Balkan Mountains
Overview
 
The Balkan mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

(Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and , Stara planina, "Old Mountain"; stâːraː planǐna) is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka Chuka
Vrashka Chuka
Vrashka Chuka or Vrška čuka is a peak in the Balkan Mountains, situated on the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. The peak is high. Vrashka Chuka is the most northwestern peak in the Balkan mountains and part of Babin Nos mountain. Vrashka Chuka Pass is located to the north of the peak. There...

 (Serbian: Vrška Čuka) Peak on the border between Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and eastern Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine
Cape Emine
Cape Emine is a headland located at the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located 49 miles south of Varna, 34 miles north of Burgas and 9 miles south of Obzor. It forms the tip of Stara Planina. Cape Emine is said to be Bulgaria's stormiest cape....

 on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. The highest peaks of the Stara planina are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev
Botev Peak
Botev Peak is, at 2,376 m above sea level, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains. It is located close to the geographic centre of Bulgaria, and is part of the Central Balkan National Park....

 (2,376 m), located in the Central Balkan National Park
Central Balkan National Park
The Central Balkan National Park lies in the heart of Bulgaria, nestled in the central and higher portions of the Balkan Range. The Park contains rare and endangered wildlife species and communities, self-regulating ecosystems of biological diversity, as well as historical sites of global cultural...

 (established 1991).
Encyclopedia
The Balkan mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

(Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and , Stara planina, "Old Mountain"; stâːraː planǐna) is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka Chuka
Vrashka Chuka
Vrashka Chuka or Vrška čuka is a peak in the Balkan Mountains, situated on the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. The peak is high. Vrashka Chuka is the most northwestern peak in the Balkan mountains and part of Babin Nos mountain. Vrashka Chuka Pass is located to the north of the peak. There...

 (Serbian: Vrška Čuka) Peak on the border between Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and eastern Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine
Cape Emine
Cape Emine is a headland located at the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located 49 miles south of Varna, 34 miles north of Burgas and 9 miles south of Obzor. It forms the tip of Stara Planina. Cape Emine is said to be Bulgaria's stormiest cape....

 on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. The highest peaks of the Stara planina are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev
Botev Peak
Botev Peak is, at 2,376 m above sea level, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains. It is located close to the geographic centre of Bulgaria, and is part of the Central Balkan National Park....

 (2,376 m), located in the Central Balkan National Park
Central Balkan National Park
The Central Balkan National Park lies in the heart of Bulgaria, nestled in the central and higher portions of the Balkan Range. The Park contains rare and endangered wildlife species and communities, self-regulating ecosystems of biological diversity, as well as historical sites of global cultural...

 (established 1991). The mountain gives the name of the Balkan Peninsula. Stara planina played an enormous role in the history of Bulgaria
History of Bulgaria
The history of Bulgaria spans from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The first traces of human presence on what is today Bulgaria date from 44,000 BC...

 and the development of the Bulgarian
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 nation and people.

In earlier times the mountains were known as the Haemus Mons
Haemus Mons
In earlier times the Balkan mountains were known as the Haemus Mons. It is believed that the name is derived from a Thracian word *saimon, 'mountain ridge', which is unattested but conjectured as the original Thracian form of Greek Haimos....

. Scholars consider that Haemus (Greek Haimos) is derived from an unattested Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

 word *saimon, meaning 'mountain range'. Other names used to refer to the mountains in different time periods include Aemon, Haemimons, Hem, Emus, the Slavonic Matorni gori, the Turkish Kodzhabalkan and Balkan.
"" comes from a Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 word meaning "a chain of wooded mountains". In places like Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 and the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 one still encounters this name, such as the Balkan Peninsula and the Balkan Province
Balkan Province
Balkan Province is one of the Welayat of Turkmenistan. It is in the far west of the country, bordering Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, and Iran. Its capital is Balkanabat, formerly known as Nebit Dag. It has an area of 139,270 square kilometers and a population of approximately 553,500...

 in Turkmenistan.

Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna. Edelweiss
Edelweiss
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known European mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.-Names:The common name comes from German edel, meaning "noble", and weiß "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek...

 grows there in the region of Kozyata stena. Some of the most striking landscapes are included in the Central Balkan National Park with 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. Most of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

's large mammals inhabit the area including the brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

, wolf, boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

, chamois
Chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

.

Geography

Geologically, Stara Planina is a 'young' part of the Alp
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

-Himalayan
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 chain which stretches across most of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. It can be divided into two parts: the main Balkan Chain and the Pre-Balkans to the north, which intrude slightly into the Danubian Plain
Danubian Plain (Bulgaria)
The Danubian Plain constitutes the northern part of Bulgaria, situated north of the Balkan Mountains and south of the Danube. Its western border is the Timok River and to the east it borders the Black Sea. The plain has an area of . It is about long and wide.The relief of the Danubian Plain is...

. To the south, the mountain borders with the Sub-Balkan valleys
Sub-Balkan valleys
The Sub-Balkan valleys are located between Stara Planina, Vitosha and Sredna Gora. There is great abundance of mineral waters, the most notable spas being Bankya, Sofia, Banya, Pavel Banya, Sliven Mineral Baths, Aitos. They are divided into two parts: western and eastern...

 - a row of 11 valleys running from the border with Serbia to the west to the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to the east which separate the Balkan mountains from a chain of other mountains known as Srednogorie which include Vitosha
Vitosha
Vitosha is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Vitosha is one of the tourists symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism and skiing. Convenient bus lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has the outlines of an enormous...

 and Sredna Gora
Sredna Gora
Sredna Gora is a mountain range in central Bulgaria, situated south of and parallel to Balkan mountain range and extending from the river Iskar to the west and the elbow of Tundzha north of Yambol to the east. Sredna Gora is 285 km long, reaching 50 km at its greatest width...

.

The range consists of around 30 portions called mountains. Stara Planina can be divided into three sections:
  • Western Stara Planina from Vrshka Chuka at the border with Serbia to the Pass of Arabakonak
    Arabakonak
    Arabakonak or Botevgrad Pass is a mountain pass through the Balkan Mountains connecting Sofia with Botevgrad and Northern Bulgaria. It has been the site of several important events of the history of Bulgaria....

     with a total length of 190 km and highest peak Midžor
    Midzor
    Midžor is a peak in the Balkan Mountains, situated on the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. At , it is the highest peak of the Western Balkan Mountains, as well as of Central SerbiaThe highest peak of Serbia is officially Đeravica in the Prokletije mountain range at , but is located in Kosovo....

     (2,169 m).
  • Central Stara Planina from Arabakonak to the Vratnik Pass
    Vratnik Pass
    Vratnik Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Elena and Sliven....

     with a length of 207 km. Botev Peak
    Botev Peak
    Botev Peak is, at 2,376 m above sea level, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains. It is located close to the geographic centre of Bulgaria, and is part of the Central Balkan National Park....

     (2,376 m) which is the highest in the range is located in that section.
  • Eastern Stara Planina from the Vratnik Pass to Cape Emine
    Cape Emine
    Cape Emine is a headland located at the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located 49 miles south of Varna, 34 miles north of Burgas and 9 miles south of Obzor. It forms the tip of Stara Planina. Cape Emine is said to be Bulgaria's stormiest cape....

     with a length of 160 km and highest peak Balgarka (1181 m). Eastern Stara Planina forms the lowest part of the range.


Stara Planina forms a water divide between the rivers flowing to the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 in the north and those flowing to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 in the south. However, it is crossed by Bulgaria's widest river, the Iskar, which forms the spectacular Iskar Gorge
Iskar Gorge
The Iskar Gorge is a gorge passing through the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Sofia and Mezdra.The road and railroad follow the course of the Iskar River through a winding, scenic canyon.-References:*...

. Rivers which take their source from Stara Planina and flow northwards to the Danube include Timok
Timok River
The Timok is a river in eastern Serbia and for the last 15 km of its run a border between eastern Serbia and western Bulgaria.It derives the names in all these from the name it had in antiquity, Latin: Timacus....

, Archar
Archar River
The Archar or Archaritsa is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Danube. It originates in the western Balkan Mountains and is around 60 kilometres in length, with a drainage basin of 364 square kilometres. The river runs through limestone terrain...

, Lom
Lom River
The Lom is a river in northwestern Bulgaria, a right tributary of the Danube flowing into it 1 km east of the town of Lom.The river takes its source from the foot of Midzhur , the highest peak of western Stara Planina, on the Bulgarian-Serbian border, and mainly flows northeast until its...

, Tsibritsa
Tsibritsa
The Tsibritsa is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Danube. The river originates in the Shiroka Planina area of the Fore-Balkan Mountains near the Serbian border and flows in a northeast direction diagonally through Montana Province...

, Ogosta
Ogosta
The Ogosta , is a river in Northern Bulgaria, a right tributary of the Danube. It takes it source from Vrazha Glava Peak on the border with Serbia. The towns of Chiprovtsi, Montana and Miziya are situated on the river's banks....

, Skat
Skat River
The Skat is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Ogosta.The Skat takes its source from the Rechka area near the Veslets mountain in Vratsa Province, part of the western Fore-Balkan Mountains, north of the Manyashki Vrah peak. It goes round the...

, Vit
Vit
The Vit also Vid is a river in central northern Bulgaria with a length of 18 km. It is a tributary of Danube. The source of the Vit is in Stara Planina, below Vezhen Peak at an altitude of 2,030 m, and it empties into the Danube close to Somovit...

, Osam
Osam
The Osam is a river in northern Bulgaria. Its drainage basin is in between that of the river Vit to the west and the Yantra system to the east. The river has two main tributaries in its upper course: the Black Osam takes its source from the foot of Levski Peak in the Balkan Mountains, at an...

, Yantra
Yantra
Yantra is the Sanskrit word for "instrument" or "machine". Much like the word "instrument" itself, it can stand for symbols, processes, automata, machinery or anything that has structure and organization, depending on context....

, Rusenski Lom
Rusenski Lom
The Rusenski Lom is a river in northeastern Bulgaria, the last major right tributary of the Danube. It is formed by the rivers Beli Lom and Cherni Lom, the former taking its source south of Razgrad and the latter southeast of Popovo....

. It is also the source of the Kamchia which directly flows in the Black Sea. Although not so abundant in mineral waters as other parts of Bulgaria, there are several spas such as Varshets
Varshets
Varshets is a spa town in Montana Province, northwestern Bulgaria. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Varshets Municipality. As of December 2009, its population is 6,538. The town is located on the northern slopes of the western part of the Balkan mountains in the small valley of...

, Shipkovo and Voneshta Voda. There are a number of waterfalls, especially in the western and central parts of the range such as Raysko Praskalo
Raysko Praskalo
Raysko Praskalo , 124.5 m in height, is the highest waterfall in Bulgaria and the Balkans. It is located under Botev Peak in the Balkan Mountains and is part of the Dzhendema Reserve of the Central Balkan National Park....

 which is the highest waterfall in the Balkan Peninsula, Borov Kamak
Borov Kamak
Borov Kamak is a waterfall in the Vratsa mountain, western Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria. The waterfall is situated on one the tributaries of the river Leva which flows through Vratsa. It is located on the territory of Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park. The waterfall is 50 m high....

, Babsko Praskalo
Babsko Praskalo
Babsko Praskalo is a waterfall in the Central Balkan National Park, Balkan Mountains, central Bulgaria. With a height of 54 m the waterfall is among the lowest in the area....

, Etropole Waterfall
Etropole Waterfall
Etropole Waterfall , known also as Varovitets is a waterfall in the Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria, located near the Etropole Monastery. It is situated on a small river which flows near the monastery....

, Karlovsko Praskalo
Karlovsko Praskalo
Karlovsko Praskalo is a waterfall in the Central Balkan National Park, Balkan Mountains, central Bulgaria. It is located at 1450 m altitude in the southern slope of the Zhaltets Peak. The waterfall is 30 m high. Karlovsko Praskalo and the surrounding area had been declared natural landmark in 1965....

, Skaklya and others.

Passes

The mountain is crossed by 20 passes and two gorges. There are paved roads crossing Stara Planina at the following passes (listed from west to east):
  • Petrohan Pass
    Petrohan Pass
    Petrohan Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Sofia and Montana....

    : Sofia
    Sofia
    Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

     - Montana
    Montana, Bulgaria
    - Elite High Scools :*Foreign Language HS "Petar Bogdan". Emphasis on English and German language proficiency. Recognized and praised for its scholars' academic accomplishments worldwide. http://gpchemont.com/sitegpche/...

  • Iskar Gorge
    Iskar Gorge
    The Iskar Gorge is a gorge passing through the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Sofia and Mezdra.The road and railroad follow the course of the Iskar River through a winding, scenic canyon.-References:*...

     (Iskarski prolom ): Sofia - Vratsa
    Vratsa
    Vratsa is a city in northwestern Bulgaria, at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Vratsa Province. As of February 2011, the town has a population of 60,482 inhabitants....

     (also railroad)
  • Vitinya Pass
    Vitinya Pass
    Vitinya Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Sofia and Botevgrad.The Hemus motorway passes it in a tunnel just below the summit. The motorway includes a notable girder bridge called the Bebresh Viaduct....

    : Hemus motorway
    Hemus motorway
    The Hemus motorway or Haemus motorway , designated A2, is a motorway currently under construction in Bulgaria. Its planned length is 433 km, of which 129 km are in operation , divided into two sections — Sofia-Yablanitsa and Varna-Shumen...

     (A2), Sofia - Botevgrad
    Botevgrad
    Botevgrad ; pre-1866: Samundzhievo ), is a town in western Bulgaria. It is located in Sofia Province and is close to Pravets. Botevgrad is situated at a 47-km-distance from Sofia.-Geography:...

  • Beklemeto Pass
    Beklemeto Pass
    Beklemeto Pass, also known as Troyan Pass , is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Troyan and Karnare on the Karlovo Plain....

    : Troyan
    Troyan
    Troyan is a town in Lovech Province in central Bulgaria with population of 21,997 inhabitants, as of December 2009,. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Troyan Municipality. The town is about 160 km away from the country capital Sofia. The nearest civilian airport is Gorna...

     - Sopot
    Sopot, Bulgaria
    Sopot is a Bulgarian town situated in the fertile sub-Balkan mountain valley of Karlovo , immediately below the steep southern slopes of the Troyan Balkan Mountain...

  • Shipka Pass
    Shipka Pass
    Shipka Pass is a scenic mountain pass through the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It marks the border between Stara Zagora province and Gabrovo province. The pass connects Gabrovo and Kazanlak. The pass is part of the Bulgarka Nature Park.The pass is 13 km by road north of the small town of...

    : Gabrovo
    Gabrovo
    Gabrovo is a city in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire , as well as noted for its Bulgarian National...

     - Kazanlak
    Kazanlak
    Kazanlak, formerly Kazanlık is a Bulgarian town in Stara Zagora Province, located in the middle of the plain of the same name, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range, at the eastern end of the Rose Valley...

     (also railroad)
  • Pass of the Republic
    Pass of the Republic
    Pass of the Republic is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Veliko Tarnovo and Gurkovo....

     (Prohod na republikata): Veliko Tarnovo
    Veliko Tarnovo
    Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists...

     - Gurkovo
    Gurkovo
    Gurkovo is a small town in the Stara Zagora Province, South-central Bulgaria. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Gurkovo Municipality...

  • Vratnik Pass
    Vratnik Pass
    Vratnik Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Elena and Sliven....

    : Elena
    Elena
    -Fictional characters:* Elena Fisher, a character in the Uncharted series* Elena Gilbert, from The Vampire Diaries* Elena of Turks, from Final Fantasy VII* Elena , from Street Fighter III...

     - Sliven
    Sliven
    Sliven is the eighth-largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and industrial centre of Sliven Province and municipality. It is a relatively large town with 89,848 inhabitants, as of February 2011....

  • Kotel Pass
    Kotel Pass
    Kotel Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects the Kotel and Petolachka crossroads.The pass is on one of the main routes connecting northern and southern Bulgaria.-References:*...

     (Kotlenski prohod): Kotel
    Kotel, Bulgaria
    Kotel is a town in central Bulgaria, part of Sliven Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Kotel Municipality. As of december 2009, the town has a population of 6,232 inhabitants....

     - Petolachka (Pentagram) crossroads
  • Varbitsa Pass
    Varbitsa Pass
    Varbitsa Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Shumen and Petolachka crossroads.The famous Battle of Pliska was fought in the pass on August 26, 811 between the armies of Bulgarian Empire led by Khan Krum and the Byzantine Empire under Nicephorus I which ended...

     (Varbishki prohod): Shumen
    Shumen
    Shumen is the tenth-largest city in Bulgaria and capital of Shumen Province. In the period 1950–1965 it was called Kolarovgrad, after the name of the communist leader Vasil Kolarov...

     - Petolachka crossroads
  • Rish Pass
    Rish Pass
    Rish Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Shumen and Karnobat. On the Shumen side of the pass is the village of Rish where GazYatz resides....

     (Rishki prohod): Shumen - Karnobat
    Karnobat
    Karnobat is a town in the Burgas Province, Southeastern Bulgaria. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Karnobat Municipality. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 18,480 inhabitants.-Geography:...

  • Luda Kamchiya Gorge
    Luda Kamchiya Gorge
    The Luda Kamchiya Gorge is a gorge in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Dalgopol and Karnobat.The road and railroad follow the course of the Kamchiya River. This is one of the important railway routes between northern and southern Bulgaria....

     (Ludokamchiyski prolom): Provadiya
    Provadiya
    Provadia is a town in northeastern Bulgaria, part of Varna Province, located in a deep karst gorge along the Provadia River not far from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Provadiya Municipality. As of December 2009, the town has a population of...

     - Karnobat (also railroad)
  • Aytos Pass (Aytoski prohod) - Provadiya
    Provadiya
    Provadia is a town in northeastern Bulgaria, part of Varna Province, located in a deep karst gorge along the Provadia River not far from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Provadiya Municipality. As of December 2009, the town has a population of...

     - Aytos
    Aytos
    Aytos , sometimes written Aitos and Ajtos, is a town located in eastern Bulgaria some 30 kilometers from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and belonging to the administrative boundaries of Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Aytos Municipality...

  • Dyulino Pass
    Dyulino Pass
    Dyulino Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in eastern Bulgaria. It connects Varna and Aitos....

     (Dyulinski prohod): Varna
    Varna
    Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 334,870 inhabitants according to Census 2011...

     - Aytos
  • Obzor Pass
    Obzor Pass
    Obzor Pass is a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It connects Varna and Burgas....

     (Obzorski prohod): Varna - Burgas
    Burgas
    -History:During the rule of the Ancient Romans, near Burgas, Debeltum was established as a military colony for veterans by Vespasian. In the Middle Ages, a small fortress called Pyrgos was erected where Burgas is today and was most probably used as a watchtower...

    , future Cherno More motorway
    Cherno More motorway
    The Cherno More motorway or the Black Sea motorway is a Bulgarian motorway planned to link the major coastal cities of Varna and Burgas, passing along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is part of the Pan-European corridor VIII and is to be 103 km long when finished...

     (A3)

Peaks

  • Botev Peak
    Botev Peak
    Botev Peak is, at 2,376 m above sea level, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains. It is located close to the geographic centre of Bulgaria, and is part of the Central Balkan National Park....

     2376 m (7,795 ft), named after Hristo Botev
    Hristo Botev
    Hristo Botev , born Hristo Botyov Petkov , was a Bulgarian poet and national revolutionary. Botev is widely considered by Bulgarians to be a symbolic historical figure and national hero.-Early years:...

    .
  • Vezhen Peak
    Vezhen Peak
    Vezhen is a peak in the western Balkan Mountains, located in western Bulgaria. At Vezhen is the 77th highest mountain in Bulgaria. It is situated in the Teteven mountain. Its slopes mark the border of the Tsarichina Reserve. Around the peak's area is located the largest forests of Pinus peuce in...

     2198 m (7,211 ft)
  • Midžor
    Midzor
    Midžor is a peak in the Balkan Mountains, situated on the border between Bulgaria and Serbia. At , it is the highest peak of the Western Balkan Mountains, as well as of Central SerbiaThe highest peak of Serbia is officially Đeravica in the Prokletije mountain range at , but is located in Kosovo....

     2169 m (7,116 ft), the highest peak in Serbia and north-western Bulgaria, 12th in the Balkan Mountains.
  • Kom Peak
    Kom Peak
    Kom Peak or Golyam Kom is a peak in the western Balkan Mountains, located in western Bulgaria, not far from the Serbian border. The peak is 2,016 metres high and lies south of the town of Berkovitsa, of which it is a traditional symbol...

     2016 m (6,614 ft)
  • Todorini Kukli 1785 m (5,856 ft)
  • Murgash 1687 m (5,535 ft)
  • Shipka Peak 1523 m (4,997 ft)
  • Buzludzha
    Buzludzha
    Buzludzha is a historical peak in the Central Stara Planina, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks. In 1891 the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area...

     1441 m (4,728 ft)
  • Balgarka Peak 1181 m (3,875 ft)
  • Levski Peak
    Levski Peak (Bulgaria)
    Levski Peak is a peak in the central Balkan Mountains, in Lovech Province, Bulgaria. It is named after the famous Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski. The peak is high and is situated on the main ridge of the mountain range to the west of Golyam Kupen Peak....

     (named after Vasil Levski
    Vasil Levski
    Vasil Levski, born Vasil Ivanov Kunchev, , is a Bulgarian revolutionary and a national hero of Bulgaria. Dubbed the Apostle of Freedom, Levski ideologised and strategised a revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule...

    )
  • Vetren
    Vetren
    Vetren is a small town in the Pazardzhik Province, Bulgaria. It is one of the newest towns in the country, as it gained its town status in 2005. The population is 3,355. Vetren is located in a rich agricultural region close to the Trakiya motorway....

     1330 m (4,364 ft)

History

Stara Planina has a significant and special place in the history of Bulgaria since its foundation in 681. It was a natural fortress of the Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire is a term used to describe two periods in the medieval history of Bulgaria, during which it acted as a key regional power in Europe in general and in Southeastern Europe in particular, rivalling Byzantium...

 for centuries and formed an effective barrier to Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 where most of the medieval capitals were located. The Balkan mountains were the site of numerous battles between the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

s including the Battle of the Rishki Pass
Battle of the Rishki Pass
The Battle of the Rishki Pass took place in the pass of the same name, in Stara Planina, Bulgaria in 759. It was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire...

 (759), Battle of the Varbitsa Pass
Battle of Pliska
The Battle of Pliska or Battle of Vărbitsa Pass was a series of battles between troops, gathered from all parts of the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Nicephorus I Genik, and Bulgaria, governed by Khan Krum...

 (811), Battle of Tryavna
Battle of Tryavna
The battle of Tryavna occurred in 1190 in the mountains around the contemporary town of Tryavna, central Bulgaria. The result was a Bulgarian victory over the Byzantine Empire, which secured the successes achieved since the beginning of the Rebellion of Asen and Peter in 1185.- Origins of the...

 (1190) and many others. In the battle of the Varbitsa Pass, Khan Krum
Krum of Bulgaria
Krum the Horrible was Khan of Bulgaria, from after 796, but before 803, to 814 AD. During his reign the Bulgarian territory doubled in size, spreading from the middle Danube to the Dnieper and from Odrin to the Tatra Mountains. His able and energetic rule brought law and order to Bulgaria and...

 decisively defeated an enormous Byzantine army, killing Emperor Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I, Logothetes or Genikos was Byzantine emperor from 802 to 811, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska....

. 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, Botev Peak
Botev Peak
Botev Peak is, at 2,376 m above sea level, the highest peak of the Balkan Mountains. It is located close to the geographic centre of Bulgaria, and is part of the Central Balkan National Park....

, is Kalofer
Kalofer
Kalofer is a town in central Bulgaria, located on the banks of the Tundzha between the Balkan Mountains to the north and the Sredna Gora to the south. Kalofer is part of Plovdiv Province and the Karlovo municipality...

, the birth place of Hristo Botev
Hristo Botev
Hristo Botev , born Hristo Botyov Petkov , was a Bulgarian poet and national revolutionary. Botev is widely considered by Bulgarians to be a symbolic historical figure and national hero.-Early years:...

, a Bulgarian poet and national hero who died in the western Stara planina near Vratsa
Vratsa
Vratsa is a city in northwestern Bulgaria, at the foothills of the Balkan Mountains. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Vratsa Province. As of February 2011, the town has a population of 60,482 inhabitants....

 in 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Also close to Botev Peak is the Shipka Pass
Shipka Pass
Shipka Pass is a scenic mountain pass through the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. It marks the border between Stara Zagora province and Gabrovo province. The pass connects Gabrovo and Kazanlak. The pass is part of the Bulgarka Nature Park.The pass is 13 km by road north of the small town of...

, the scene of the four battles
Battle of Shipka Pass
Four battles were fought between the Russian Empire, aided by Bulgarian volunteers known as Opalchentsi, and the Ottoman Empire for control over the vital Shipka Pass during the Russo-Turkish War...

 in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78, which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans. Close to the pass in the village of Shipka, there is a Russian Orthodox
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 church built to commemorate Russian and Bulgarian bravery during pass defense.

See also

  • Rhodope Mountains
    Rhodope Mountains
    The Rhodopes are a mountain range in Southeastern Europe, with over 83% of its area in southern Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik , is the seventh highest Bulgarian mountain...

    , Rila
    Rila
    Rila is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkans, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m...

    , Pirin
    Pirin
    The Pirin Mountains are a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria, with Vihren the highest peak, situated at . The range extends about 40 km northwest-southeast, and about 25 km wide. Most of the range is protected in the Pirin National Park...

    , Dinaric Alps
    Dinaric Alps
    The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides form a mountain chain in Southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro....

    , Šar mountain
    Šar Mountain
    The Šar Mountains , formerly known as the Shar Dagh , is a mountain range in the Balkans that extends from southern Kosovo and the northwest of the Republic of Macedonia to northeastern Albania.-Etymology:...

    , Pindus
    Pindus
    The Pindus mountain range is located in northern Greece and southern Albania. It is roughly 160 km long, with a maximum elevation of 2637 m . Because it runs along the border of Thessaly and Epirus, the Pindus range is often called the "spine of Greece"...

     — other major mountain chains in the Balkan region
  • Balkans
    Balkans
    The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

  • Bulgarka Nature Park
    Bulgarka Nature Park
    The Bulgarka Natural Park is a Bulgarian nature park located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains , occupying 22,000 hectares of territory in the central and Eastern part of the mountains between the cities of Gabrovo and Kazanluk.Located between the steep topography of the Central...


External links

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