In Pictures

Travelling the Black Sea

Empires have clashed here for centuries and tensions are rising again on the Black Sea. BBC World Service journeyed around a sea full of surprises, from Ukraine and Abkhazia to Bulgaria and Turkey.

Coast in Odessa Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption The voyage began in Odessa, a seaport city in Ukraine.
Postcards of Odessa in old and modern times Image copyright Optimum, Odessa
Image caption Odessa has been captured in both old and modern times in this selection of postcards.
Front cover of a ferry ticket booklet Image copyright UkrFerry, Odessa
Image caption The historic Black Sea ports connect this changing region. We travelled by ferry, rowing boat and horse-drawn wagon.
Postcards of Abkhazia Image copyright Panorama, Moscow
Image caption On the far north-east shore of the Black Sea, remote Abkhazia has the trappings of independence, but is unrecognised by most of the world.
Abkhazian war veterans Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption Abkhazian veterans of World War Two gathered on Victory Day, May 9th.
Three diving pressure gauges Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption The Abkhaz Academy of Sciences was at the forefront of Soviet underwater research, using diving pressure gauges such as these.
Posters in the Abkhaz Institute of Ecology Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption 1988 was the final year of Soviet funding for what's now the renovated Abkhaz Institute of Ecology.
Recipes cards from Abkhazia Image copyright Abkhazia Print, Abkhazia
Image caption Recipe cards from Abkhazia give a taste of the hospitality of the locals.
Soviet underwater microphone Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption The Acoustics Research Institute in Soviet Abkhazia built this innovative underwater microphone for recording sea life.
An Ottoman shipwreck Image copyright Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project
Image caption This Ottoman shipwreck discovered under 300 metres of water has wood carvings still intact.
Lamps Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption These lamps were found by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project below the sea bed off Sozopol, a seaside town in Bulgaria.
Truckers on board a ferry Image copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption Black Sea truckers drive thousands of miles through Europe, the Caucasus and on to China. At the Black Sea, they take a break from the wheel and cross from Istanbul to Odessa by ferry.

All photographs are copyrighted.