Musala is the highest peak
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 in 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 the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 m (9,596 ft). The summit of the 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...

 mountain in southwestern Bulgaria, Musala is the highest peak between the 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....

 and the Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and the highest in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 bar the Caucasus.
Between 1949–1962 the peak was named Stalin after the USSR communist dictator Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...


Musala is situated within the Rila National Park, which is noted for its rich flora, including species such as Macedonian Pine
Macedonian Pine
Pinus peuce is a species of pine native to the mountains of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, the extreme southwest of Serbia, and the extreme north of Greece, growing typically at 1,000-2,200 m altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area...

 and Bulgarian Fir
Bulgarian Fir
Abies borisii-regis is a species of fir native to the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula, in Bulgaria, northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Serbia...

 in the forests on its middle slopes, and fauna; it is one of the easiest places in Europe to see the wallcreeper
The Wallcreeper is a small passerine bird found throughout the high mountains of Eurasia. It is the only member of the genus Tichodroma.-Taxonomy and etymology:...

. All major mountain ranges of Bulgaria can be seen from the top; these include 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...

 to the northwest, 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...

 towards the northeast, the Balkan Mountains
Balkan Mountains
The Balkan mountain range is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka Chuka Peak on the border between Bulgaria and eastern Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea...

 along most of the northern horizon behind Vitosha and Sredna Gora, the 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...

 to the southeast, 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...

 to the south, Osogovo
Osogovo or Osogovska Planina is a mountain and ski resort between southwestern Bulgaria and northeastern Republic of Macedonia,...

 and Ruy Mountain
Ruy Mountain
Ruy or Ruj is a mountain on the border of western Bulgaria and southeastern Serbia. Its eponymous highest peak rises 1706 m above sea level. The mountain is located west of Tran and is part of the Ruy-Verila range. On a clear day one can see Rila and Vitosha in Bulgaria and Veliki Štresar in Serbia....

 to the west, and of course 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...


With an average annual temperature of -3 °C Musala is the coldest place in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula. Temperatures stay below 0 °C for about 8 months each year. Due to this about 45 % of the annual precipitation on Musala is snow, and snow cover lasts for about 200 days (more than 6,5 months). Three of the main rivers of Bulgaria, the Iskar
The Iskar is, with a length of 368 km, the longest river that runs solely in Bulgaria, and a tributary of the Danube.The Iskar is formed by three rivers, the Cherni Iskar, Beli Iskar and Levi Iskar , with the source being accepted to be the Prav Iskar, a tributary of the Cherni Iskar...

, Maritsa
The Maritsa or Evros , ) is, with a length of 480 km, the longest river that runs solely in the interior of the Balkans. It has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, flowing southeast between the Balkan and Rhodope Mountains, past Plovdiv and Parvomay to Edirne, Turkey...

 and Mesta
Mesta River
The Nestos or Mesta , formerly the Mesta Karasu , is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. It rises in the Rila Mountains and flows into the Aegean Sea near the island of Thasos. It plunges down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea through mostly metamorphic formations...

 have their sources near Musala.

The easiest climb is by a straightforward footpath from the ski
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

 resort of Borovets
Borovets , known as Chamkoria until the middle of the 20th century, is a popular Bulgarian mountain resort situated in Sofia Province, on the northern slopes of Rila, at an altitude of 1350 m...

, 10 km to the north; there is also a Gondola lift
Gondola lift
A gondola lift is a type of aerial lift, normally called a cable car, which is supported and propelled by cables from above. It consists of a loop of steel cable that is strung between two stations, sometimes over intermediate supporting towers. The cable is driven by a bullwheel in a terminal,...

 from Borovets to the Yastrebets peak at 2,369 m altitude and several mountain chalets
A chalet , also called Swiss chalet, is a type of building or house, native to the Alpine region, made of wood, with a heavy, gently sloping roof with wide, well-supported eaves set at right angles to the front of the house.-Definition and origin:...

. From Yastrebets it is a one hour hike to the Musala chalet (2,430 m), from which the ascent to the summit takes another 1,5 to 2 hours via the shelter Everest, the highest mountain hut in Bulgaria. A cosmic ray study station functioned at the summit until it was devastated by a fire in 1984. The station was re-opened in 1999 as the Environmental Observatory "Musala" of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where air pollutants and space radiation are monitored. Also there is a meteorological station, that is doing regular synoptic and climatic observations. The station belongs to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) and functions without breaks since 1933.

The next highest peaks in the vicinity of Musala are Little Musala (2,902 m) and Irechek (2,852 m).


Climate table:

Record high: 23оС

Record low: -31,2оС


Musala Glacier
Musala Glacier
Musala Glacier on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is bounded by St. Kiprian Peak to the south, Vratsa Peak to the southwest, central Breznik Heights to the west, and Ilarion Ridge bordering Hardy Cove to the northeast...

 on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands
South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, lying about north of the Antarctic Peninsula, with a total area of . By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the Islands' sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories and they are free for use by any signatory for...

, Antarctica is named after Musala Peak.
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