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RILA (Bulgarian : Рила, pronounced ) is a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and the highest mountain range of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and the Balkans
Balkans
, with its highest peak being Musala at 2,925 m. The massif is also the sixth highest mountain in Europe
Europe
(when each mountain is represented by its highest peak only), coming after the Caucasus
Caucasus
, the Alps
Alps
, Sierra Nevada , the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
and Mount Etna
Mount Etna
, and the highest between the Alps
Alps
and the Caucasus. More than one-third of the mountain is occupied by the Rila National Park , the rest lies within the Rila Monastery Nature Park .

The mountain is believed to have been named after the river of the same name, which comes from the Old Bulgarian verb "рыти" meaning "to grub".

Rila
Rila
is abundant in glacial lakes (about 200) and hot springs in fault areas at the base of the mountain. Some of the Balkans' longest and deepest rivers originate from Rila, including Maritsa
Maritsa
, Iskar and Mesta .

Culturally, Rila
Rila
is famous for the Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery
, Bulgaria's largest and most important monastery, founded in the 10th century by Saint John of Rila
Saint John of Rila
. Alongside the cultural landmarks the mountain is also famous for the Seven Rila Lakes .

CONTENTS

* 1 Geology * 2 Borders and climate * 3 Flora and fauna * 4 List of mammals in National park Rila
Rila
* 5 Subdivision * 6 Peaks in Rila
Rila
* 7 Trivia * 8 Panoramic views * 9 References * 10 External links

GEOLOGY

Rila
Rila
is a dome-shaped horst mountain, part of the Balkans' oldest land, the Macedono-Thracian Massif . It was formed by granite and gneiss rocks and crystal schists during the Cenozoic (10,000,000 years ago). Rila's alpine relief was formed during the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
by a series of glacial periods . During the most recent, so-called Würm glaciation , 10-12,000 years ago the permanent snow line was at 2,100 m above sea level . Above this line glaciers radically changed the existing relief, carving out deep cirques , sharp pyramid-shaped peaks, rock pinnacles, various valleys, moraines and other typical glacial formations.

BORDERS AND CLIMATE

Rila
Rila
has an area of 2,400 km². The dome of the mountain rises over the surrounding mountain valleys, with the Borovets Saddle (1,305 m) connecting the main Musala Ridge with the Shipochan and Shumnatitsa ridges that connect to the Ihtiman Sredna Gora mountains through the Gate of Trajan pass. The Yundola Saddle (1,375 m) and the Avramovo Saddle (1,295 m) link Rila
Rila
with the Rhodopes to the east, while the connection with Pirin
Pirin
is the Predel Saddle (1,140 m), the one with Verila being the Klisura Saddle (1,025 m).

The climate is typically alpine , with 2,000 mm of precipitation on Musala yearly, about half of which is snow . The lowest average temperature ever measured in February on Musala is –11.6 °C and the absolute minimum is -31.2 °C. An average temperature for August is 5.4 °C, the maximum being 18.7 °C. Map of Rila
Rila
mountains in English

CLIMATE DATA FOR MUSALA PEAK

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

RECORD HIGH °C (°F) 7 (45) 3.4 (38.1) 12.1 (53.8) 13.7 (56.7) 12.6 (54.7) 16.5 (61.7) 20.0 (68) 18.7 (65.7) 17 (63) 14 (57) 9.6 (49.3) 6.8 (44.2) 18.7 (65.7)

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) −8.2 (17.2) −7.6 (18.3) −5.6 (21.9) −1.6 (29.1) 2.5 (36.5) 7.0 (44.6) 10.0 (50) 10.2 (50.4) 6.1 (43) 1.8 (35.2) −2.1 (28.2) −6.1 (21) 0.5 (32.9)

DAILY MEAN °C (°F) −10.9 (12.4) −10.8 (12.6) −9.0 (15.8) −5.2 (22.6) −1.0 (30.2) 4.3 (39.7) 6.8 (44.2) 7.1 (44.8) 2.6 (36.7) −1.0 (30.2) −4.9 (23.2) −8.6 (16.5) −2.5 (27.5)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) −13.8 (7.2) −13.6 (7.5) −11.6 (11.1) −7.8 (18) −3.4 (25.9) 1.5 (34.7) 3.6 (38.5) 4.1 (39.4) 0.2 (32.4) −3.6 (25.5) −7.3 (18.9) −11.0 (12.2) −5.2 (22.6)

RECORD LOW °C (°F) −30.6 (−23.1) −29.8 (−21.6) −26.8 (−16.2) −20.6 (−5.1) −15.6 (3.9) −12 (10) −8 (18) −9.8 (14.4) −14 (7) −17.5 (0.5) −27.4 (−17.3) −31.2 (−24.2) −31.2 (−24.2)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 126 (4.96) 110 (4.33) 130 (5.12) 128 (5.04) 119 (4.69) 105 (4.13) 80 (3.15) 56 (2.2) 47 (1.85) 72 (2.83) 88 (3.46) 115 (4.53) 1,176 (46.3)

AVERAGE RAINY DAYS 1 0 0 0 4 8 9 7 6 3 1 0 39

AVERAGE SNOWY DAYS 13 14 17 18 14 5 2 1 4 8 13 15 124

MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS 114 112 140 127 168 181 250 250 182 169 128 104 1,925

Source: Stringmeteo.com

FLORA AND FAUNA

The flora of Rila
Rila
contains three local endemics which are seen only in this mountain. These plants are Primula deorum (with the largest population), Rheum rhaponticum and Alchemilla pawlowskii . In the mountain thrives also 36 plants as Campanula lanata , Centaurea mannagettae which are endemic for the Balkans
Balkans
. Some of the plant species have survived the last glacial period by turning into relict organisms. Some of the animals, which live in Rila, are in danger as well. 24 of the species that inhabit Rila
Rila
are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are 172 types of vertebrates living in Rila and 121 of them are registered in the Bulgarian Red List of Threatened Species, 15 are recorded in the European Red List of Threatened Species, 24 are listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and 158 of 172 are included in the Bern Convention lists. Such animals are Barbus cyclolepis (which is rare because of the habitat loss and the river pollution), Triturus alpestris , Spermophilus citellus (European Ground Squirrel) and others.

LIST OF MAMMALS IN NATIONAL PARK RILA

Rila
Rila
as seen from space Malyovitsa Peak, Rila
Rila

There are 48 mammal species in National park Rila
Rila

INSECTIVORES

* Eastern European hedgehog * Shrew

BATS

* Bats

LAGOMORPHS

* European rabbit

RODENTS

* European ground squirrel * Vole
Vole
* Water vole * Wild mice

CARNIVORES

* Brown bear
Brown bear
* Eurasian badger * European otter
European otter
* European pine marten * Grey wolf * Least weasel * Marten * Red fox
Red fox
* Wild cat

EVEN-TOED UNGULATES

* Alpine ibex * Red deer
Red deer
* Roe deer * Wild boar
Wild boar
* Wild goat

SUBDIVISION

The average annual precipitation in Rila
Rila
is several times the average for Bulgaria
Bulgaria
The Seven Rila Lakes The source of the Maritsa
Maritsa
under Marishki vrah Rila
Rila
as seen from Kostenets The Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery

Rila
Rila
is subdivided into several parts depending on their geographic position.

* EAST RILA or the MUSALA RIDGE is the highest and vastest part. The highest peak, as well as 12 of the 18 peaks over 2,700 m are located there — Musala, Yastrebets, Irechek, Deno Mancho, etc. The Musala Lakes lie in this part of Rila, as well as Ledeno ezero ("Icy Lake"), the highest lake of the Balkans
Balkans
at 2,709 m. Other lakes in East Rila include the Maritsa
Maritsa
Lakes and the Ropalitsa Lakes. The renowned mountain resort of Borovets is also located in this part of the mountain. * CENTRAL RILA or the SKAKAVETS RIDGE is the smallest part (1/10 of the total area), most famous for the glacial lakes — the Fish Lakes, Dzhendem Lakes, Monastery Lakes. The largest glacial lake of the Balkans, Smradlivo ezero ("Stinky Lake") with an area of 21.2 km² is located in Central Rila, as well as the peaks Kanarata, Cherna polyana, Malak Skakavets and Golyam Skakavets, Rilets. The ridge of the Skakavtsi (the peaks of Golyam Skakavets and Malak Skakavets, Pchelina and Sveti Duh) rises isolated between the Levi and Beli Iskar rivers. Another well-known ridge in the area is the one of Marinkovitsa and Vodniya chal, extending to the forest reserve of Kobilino branishte. * NORTHWEST RILA takes up 25% of Rila's total area. The highest peak is Golyam Kupen at 2,731 m. The Seven Rila Lakes are an important landmark in this part, as well as the many remote peaks and small lakes. * SOUTHWEST RILA or the KAPATNIK RIDGE occupies 30% of Rila
Rila
and has the oldest reserve of Bulgaria. Apart from its small northern part, Southwest Rila
Rila
does not have the alpine appearance of the other parts.

PEAKS IN RILA

* Musala — 2,925 m * Malka Musala (Lower Musala) — 2,902 m * Ovcharets (Yurushki chal) — 2,768 m * Golyam Kupen — 2,731 m * Malyovitsa — 2,729 m * Popova kapa — 2,704 m * Malka Malyovitsa — 2,698 m * Lopushki vrah — 2,698 m * Lovnitsa — 2,695 m * Kanarata — 2,691 m * Orlovets — 2,685 m * Pastri slap (Aladzha slap) – 2,684 m * Zliya zab — 2,678 m * Eleni vrah — 2,654 m * Kovach (Nalbant) vrah - 2,640 m * Suha Vapa vrah - 2,638 m * Ravni vrah (Ravni chal) — 2,637 m * Belmeken — 2,627 m * Kamilata — 2,621 m * Golyam Mechi vrah — 2,618 m * Dvuglav — 2,605 m * Golyam Mramorets (Golyam Mermer) — 2,598 m * Dodov (Drushlevishki) vrah — 2,597 m * Kozi vrah — 2,587 m * Iglata — 2,575 m * Mechit — 2,568 m * Ushite — 2,560 m * Ptichi vrah (Ashiklar) — 2,536 m * Malak Mechit — 2,535 m * Yanchov vrah — 2,481 m * Malak Mechi vrah — 2,474 m * Strazhnik (Kurdzhilak) — 2,469 m * Budachki kamak — 2,447 m * Kukov vrah — 2,411 m * Tsarev vrah — 2,376 m * Ivan Vazov (Damga) — 2,342 m * Markov kamak (Gorna Kadiitsa) — 2,342 m * Malka Popova kapa — 2,180 m * Treshtenik — 2,020 m * Angelov vrah * Malak Lopushki vrah * Malak Mramorets (Malak Mermer)

TRIVIA

Rila Point on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands , Antarctica
Antarctica
is named after Rila
Rila
Mountain.

PANORAMIC VIEWS

Winter panorama of Northwestern Rila
Rila
seen from Yastrebets Panorama of the Seven Rila Lakes circus in Rila