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Stara Planina,mountains: see BalkansBalkans,
Bulg. Stara Planina , major mountain range of the Balkan Peninsula and Bulgaria, extending c.350 mi (560 km) from E Serbia through central Bulgaria to the Black Sea. It rises to 7,794 ft (2,376 m) at Botev, the highest peak.
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(Balkan Mountains), a mountain range in Bulgaria. Its western spurs jutting into Yugoslavia, the Stara Planina crosses Bulgaria from west to east. It is 555 km long and rises to 2,376 m, at Mount Botev. It is composed of schists and granites from the Paleozoic and Precambrian, as well as of Mesozoic limestones, sandstones, conglomerates, and flysch. The mountains lie in parallel ranges and have flat summits. The main passes are Petrokhanskii, Churekskii, Shipka, and Republic. The relatively gentle northern slopes merge gradually with the foothills that descend to the Lower Danubian Plain; the southern slopes are generally steep.
The Stara Planina is crossed by the valleys of the Isker River in the west and the Kamchiia in the east. Karst formations, such as the Rabish Cave, famous for its drawings, and the Sueva-Dupka and Ledenika caves, are major tourist attractions. Mineral resources include copper, lead-zinc, and iron ores, as well as bituminous and brown coal. Resorts have been established at some of the region’s mineral springs (Vurshets, Ribaritsa, Teteven).
The Stara Planina is an important climatic divide between northern and southern Bulgaria. The crest region receives 800–1,100 mm of precipitation a year and the mountains are covered with snow for several months. To elevations of 1,700–1,800 m, the wetter northern slopes are covered with forests of oak, beech, hornbeam, and conifers, whereas the southern slopes are covered with steppe-type vegetation. The summits are occupied by meadows, called poloniny. In the eastern part of the mountains are dense deciduous forests with an evergreen undergrowth and vines. The Stara Planina is divided into the Western Stara Planina, which extends predominantly in a southeasterly direction; the Central Stara Planina, the highest and most isolated part; and the low Eastern Stara Planina, which branches into several spurs. Monuments from the time of the Bulgarian national liberation movement are found at Shipka and elsewhere in the Stara Planina. The Steneto National Park is also there.
REFERENCEDinev, L., and L. Melnishki. Stara-Planina. Sofia, 1962.
I. V. KOZLOV