Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians (/kɑːrˈpeɪθiənz/) are a
mountain range system forming an arc roughly 1,500 km
(932 mi) long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the
second-longest mountain range in
Europe (after the Scandinavian
Mountains, 1,700 km (1,056 mi)).
They provide the habitat for the largest European populations of brown
bears, wolves, chamois, and lynxes, with the highest concentration in
Romania, as well as over one third of all European plant
species. The Carpathians and their foothills also have many thermal
and mineral waters, with
Romania having one-third of the European
Romania is likewise home to the second-largest surface of
virgin forests in
Europe after Russia, totaling 250,000 hectares
(65%), most of them in the Carpathians, with the Southern
Carpathians constituting Europe's largest unfragmented forested
The Carpathians consist of a chain of mountain ranges that stretch in
an arc from the
Czech Republic (3%) in the northwest through Slovakia
Hungary (4%) and
Serbia (5%) and
Romania (50%) in the southeast. The highest range
within the Carpathians is the Tatras, on the border of
Poland, where the highest peaks exceed 2,600 m (8,530 ft).
The second-highest range is the
Southern Carpathians in Romania, where
the highest peaks exceed 2,500 m (8,202 ft).
The divisions of the Carpathians are usually in three major
Western Carpathians—Austria, Czech Republic, Poland,
Eastern Carpathians—southeastern Poland, eastern Slovakia, Ukraine,
Serbia and Romania
Outer Carpathians is frequently used to describe the northern
rim of the Western and Eastern Carpathians.
The most important cities in or near the Carpathians are: Bratislava
Košice in Slovakia,
Kraków in Poland, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, and
Braşov in Romania, and
Uzhhorod in Ukraine.
2.1 Cities and towns
2.2 Highest peaks
2.3 Highest peaks by country
2.4 Mountain passes
4 Divisions of the Carpathians
5 Notable people
7 See also
10 External links
Carpi (people) § Name etymology
In modern times, the range is called Karpaty in Czech, Polish, and
Slovak and Карпати (Karpaty) in Ukrainian, Carpați
[karˈpat͡sʲ] ( listen) in Romanian, Karpaten in German,
and Kárpátok in Hungarian. Although the toponym was recorded
Ptolemy in the second century CE,  the modern form of
the name is a neologism in most languages. For instance, Havasok
("Snowy Mountains") was its medieval Hungarian name; Russian
chronicles referred to it as "Hungarian Mountains".  Later
sources, such as
Dimitrie Cantemir and the Italian chronicler
Giovanandrea Gromo, referred to the range as "Transylvania's
Mountains", while the 17th-century historian Constantin Cantacuzino
translated the name of the mountains in an Italian-Romanian glossary
to "Rumanian Mountains". 
Relief map of the Carpathian Mountains
The name "Carpates" is highly associated with the old Dacian tribes
called "Carpes" or "Carpi" who lived in a large area from the east,
north-east of the
Black Sea to Transylvanian plains on the present day
Romania and Moldova. The name Carpates may ultimately be from the
Proto Indo-European root *sker-/*ker-, from which comes the Albanian
word karpë (rock), and the Slavic word skála (rock, cliff), perhaps
via a Dacian cognate[which?] which meant mountain, rock, or rugged
(cf. Germanic root *skerp-, Old Norse harfr "harrow", Gothic skarpo,
Middle Low German scharf "potsherd", and Modern High German Scherbe
"shard", Old English scearp and English sharp, Lithuanian kar~pas
"cut, hack, notch", Latvian cìrpt "to shear, clip"). The archaic
Polish word karpa meant "rugged irregularities, underwater
obstacles/rocks, rugged roots, or trunks". The more common word skarpa
means a sharp cliff or other vertical terrain. The name may instead
come from Indo-European *kwerp "to turn", akin to Old English hweorfan
"to turn, change" (English warp) and Greek καρπός karpós
"wrist", perhaps referring to the way the mountain range bends or
veers in an L-shape.
In late Roman documents, the Eastern
Carpathian Mountains were
referred to as Montes Sarmatici (meaning
Sarmatian Mountains). The
Western Carpathians were called Carpates, a name that is first
recorded in Ptolemy's
Geographia (second century AD).
In the Scandinavian Hervarar saga, which relates ancient Germanic
legends about battles between
Goths and Huns, the name Karpates
appears in the predictable Germanic form as Harvaða fjöllum (see
"Inter Alpes Huniae et Oceanum est Polonia" by Gervase of Tilbury, has
described in his Otia Imperialia ("Recreation for an Emperor") in
1211. Thirteenth- to fifteenth-century Hungarian documents named
the mountains Thorchal, Tarczal, or less frequently Montes Nivium.
Maramureș Mountains in north of Romania
Sanok in Poland
The northwestern Carpathians begin in
Slovakia and southern Poland.
They surround Transcarpathia and
Transylvania in a large semicircle,
sweeping towards the southeast, and end on the Danube near
Romania. The total length of the Carpathians is over 1,500 km
(932 mi) and the mountain chain's width varies between 12 and
500 km (7 and 311 mi). The highest altitudes of the
Carpathians occur where they are widest. The system attains its
greatest breadth in the Transylvanian plateau and in the southern
Tatra Mountains group – the highest range, in which Gerlachovský
Slovakia is the highest peak at 2,655 m (8,711 ft)
above sea level. The Carpathians cover an area of 190,000 km2
(73,359 sq mi), and after the Alps, form the next-most
extensive mountain system in Europe.
Kežmarok in Slovakia
Tatra Mountains in Zakopane, Poland
Hutsul people, living in the Carpathian mountains, circa 1872
Although commonly referred to as a mountain chain, the Carpathians do
not actually form an uninterrupted chain of mountains. Rather, they
consist of several orographically and geologically distinctive groups,
presenting as great a structural variety as the Alps. The Carpathians,
which attain an altitude over 2,500 m (8,202 ft) in only a
few places, lack the bold peaks, extensive snowfields, large glaciers,
high waterfalls, and numerous large lakes that are common in the Alps.
It was believed that no area of the Carpathian range was covered in
snow all year round and there were no glaciers, but recent research by
Polish scientists discovered one permafrost and glacial area in the
Tatra Mountains. The Carpathians at their highest altitude are
only as high as the middle region of the Alps, with which they share a
common appearance, climate, and flora. The Carpathians are separated
Alps by the Danube. The two ranges meet at only one point:
Leitha Mountains at Bratislava. The river also separates them from
Balkan Mountains at
Orşova in Romania. The valley of the March
Oder separates the Carpathians from the Silesian and Moravian
chains, which belong to the middle wing of the great Central Mountain
System of Europe. Unlike the other wings of the system, the
Carpathians, which form the watershed between the northern seas and
the Black Sea, are surrounded on all sides by plains, namely the
Pannonian plain to the southwest, the plain of the Lower Danube
(Romania) to the south, and the Galician plain to the northeast.
Cities and towns
Important cities and towns in or near the Carpathians are, in
approximate descending order of population:
Vienna Woods, Austria)
Târgu Mureș (Romania)
Baia Mare (Romania)
Râmnicu Vâlcea (Romania)
Piatra Neamț (Romania)
Nowy Sącz (Poland)
Târgu Jiu (Romania)
Drobeta-Turnu Severin (Romania)
Banská Bystrica (Slovakia)
Zlín (Czech Republic)
Alba Iulia (Romania)
Sfântu Gheorghe (Romania)
Miercurea Ciuc (Romania)
Odorheiu Secuiesc (Romania)
Nowy Targ (Poland)
Târgu Neamț (Romania)
Câmpulung Moldovenesc (Romania)
Vatra Dornei (Romania)
This is an (incomplete) list of the peaks of the Carpathians having
summits over 2,500 metres (8,200 ft), with their heights,
geologic divisions, and locations.
Malý Ľadový štít
Malý Pyšný štít
Veľká Litvorová veža
Alba, Gorj, Hunedoara
Vânătoarea lui Buteanu
Prahova, Brașov, Dâmbovița
Prahova, Brașov, Dâmbovița
Poland Voivodeship, Prešov Region
Highest peaks by country
This is a list of the highest national peaks of the Carpathians, their
heights, geologic divisions, and locations.
North Hungarian Mountains
In the Romanian part of the main chain of the Carpathians, the most
important mountain passes are (starting from the Ukrainian border):
the Prislop Pass, Rodna Pass,
Tihuța Pass (also known as Borgo Pass),
Tulgheș Pass, Bicaz Canyon, Ghimeș Pass, Uz Pass and Oituz Pass,
Predeal Pass (crossed by the railway from
Turnu Roșu Pass
Turnu Roșu Pass (1,115 ft., running through the
narrow gorge of the
Olt River and crossed by the railway from
Bucharest), Vulcan Pass, Teregova Pass and the Iron Gate (both crossed
by the railway from
Timișoara to Craiova).
Vrátna dolina, Slovakia
The area now occupied by the Carpathians was once occupied by smaller
ocean basins. The Carpathian mountains were formed during the Alpine
orogeny in the Mesozoic and
Tertiary by moving the ALCAPA, Tisza
and Dacia plates over subducting oceanic crust. The mountains take
the form of a fold and thrust belt with generally north vergence in
the western segment, northeast to east vergence in the eastern portion
and southeast vergence in the southern portion.
The external, generally northern, portion of the orogenic belt is a
Tertiary accretionary prism of a so-called
Flysch belt (the Carpathian
Flysch Belt) created by rocks scraped off the sea bottom and thrust
over the North-European plate. The Carpathian accretionary wedge is
made of several thin skinned nappes composed of Cretaceous to
Paleogene turbidites. Thrusting of the
Flysch nappes over the
Carpathian foreland caused the formation of the Carpathian foreland
basin. The boundary between the
Flysch belt and internal zones of
the orogenic belt in the western segment of the mountain range is
marked by the Pieniny Klippen Belt, a narrow complicated zone of
polyphase compressional deformation, later involved in a supposed
strike-slip zone. Internal zones in western and eastern segments
Variscan igneous massifs reworked in
Mesozoic thick and
thin-skinned nappes. During the Middle
Miocene this zone was affected
by intensive calc-alkaline arc volcanism that developed over the
subduction zone of the flysch basins. At the same time, the internal
zones of the orogenic belt were affected by large extensional
structure of the back-arc Pannonian Basin. The last volcanic
activity occurred at
Ciomadul about 30,000 years ago.
Iron, gold and silver were found in great quantities in the Western
Carpathians. After the Roman emperor Trajan's conquest of Dacia, he
brought back to Rome over 165 tons of gold and 330 tons of silver.
Divisions of the Carpathians
Main article: Divisions of the Carpathians
Map of the main divisions of the Carpathians.
1. Outer Western Carpathians
2. Inner Western Carpathians
3. Outer Eastern Carpathians
4. Inner Eastern Carpathians
5. Southern Carpathians
6. Western Romanian Carpathians
7. Transylvanian Plateau
8. Serbian Carpathians
The largest range is the Tatras in
Poland and Slovakia. A major part
of the western and northeastern
Outer Carpathians in Poland, Ukraine,
Slovakia is traditionally called the Beskids.
The geological border between the Western and
Eastern Carpathians runs
approximately along the line (south to north) between the towns of
Nowy Sącz and Tarnów. In older systems the
border runs more in the east, along the line (north to south) along
the rivers San and
Osława (Poland), the town of
Snina (Slovakia) and
river Tur'ia (Ukraine). Biologists, however, shift the border even
further to the east.
The border between the eastern and southern Carpathians is formed by
Predeal Pass, south of
Braşov and the Prahova Valley.
Ukrainians sometimes denote as "Eastern Carpathians" only the
Ukrainian Carpathians (or Wooded Carpathians), meaning the part
situated largely on their territory (i.e., to the north of the Prislop
Pass), while Romanians sometimes denote as "Eastern (Oriental)
Carpathians" only the
Romanian Carpathians part which lies on their
territory (i.e., from the Ukrainian border or from the
Prislop Pass to
the south), which they subdivide into three simplified geographical
groups (north, center, south), instead of Outer and Inner Eastern
Carpathians. These are:
Carpathians of Maramureș and Bukovina (Romanian: Carpații
Maramureșului și ai Bucovinei)
Moldavian-Transylvanian Carpathians (Romanian: Carpații
Curvature Carpathians (Romanian: Carpații Curburii, Carpații de
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March
Ludwig Greiner — an influential 19th-century lumber industry
management expert who identified Gerlachovský Peak as the highest
mountain in the Carpathians.
Hoverla, Eastern Carpathians, Ukraine
Lake Bucura, Southern Carpathians, Romania
High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia
The Sphinx in Bucegi Mountains, Romania
Nesamovyte Lake, Eastern Carpathians, Ukraine
Gąsienicowa Valley in Tatra Mountains, Poland
Spiš Castle in Slovakia, from the Branisko Pass
Synevyr, Eastern Carpathians, Ukraine
Heroes' Cross on Caraiman Peak, Romania
Morskie Oko in the High
Tatra Mountains (Poland)
Iron Gates at the Romanian-Serbian border
Mountain ranges of the Carpathians
Geology of the Carpathians
Tourism in Poland
Tourism in Serbia
Tourism in Romania
Tourism in Slovakia
Tourism in Ukraine
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Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Carpathian Mountains.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carpathian Mountains.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 — Carpathian Mountains, by Volodymyr
Carpathianconvention.org: The Framework Convention for the Protection
and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians
Orographic map highlighting Carpathian mountains
Alpinet.org: Romanian mountain guide
Carpati.org: Romanian mountain guide
Pgi.gov.pl: Oil and Gas Fields in the Carpathians
Video: Beautiful mountains Carpathians, Ukraine
Divisions, Groups, and Ranges of the Carpathian Mountains
Slovak Ore Mountains
Slovak Central Mountains
Mátra-Slanec Area and North Hungarian Mountains
Central Moravian Carpathians
Central Beskidian Piedmont
Beskids and the Ukrainian Carpathians
Făgăraș Mountains group
Parâng Mountains group
Retezat-Godeanu Mountains group
Western Romanian Carpathians
Poiana Ruscă Mountains
Transylvanian Plateau (disputed)
Outer Carpathian depressions