Dinaric Alps
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The Dinaric Alps (), also commonly Dinarides, are a
mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usu ...

mountain range
in
Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earl ...

Southern
and Southeastern Europe, separating the continental
Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkan Peninsula
from the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
. They stretch from Italy in the northwest through
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, lin ...

Slovenia
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refe ...

Serbia
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Црна Гора, Crna Gora, lit. "Black Mountain", ) is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is o ...

Montenegro
, and
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a international recognition of Kosovo, partially recognised state in Southeast Europe. It lies at the centre of the Balkans, occupying an area of , with ...

Kosovo
to
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
in the southeast. The Dinaric Alps extend for approximately along the
Western Balkan Peninsula
Western Balkan Peninsula
from the
Julian Alps The Julian Alps ( sl, Julijske Alpe, it, Alpi Giulie, , ) are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretch from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia and of the fo ...
to the northwest in Italy, downwards to the Šar Mountains, Šar and Korab (mountain), Korab massif, where their direction changes. The Accursed Mountains, is the highest section of the entire Dinaric Alps; this section stretches from
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Medite ...

Albania
to
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a international recognition of Kosovo, partially recognised state in Southeast Europe. It lies at the centre of the Balkans, occupying an area of , with ...

Kosovo
and eastern
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Црна Гора, Crna Gora, lit. "Black Mountain", ) is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is o ...

Montenegro
. Maja Jezercë is the highest peak and is located in Albania, standing at Metres above the Adriatic, above the Adriatic. The Dinaric Alps are one of the most rugged and extensive mountainous areas of Europe, alongside the Caucasus Mountains, Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathian Mountains and Scandinavian Mountains. They are formed largely of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks of Dolomite (rocks), dolomite, limestone, sandstone and conglomerates formed by seas and lakes that once covered the area. During the Alpine orogeny, Alpine earth movements that occurred 50 to 100 million years ago, immense lateral pressures folded and overthrust the rocks in a great arc around the old rigid block of the northeast. The main tectonic phase of the orogenesis in the area of the Dinaric Karst took place in Cenozoic Era (Paleogene) as a result of the Adriatic microplate (Adria) collision with Europe, and the process is still active. The Dinaric Alps were thrown up in more or less parallel ranges, stretching like necklaces from the Julian Alps as far as northern Albania and Kosovo, where the mountainous terrain subsides to make way for the waters of the Drin River and the plains of Kosovo.


Name

The Dinarides are named after Mount Dinara (1,831 m), a prominent peak in the center of the mountain range on the border with the Dalmatian part of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The chain is called ''Alpet Dinaride'' or ''Alpet Dinarike'' in Albanian language, Albanian, ''Dinaridi''/Динариди in Serbo-Croatian, ''Dinarsko gorstvo'' in Slovene language, Slovene and ''Alpi Dinariche'' in Italian.


Geology

The Dinaric Karst region is built mostly of Mesozoic Era, Mesozoic limestone and dolomite deposited on top of a huge Bahama-type carbonate platform, while a few kilometers thick carbonate successions have been deformed during the Alpine orogenesis. The main tectonic phase of the Alpine orogenesis in the Dinaric Karst region took place in Cenozoic Era (Paleogene) as a result of the Adriatic microplate (Adria) collision with Europe, and the process is still active. The Mesozoic Era, Mesozoic limestone forms a very distinctive region of the Balkans, notable for features such as the Karst Plateau, which has given its name to all such terrains of limestone eroded by groundwater. The Dinarides are known for being composed of karst – limestone rocks – as is Dinara, the mountain for which they were named. The Quaternary ice ages had relatively little direct geologic influence on the Balkans. No permanent ice caps existed, and there is little evidence of extensive glaciation. Only the highest summits of Mount Durmitor, Durmitor, Mount Orjen, Orjen and Prenj have glacial valleys and moraines as low as . However, in the Accursed Mountains, a range on the northern Albanian border that runs east to west (thus breaking the general geographic trend of the Dinaric system), there is evidence of major glaciation. One geological feature of great importance to the present-day landscape of the Dinarides must be considered in more detail: that of the limestone mountains, often with their attendant faulting. They are hard and slow to erode, and often persist as steep jagged escarpments, through which steep-sided Canyon, gorges and canyons are cleft by the rivers draining the higher slopes. The partially submerged western Dinaric Alps form the numerous islands and harbors along the Croatian coast.


Rivers in Dinaric karst

The most extensive example of limestone mountains in Europe are those of the Karst of the Dinaric Alps. Here, all the characteristic features are encountered again and again as one travels through this wild and underpopulated country. Limestone is a very porous rock, yet very hard and resistant to erosion. Water is the most important Corrosion, corrosive force, dissolving the limestone by chemical action of its natural acidity. As it percolates down through cracks in the limestone it opens up fissures and channels, often of considerable depth, so that whole systems of underground drainage develop. During subsequent millennia these work deeper, leaving in their wake enormous waterless caverns, sinkholes and grottoes and forming underground labyrinths of channels and shafts. The roofs of some of these caverns may eventually fall in, to produce great perpendicular-sided gorges, exposing the surface to the water once more. The Dinaric rivers carved many canyons characteristic for Dinaric Alps, and in particular karst. Among the largest and most well known are the Neretva, the Rakitnica, the Prača (river), the Drina, the Sutjeska (river), Sutjeska, the Vrbas River, Vrbas, the Ugar (river), Ugar, the Piva (Drina), Piva, the Tara (Drina), Tara, the Komarnica (river), Komarnica, the Morača, the Cem (river), Cem/Ciijevna, the Lim River, Lim, and the Drin (river), Drin. Only along the Dinaric gorges is communication possible across the Karst, and roads and railways tunnel through precipitous cliffs and traverse narrow ledges above roaring torrents. A number of springs and rivers rise in the Dinaric range, including Jadro Spring noted for having been the source of water for Diocletian's Palace at Split. At the same time, the purity of these rocks is such that the rivers are crystal clear, and there is little soil-making residue. Water quality testing of the Jadro River, for example, indicates the low pollutant levels present. Rock faces are often bare of vegetation and glaring white, but what little soil there is may collect in the hollows and support lush lime-tolerant vegetation, or yield narrow strips of cultivation.


Human activity

Ruins of fortresses dot the mountainous landscape, evidence of centuries of war and the refuge the Dinaric Alps have provided to various armed forces. During the Roman period, the Dinarides provided shelter to the Illyrians resisting Ancient Rome, Roman conquest of the Balkans, which began with the conquest of the eastern Adriatic Sea, Adriatic coast in the 3rd century BC. Rome conquered the whole of Illyria in 168 BC, but these mountains sheltered Illyrian resistance forces for many years until the area's complete subjugation by 14 AD. More recently, the Ottoman Empire failed to fully subjugate the mountainous areas of Montenegro#Ottoman period, Montenegro. In the 20th century, too, the mountains provided favourable terrain for guerrilla warfare, with Yugoslav Partisans organising one of the most successful Allies of World War II, Allied resistance movements of World War II. The area remains underpopulated, and forestry and mining remain the chief economic activities in the Dinaric Alps. The people of the Dinaric Alps are on record as being the tallest in the world, with an average adolescent height of . The people of
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
have the highest recorded average of any single country, with 183.9 cm average for men and 172.72 cm for women.


Mountain passes

The main mountain passes of the Dinaric Alps are:Summitpost
Dinaric Alps
Passes in the Dinaric Alps, Retrieved 19 November 2008
* Postojna Gate (''Postojnska vrata''), Slovenia (), * Vratnik pass (Croatia), Vratnik pass, Croatia () * Debelo brdo, Serbia () * Knin Gate (''Kninska vrata''), Croatia (about ) * Vaganj, Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina () * Ivan-Saddle (''Ivan-sedlo''), Bosnia-Herzegovina () * Kupres Gate (''Kupreška vrata''), Bosnia-Herzegovina () * Čemerno, Bosnia-Herzegovina () * Crkvine, Montenegro () * Čakor, Montenegro ()


Tunnels

Major tunnels transversing the Dinaric Alps include: * Tuhobić Tunnel, Croatia * Sveti Rok Tunnel, Croatia * Mala Kapela Tunnel, Croatia


Mountains and plateaus

The mountains and plateaus within the Dinarides are found in the following regions:


Albania


Bosnia and Herzegovina


Croatia


Italy


Kosovo


Montenegro


Serbia


Slovenia

}), Nanos, Slovenia, Nanos, and Hrušica (plateau), Hrušica * Javornik Hills and Snežnik * Krim Hills and Menišija * Bloke (plateau), Bloke * The Velika Mountain, Stojna and the Gotenica Mountain * The Mala Mountain, the Kočevski Rog and the Poljane Mountain * Dry Carniola and Dobrepolje (plateau), Dobrepolje * Radulja Hills ,


Notes


Explanatory notes


Citations


External links


Discover Dinarides Project

Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc Project

Via Dinarica Trail - Mega-trail across highest peaks of Dinaric Alps
{{Authority control Dinaric Alps, Mountain ranges of Albania Mountain ranges of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mountain ranges of Croatia Mountain ranges of Kosovo Mountain ranges of Serbia Mountain ranges of Slovenia Mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mountains of Montenegro Physiographic provinces