Dinaric Alps

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Dinaric Alps

(dīnâr`ĭk), Ital. Alpi Dinariche, Serbo-Croatian Dinara Planina, mountain system, extending c.400 mi (640 km) along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea from the Isonzo River, NE Italy, through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, to the Drin River, N Albania. The highest peak is Jezerce (8,833 ft/2,692 m) in N Albania. The system, linked to the main Alpine group by the Julian Alps, consists of the Dinaric Alps proper, Velebit Mts., Karst plateau, and North Albanian Alps. The partially submerged western part of the system forms the numerous islands and harbors along the Croatian coast. The rugged mountains, composed of limestone and dolomite, are a barrier to travel from the coast to the interior; there are no natural passes. Sinkholes and caverns dominate the landscape. The region is sparsely populated and forestry and mining are the chief economic activities.

Dinaric Alps


(Dinarsko gorje), mountains in the north-western part of the Balkan Peninsula in Yugoslavia and northern Albania. The Dinaric Alps extend 650 km from the Julian Alps on the north to the Drin River in the south, and they are from 60 to 230 km wide. On the east they are bounded by the Central Danubian Plain and by the Ibar valley.

The coastal part of the Dinaric Alps, which is its highest region, drops abruptly toward the Adriatic Sea and is composed mainly of Mesozoic limestones, in which karst forms of relief are widely represented—poljes (large solution depressions), lapies, and disappearing rivers. The coastal area of the Dinaric Alps consists of several plateaus separated by mountain ridges and the deep gorges of a number of rivers, including the Neretva, Vrbas, and Tara. The highest mountain ridges and massifs are Snezhik (1,796 m), Velebit (1,758 m), Dinara (1,913 m), Curstnica (2,228 m), Durmitor (2,522 m), and Prokletije (2,692 m). Above 2,000 m there are traces of ancient glaciation. In the eastern part of the Dinaric Alps Paleozoic shales and sandstones and volcanic and metamorphic rocks occur. In this region mountain ridges such as Romanija (1,629 m), Javor (1,537 m), and Zlatibor (1,496 m) are separated by the relatively broad valleys of the Bosna, Drina, Zapadna Morava and their many tributaries.

In the coastal areas the climate is subtropical central Mediterranean, and in the eastern regions it ranges from moderate continental to central Mediterranean. The summers are warm, with the average July temperature between 15° and 20°C. In the mountains the winter is cold (temperatures as low as −18°C), and there are snowfalls. In the valleys and basins the winters are moderately cold (average January temperature between −2° and −4°C), but in coastal areas the winters are mild (average January temperature, 2°-8°C). In the west precipitation occurs especially in autumn and winter (on coastal slopes, 1,000-3,000 mm per year, and in the south at Kotor Bay, about 4,000 mm). In the east the maximum rainfall is in summer (90-1,000 mm on ridges and 500-750 mm in basins).

Shrubs and forests with hard-leaved evergreen species are found on the lower southern coastal slopes, but in the upper slopes and the highlands treeless karst wilderness prevails. The eastern mountains are covered with oak, beech, and coniferous forests. A number of areas of the Dinaric Alps have been declared state preserves and national parks (for example, Gorski Kotar, the Durmitor, Lovcen and Prenj mountain massifs, the Tara valley, and the Plitvica Lakes).

The principal occupation of the population in the western Dinaric Alps is animal husbandry, and in the east it is agriculture (rye, wheat, corn, and tobacco). In the western mountain region deposits of bauxite and bituminous coal are being mined, and in the eastern region iron, copper, tin, manganese, and antimony ores.


Gratsianskii, A. N. Priroda lugoslavii. Moscow, 1955.
Enciklopedija Jugoslavije, vol. 2. Zagreb, 1956.
Rogic, V., and S. Zuljic. Geografija Jugoslavije, 2nd ed. Zagreb, 1961.


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The best bike trails are located in the heart of the Central Dinaric Alps, not far from Sarajevo.
I was on a European cycling tour and had just spent three days and nights in the heavily wooded Dinaric Alps in what is now Croatia.
The Dinaric Alps, one of Europe s least explored mountain ranges, pass through the heart of the Western Balkans Albania, BiH, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia with the longest section in BiH.