The Caspian Sea has 740 km of coastline in Iran and 1894 km of coastline in Azerbaijan, 1815 km in Russia, 800 km in Kazakhstan, and 1789 km in Turkmenistan, respectively.
Undoubtedly, the Caspian Sea plays a very important role in the region and arid climate of Iran and is a very important platform for energy transfer. Annually, 600,000 tons of fish are caught from the Caspian waters, which plays a significant role in the financial turnover and economy of the region.
More than 90% of sturgeon fishing is in the Caspian Sea and most of it is caught from Iran.
There is no shark in the Caspian Sea, the water of this sea is in the category of semi-saline waters and this fish lives only in saline waters.
The Caspian Sea, after the Persian Gulf and Siberia, ranks third in terms of offshore oil and gas reserves.
One of the most horrific historical agreements of Iran, which was concluded due to the incompetence of its kings between Iran and the countries that wanted to colonize and profit, is the Treaty of Turkmenvhay, in which Iran lost the best part of its north-western lands forever.
In the Turkmenchay Treaty, the Iranians were deprived of the right to have a navy in the Caspian Sea, but later on, as the Tsardom of Russia fell, the Iran-Soviet-Russia Friendship Treaty in 1921, this right was equalized between Iran and the former Soviet Union.
Controversy over the ownership of the sea between neighboring countries has been going on for the past two decades. Neighboring countries which surround the Caspian Sea are Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The three main issues in these disputes are resources (oil and gas), delimitation of sea level and seabed, and the share of fishing in these countries.
Pollution is a serious and dangerous problem for this vast sea. Thus, the annual arrival of 122,350 tons of pollution from the Caspian littoral countries, especially pollution caused by oil exploration and extraction operations, has polluted the environment of this sea and has put the marine species of this sea in danger.
In addition to the increasing pollution of the Caspian Sea, in recent years it has dealt with a heavy blow to the ecosystem of the sea.
The proliferation of this Mnemiopsis, which feeds on plankton, has dramatically reduced plankton, which feeds on small fish, especially the black sea sprat, and disrupted the aquatic food chain.
A 10-fold reduction in the number of the black sea sprat in the Caspian Sea, which is itself the largest source of aquatic food, has led to a significant decline in the sturgeon population of the Caspian Sea.
Apart from introducing the Caspian Sea as a natural phenomenon, the interesting thing about this sea is that it has had many names during different historical periods and has undergone so many changes that office since 2009, the official name of this sea in official Iranian correspondence with other nations became “Caspian Sea” and internationally this sea’s name was fixated finally on Caspian.
Caspian is a term used in Western and Hebrew to refer to the North Sea of Iran. The Caspians were a white ethnic group that lived in the Caspian or Caspian region from the second millennium BC to the Sassanid era.
In the Middle Persian language the name “Farakh-Kart” and Avesta the holy book of Zoroastrians “Vourukasha” is used to denote the Caspian Sea.
Legends have it that once Ahura Mazda started to create life, 6 prototypes of 6 main elements of life were created.
A single drop of water was for all the water on earth. Then Ahriman (the devil) attacked his creation, and Ahura Mazda made it rain for 10 days and 10 nights so that all the pollution that Ahriman created vanished.
Then he blew a wind so that all those flooded water moved to the northern parts of the holy land of Ahura and created Tethys Ocean or Farakh-Kart or the Caspian Sea.
The importance of the Farakh-Kart in Iranian mythology is revealed where the North was generally the territory of the demons and the sea in the north (Farakh-Kart) was affected by these dark powers.
With the disappearance of Afrasiab, one of the long-time enemies and murderers of the most popular son of Iran, Prince Siyavash, son of Kay Kavus, in the depths of this sea, the Caspian Sea was cursed until the son and avenger of Siyavash Kay Khosrow, who happened to be Afrasiab’s grandson, finds him and punishes him for the crimes he committed.
The Caspian Sea, Farakh-kart, Vourukasha, and all those names, were saved and then reality consumed it.