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The Mediterranean Sea is almost landlocked, being joined with the open Atlantic Ocean only by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. It lies between Europe and Africa and is more than 3,220km long. The north side of the Mediterranean is broken up by the Adriatic and Aegean seas as well as by the peninsulas of Italy and Greece. Most of the islands are in the northern part of the sea. In 1869 the Suez Canal was opened, thus making the Mediterranean the shortest sea route between Europe and the East.