The Mediterranean Sea is the body of water that separates Europe, Africa and Asia. The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a narrow passage called the Strait of Gibraltar. The sea is almost completely surrounded by land, on the north by Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Middle East. It covers around 2.5 million km² (965 000 mi²). To the east it connects to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, by the Dardanelles and the Bosporus. The Sea of Marmara is often thought of as a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The much bigger Black Sea is generally not considered part of the Mediterranean. The 163 km (101 mi) long man-made Suez Canal in the southeast connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The canal is between Egypt and the Sinai peninsula. It was built by the French Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez from 1859 to 1869.