The word ‘mediterranean’ comes from the Latin medius = middle, and terra = Earth, and means in the midst of the land, or surrounded by land. The description is almost a true one, for the only breaks in the coastline are the 14.3 kilometres wide Straits of Gibraltar and the much narrower Dardanelles.
The Mediterranean Sea is by far the largest land-locked sheet of water in the world. It has an area of nearly a 25,00,000 square kilometres. As more water is evaporated from it than comes from rivers emptying into it, there is always an inward current through the Straits of Gibraltar, and the water is saltier than that of the Atlantic Ocean. Its deepest portions are in the eastern half, where depths of up to about 5,200 metres are found. The Mediterranean Sea is not tideless, but the tidal range in many parts is only a few centimeters.