Azov, Or Azof, Sea Of (Anc. Palus Maeotis), an inland sea of southern Russia, lying between lat. 45° 20' and 47° 20' N, and lon. 35° and 39° E. The Turks call it Balik-Denghis, or Fish sea, from the abundance of fish in its waters. Its extreme length from N. E. to S. W. is about 235 m.; breadth about 110 m.; area, 14,000 sq. m. The waters are nearly fresh, very shallow, encumbered with sand banks, and navigable only by vessels of small draught. The sea is properly a gulf of the Black sea, with which it is connected on the south by the strait of Yeni-kale or of Kertch (anc. Bosporus Cimmerius), about 30 m. long. For four months it is frozen over, the navigation opening early in April and closing late in November. The Siwash, or Putrid sea, a western continuation of the sea of Azov, is cut off by a long narrow slip of land called the tongue of Arabat, and entered by the strait of Genitchi, at the north of the tongue. It is separated from the Black sea by the isthmus of Perekop. The Putrid sea is little more than a long reach of swamps.
The Don is the largest river emptying into the sea of Azov.