Stara Planina

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Balkan_range.jpg
Stara Planina, Rhopode, Rila and Pirin Mountains

The Stara Planina ("Old Mountain") or Balkan mountain range is an extension of the Carpathian mountain range, separated from it by the Danube River. This range runs 560km from eastern Serbia westward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea. Sometimes included in term Balkan, but not Stara Planina, are the Rila and Pirin ranges in South-Western Bulgaria.

The highest peak of the region is Musala (2,925 m) in the Rila mountains near Sofija (Rila range), closely followed by Vikren (Rila range) and Greek Olympus.

The highest peaks of the Stara Planina itself are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev (2,376m), located in the Central Balkan National Park (established 1991). Dairy products, such as Kashkaval are produced here, as well as wine, plum and grape brandy known as Rakia.

Close to mount Botev is Kalofer, the birth place of Christo Botev, the national hero who died in the mountains near Vratsa in 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Also close to mount Botev is the Shipka ("rosehip") Pass, the scene of the battle in 1878 which eventually ended Turkish rule in the Balkans.

Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna. The most beautiful Bulgarian mountain flower Edelweiss grows there on peak Koziata stena.

There are several roads through Stara Planina:

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'.

Peaks

See also

da:Balkanbjergene de:Balkangebirge ja:バルカン山脈 nl:Stara Planina pl:Bałkany (góry) pt:Blcs (cordilheira) uk:Стара Планина

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