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The Central Mountain Range (Albanian: Krahina Malore Qëndrore) is a physiogeographical region encompassing the central and eastern edge of Albania.[1] It comprises the mountainous inland extending all the way from the valley of Drin and the mountains of Sharr, Skanderbeg, Korab, and Shebenik-Jabllanicë, through the lakes of Ohrid and Prespa, until it reaches the village of Ersekë and the mountains of Pindus close to the border between the country and Greece.[2]

The central mountain range can be conventionally divided into a number of subregions. The north encompasses the mountainous districts of Mirditë and Pukë. The center is dominated by the mountains of Lurë and Korab alongside the regions of Martanesh and Çermenikë. The south includes the valley of Shkumbin as well as the mountains of Mokër and Valamara, the plain of Korçë with the upper districts of Devoll and Kolonjë.

The relief of the central mountain range is varied and supplied with high mountain passes, steep canyons and gorges, dense forests and alpine landscapes dotted with glacial lakes, which in turn provide excellent conditions for a great biodiversity. Most of the terrain was formed by ultramafic rocks, originating from the earth's mantle, which has become largely serpentinite.[3]

The protected areas of the region are home to some of the most iconic views and landscapes of the country. There are six national parks, a ramsar site, a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site located in the region.[4][5] Likely the largest protected areas, measured by area, are the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park and Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park.

Geology

Korab Mountains

Mali i Bardhë, typical karstic landscape inside the Korab mountains.

The Korab Mountains are the highest and longest mountain range within the central mountain range. The relief is varied and endowed with many glacial lakes, mountain passes, canyons, gorges and depressions. It extend some

The central mountain range can be conventionally divided into a number of subregions. The north encompasses the mountainous districts of Mirditë and Pukë. The center is dominated by the mountains of Lurë and Korab alongside the regions of Martanesh and Çermenikë. The south includes the valley of Shkumbin as well as the mountains of Mokër and Valamara, the plain of Korçë with the upper districts of Devoll and Kolonjë.

The relief of the central mountain range is varied and supplied with high mountain passes, steep canyons and gorges, dense forests and alpine landscapes dotted with glacial lakes, which in turn provide excellent conditions for a great biodiversity. Most of the terrain was formed by ultramafic rocks, originating from the earth's mantle, which has become largely serpentinite.[3]

The protected areas of the region are home to some of the most iconic views and landscapes of the country. There are six national parks, a ramsar site, a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site located in the region.[4][5] Likely the largest protected areas, measured by area, are the Korab-Koritnik Nature Park and Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park.

The Korab Mountains are the highest and longest mountain range within the central mountain range. The relief is varied and endowed with many glacial lakes, mountain passes, canyons, gorges and depressions. It extend some 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the north to the south between the lower section of the Black Drin and its tributary Radika. The mountain range are largely composed Paleozoic sedimentary rocks of dolomite, limestone, sand and conglomerates.[6][7]

The Korab massif is the fourth highest peak in the Balkans, the highest peak of Albania and North Macedonia and also one of only two summits in Europe, which are the highest point for more than one country.[8] Furthermore, Korab is the 18th most prominent mountain summit in the Europe.[9] Other peaks include Maja e Moravës 2,718 m (8,917 ft), Mali i Gramës 2,345 m (7,694 ft) Korab II 2,756 m (9,042 ft), Korab III 2,724 m (8,937 ft), Korab Gates 2,727 m (8,947 ft), Maja e Moravës 2,718 m (8,917 ft), Shulani i Radomirës 2,716 m (8,911 ft) and Small Korab 2,683 m (8,802 ft). Korab encompasses 562 square kilometres (217 sq mi), 63.5% within the Albanian territory.[10] The Albanian part of the mountain range is a protected nature park.

The Eurasian lynx[11] can be found in the central range.

Korab is renowned for its 39 glacial lakes located between 2,340 metres elevation above the Adriatic, the largest and the deepest of them being Gramë.[12] The forests are composed of diverse species of deciduous and coniferous trees and a variety of wildflowers. They are abundant in species such as beech, austrian pine, silver fir, bosnian pine, macedonian pine, and black alder. The fauna is represented of numerous species of large mammals such as brown bears, wolves, lynxes, golden eagles, goshawks, and many others.

highest peak in the Balkans, the highest peak of Albania and North Macedonia and also one of only two summits in Europe, which are the highest point for more than one country.[8] Furthermore, Korab is the 18th most prominent mountain summit in the Europe.[9] Other peaks include Maja e Moravës 2,718 m (8,917 ft), Mali i Gramës 2,345 m (7,694 ft) Korab II 2,756 m (9,042 ft), Korab III 2,724 m (8,937 ft), Korab Gates 2,727 m (8,947 ft), Maja e Moravës 2,718 m (8,917 ft), Shulani i Radomirës 2,716 m (8,911 ft) and Small Korab 2,683 m (8,802 ft). Korab encompasses 562 square kilometres (217 sq mi), 63.5% within the Albanian territory.[10] The Albanian part of the mountain range is a protected nature park.

Korab is renowned for its 39 glacial lakes located between 2,340 metres elevation above the Adriatic, the largest and the deepest of them being Gramë.[12] The forests are composed of diverse species of deciduous and coniferous trees and a variety of wildflowers. They are abundant in species such as beech, austrian pine, silver fir, bosnian pine, macedonian pine, and black alder. The fauna is represented of numerous species of large mammals such as brown bears, wolves, lynxes, golden eagles, goshawks, and many others.

Jabllanicë and Shebenik Mountains