Almas Caviar: Caspian Sea (or Lake?)

Ana B. Remos

Almas Caviar, the world’s most expensive, is harvested from the Albino Beluga Sturgeon, whose habitat includes the Caspian Sea. Measured by area, the Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on the planet. It is considered by some as the Earth’s largest lake as well as a sea, by others. Most agree the “sea” is actually a lake but when it was discovered to have approximately a third of the salinity of seawater, not to mention its immense size, it was classified as the former and remains named as such to this day. However, the facts suggest otherwise.

Confused? Don’t be. Read on.

The Caspian Sea is located in an endorheic basin that lies between Europe and Asia. The following countries comprise its shores:

Caspian Sea Facts

Lake Type:

  • Endorheic
  • Saline
  • Permanent
  • Natural

Primary Inflows:

  • Volga River
  • Ural River
  • Kura River
  • Terek River

Primary Outflows:

  • Evaporation
  • Garabogazköl

Catchment Area:

  • 3,626,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi)

Maximum Length:

  • 1,030 km (640 mi)

Maximum Width:

  • 435 km (270 mi)

Surface Area:

  • 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi)

Average Depth:

  • 211 m (690 ft)

Maximum Depth:

  • 1,025 m (3,360 ft)

Water Volume:

  • 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi)

Residence Time:

  • 250 years

Shore Length:

17,000 km (4,300 mi)

Surface Elevation:

  • −28 m (−92 ft)


  • 26+


  • Baku (Azerbaijan), Anzali (Iran), Aktau (Kazakhstan), Makhachkala (Russia), Türkmenbaşy (Turkmenistan)

So, is the Caspian Sea a sea, or is it a lake? Watch this short documentary regarding its history, then decide for yourself.

© | 2019