- Balkan Mountains
name=Balkan mountains (Stara Planina)
other_name= _bg. Стара планина
image_caption=A view from
Kom Peakin western Bulgaria.
country= Bulgaria| country1=Serbia|
geology= granite, gneiss, limestone|orogeny= |borders=
area=11596 | length=530 | length_orientation= west-east
width=15 - 50 | width_orientation= north-south
mountain range(Bulgarian and _sr. Стара планина, "Stara planina", "Old Mountain"). The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka ChukaPeak on the border between Bulgariaand eastern Serbiaeastward through central Bulgariato Cape Emineon the Black Sea. The highest peaks of the Stara planina are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev (2,376 m), located in the Central Balkan National Park(established 1991). The mountain gives the name of the Balkan Peninsula. Stara Planina played an enormous role in the History of Bulgariaand the development of the Bulgarian nation and people.
In earlier times the mountains were known as the
Haemus Mons. Scholars consider that "Haemus" (Greek " 'Aimos") is derived from an unattested Thracian word *saimon, meaning 'mountain range'.
Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna.
Edelweissgrows there in the region of "Kozyata stena". Some of the most striking landscapes are included in the Central Balkan National Parkwith steep cliffs, the highest waterfalls in the Balkan peninsula and lush vegetation. There are a number of important nature reserves such as Chuprene, Kozyata stena and others.
In geological term Stara Planina is a young mountain. It is part of the Alp-Himalayan chain which stretches across most of
Europeand Asia. It can be divided into two parts: the main Balkan Chain and the Pre-Balkanwhich follows the main chain to the north.
The mountain is crossed by 20 passes and 2 gorges. There are paved roads crossing Stara Planina at the following passes (listed from west to east):
Petrohan Pass: Sofia- Montana
Iskar Gorge(Iskarski prolom ): Sofia - Vratsa(also railroad)
Vitinya Pass: Hemus motorway(A2), Sofia - Botevgrad
Beklemeto Pass: Troyan- Sopot
Shipka Pass: Gabrovo- Kazanlak(also railroad)
Pass of the Republic(Prohod na republikata): Veliko Tarnovo- Gurkovo
Vratnik Pass: Elena- Sliven
Kotel Pass(Kotlenski prohod): Kotel - Petolachka ("Pentagram") crossroads
Varbitsa Pass(Varbishki prohod): Shumen- Petolachka crossroads
Rish Pass(Rishki prohod): Shumen - Karnobat
Luda Kamchiya Gorge(Ludokamchiyski prolom): Provadiya- Karnobat (also railroad)
Dyulino Pass(Dyulinski prohod): Varna- Aitos
Obzor Pass(Obzorski prohod): Varna - Burgas, future Cherno More motorway(A3)
Botev Peak2,376 m (named after Hristo Botev)
Vezhen Peak2,198 m
Midzhur2,169 m (the highest peak in Serbia, 12th in Stara Planina)
Kom Peak2,016 m
Todorini Kukli1,785 m
Shipka Peak1,523 m
* Levski Peak (named after
Stara Planina has a significant and special place in the history of Bulgaria from its foundation in 681. It was a natural fortress of the
Bulgarian Empirefor centuries and formed an effective barrier to Moesiawhere most of the Medievalcapitals were located. The Balkan mountains were the site of numerous battles between the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empires including the Battle of the Rishki Pass(759), Battle of the Varbitsa Pass (811), Battle of Tryavna(1190) and many others. In the battle of the Varbitsa Pass Khan Krum decisively defeated an enormous Byzantine army killing Emperor Nikephoros I. For many centuries the Byzantines feared that mountain and on several occasions Byzantine armies had pulled back only on the news of approaching Stara Planina.
During the Ottoman rule many "
haiduks" found refuge in Stara Planina. Close to the highest summit, the Botev Peak, is Kalofer, the birth place of Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian poet and national hero who died in the Western Stara Planina near Vratsain 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Also close to Botev peak is the Shipka Pass, the scene of the four battles in Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans. Close to the pass in the village of Shipka there is a Russian Orthodox church, built to commemorate Russian and Bulgarian bravery during pass defense.
Rhodope Mountains, Rila, Pirin, Dinaric Alps, Šar mountain, Pindus— other major mountain chains in the Balkan region
* [http://www.staraplanina.org/engl/sp.php Regional tourist association]
* [http://www.stara-planina.net/ Stara Planina]
* [http://www.panoramio.com/user/1018024/tags/Mountain.%20Izotchna%20Stara%20Planina Eastern Stara Planina Gallery]
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