Sudetes /suːˈdiːtiːz/ are a mountain range in Central Europe.
They are also known as the Sudeten after their German name and Sudety
in Czech and Polish.
The range stretches from eastern
Germany (West Lusatian Hill Country
and Uplands) by
Tripoint to south-western
Poland and to northern Czech
Republic. The highest peak of the range is
Śnieżka) in the
Krkonoše (Polish: Karkonosze) mountains on the
Poland border, which is 1,603 metres (5,259 ft)
in elevation. The current geomorphological unit in the Czech part of
the mountain range is Krkonošsko-jesenická subprovincie
("Krkonoše-Jeseníky"). It is separated from the Carpathian Mountains
by the Moravian Gate. The highest parts of the
Sudetes are protected
by national parks; Karkonosze and Stołowe in
Poland and Krkonoše
in the Czech Republic.
Krkonoše Mountains (also called the Giant Mountains) have
experienced growing tourism for winter sports during the past ten
years. Their skiing resorts are becoming a budget alternative to the
5.2 Volcanism and thermal waters
5.3 Uplift and landforms
Sudetes and "Sudetenland"
7 Economy and tourism
7.1 Notable towns
8 Image gallery
9 See also
12 External links
Sudetes is derived from Sudeti montes, a Latinization of the
name Soudeta ore used in the Geographia by the Greco-Roman writer
Ptolemy (Book 2, Chapter 10) c. AD 150 for a range of mountains in
Germania in the general region of the modern Czech republic.
There is no consensus about which mountains he meant, and he could for
example have intended the Ore Mountains, joining the modern
their west, or even (according to Schütte) the Bohemian Forest
(although this is normally considered to be equivalent to Ptolemy's
Gabreta forest. The modern
Sudetes are probably Ptolemy's
Ptolemy wrote "Σούδητα" in Greek, which is a neuter plural.
Latin mons, however, is a masculine, hence Sudeti. The
and the modern geographical identification, is likely to be a
scholastic innovation, as it is not attested in classical Latin
literature. The meaning of the name is not known. In one hypothetical
derivation, it means Mountains of Wild Boars, relying on Indo-European
*su-, "pig". A better etymology perhaps is from
Latin sudis, plural
sudes, "spines", which can be used of spiny fish or spiny terrain.
Sudetes are usually divided into:
Eastern Sudetes (Czech: Jeseníky) in the
Czech Republic and Poland
Oderské vrchy (Nízký Jeseník)
Hrubý Jeseník (High Ash) Mountains with Mt. Praděd, 1,491 m
Central Sudetes, in the
Czech Republic and Poland
Orlické Mountains with Mt. Velká Deštná, 1,115 m
Western Sudetes, in Germany, the
Czech Republic and Poland
Krkonoše (Giant Mountains) with Mt. Sněžka, 1,603 m
Sudetes (Polish: Wysokie Sudety, Czech: Vysoké Sudety, German:
Hohe Sudeten) is together name for the Krkonoše,
Hrubý Jeseník and
Śnieżnik mountain ranges. The
Sudetes also comprise larger basins
Jelenia Góra and the
The highest mountains, those located along the Czech-Polish border
have annual precipitations around 1500 mm. The Stołowe Mountains
that reach 919 m have precipitations ranging from 750 mm at lower
locations to 920 mm in the upper parts with July being the
rainiest month. Snow cover at the
Stołowe Mountains typically last
70 to 95 days depending on altitude.
A view from Zygmuntówka refuge, Góry Sowie
Settlement, logging and clearance has left forest pockets in the
foothills with dense and continuous forest being found in the upper
parts of the mountains. Due to logging in the last centuries little
remains of the broad-leaf trees like beech, sycamore, ash and
littleleaf linden that were once common in the Sudetes. Instead Norway
spruce was planted in their place in the early 19th century, in some
places amounting to monocultures. To provide more space for spruce
plantations various peatlands were drained in the 19th and 20th
century. Some spruce plantations have suffered severe damage as the
seeds used came from lowland specimens that were not adapted to
mountain conditions. Silver fir grow naturally in the
more widespread in past times, before clearance since the Late Middle
Ages and subsequent industrial pollution reduced the stands.
The higher mountains of the
Sudetes lie above the timber line which is
made up of Norway spruce. Spruces in wind-exposed areas display
features such as flag tree disposition of branches, tilted stems and
elongated stem cross sections. Forest-free areas above the timber
line have increased historically by deforestation yet lowering of
the timber line by human activity is minimal. Areas above the
timber line appear discontinuously as "islands" in the Sudetes. At
Krkonoše the timer line lies at c. 1230 m a.s.l. while to the
southeast in the
Hrubý Jeseník mountains it lie at c. 1310 m
a.s.l. Part of the
Hrubý Jeseník mountains have been above the
timber line for no less than 5000 years.
Many arctic-alpine and alpine vascular plants have a disjunct
distribution being notably absent from the central
suitable habitats. Possibly this is the result a warm period during
Holocene (last 10,000 years) which wiped out cold-adapted vascular
plants in the medium-sized mountains of the cetral
Sudetes where there
was no higher ground that could serve as refugia.[A] Besides
altitude the distribution of some alpine plants is influenced by soil.
This is the case of
Aster alpinus that grows preferentially on
calcareous ground. Other alpine plants such as Cardamine amara,
Epilobium anagallidifolium, Luzula sudetica and Solidago virgaurea
occur beyond their altitudinal zonation in very humid areas.
Peatlands are common in the mountains occurring on high plateaus or in
valley bottoms. Fens occur at slopes.
The igneous and metamorphic rocks of the
Sudetes originated during the
Variscan orogeny and its aftermath. The
Sudetes are the
northeasternmost accessible part of Variscan orogen as in the North
European Plain the orogen is buried beneath sediments. Plate
tectonic movements during the
Variscan orogeny assembled together four
major and two to three lesser tectonostratigraphic terranes.[B]
The assemblage of the terranes ought to have involved the closure of
at least two ocean basins containing oceanic crust and marine
sediments. This is reflected in the ophiolites, MORB-basalts,
blueschists and eclogites that occur in-between terranes. Various
terranes of the
Sudetes are likely extensions of the Armorican terrane
while other terranes may be the fringes of the ancient Baltica
Once the main phase of deformation of the orogeny was over sedimentary
basins that formed in-between metamorphic rock massifs were filled by
sedimentary rock in the
Carboniferous periods. Also
during and after sedimentation large granitic plutons intruded the
crust. Viewed in a map today these plutons make up about 15% the
Sudetes. Granites are of S-type. The granites and
Izera in the west
Sudetes are disassociated from
orogeny and thought to have formed during rifting along a passive
continental margin.[C] The Karkonosze Granite, also in the west
Sudetes, have been dated to have formed c. 318 million years ago at
the beginning of the Variscan orogeny. The Karkonosze Granite is
intruded by somewhat younger lamprophyre dykes.
A NW-SE to WNW-ESE oriented strike-slip fault —the Intra-Sudetic
fault— runs through the length of the Sudetes. The Intra-Sudetic
fault is parallel with the Upper
Elbe fault and Middle Odra fault.
Volcanism and thermal waters
There are remnants of lava flows and volcanic plugs in the
Sudetes. The volcanic rocks making up these outcrops are of mafic
chemistry and include basanite and represent episodes of volcanism in
Miocene periods[D] that affected not only the
Sudetes but also parts of the Sudetic foreland being part of a SW-NE
oriented Bohemo-Silesian Belt of volcanic rocks. Mantle xenoliths
have been recovered from the lavas of a volcano at Ještěd-Kozákov
Ridge in the Czech western Sudetes. These pyroxenite xenoliths
arrived to surface from approximate depths of 35, 70 and 73 km
and indicate a complex history for the mantle beneath the Sudetes.
There are thermal springs in the
Sudetes with measured temperatures of
29 to 44 °C. Drilling has revealed the existence of waters at
87 °C at depths of 2000 m. These modern waters are believed to
be associated to the Late
Cenozoic volcanism in Central Europe.
Uplift and landforms
Escarpment at Szczeliniec Wielki, Stołowe Mountains.
Sudetes forms the NE border of the Bohemian Massif. In detail
Sudetes is made up of a series of massifs that are rectangular and
rhomboid in plan view. These mountains corresponds to horsts and
domes separated by basins, including grabens. The mountains took
their present form after the Late Mesozoic retreat of the seas from
the area which left the
Sudetes subject to denudation for at least 65
million years. This meant that during the
Late Cretaceous and
Cenozoic 8 to 4 km of rock was eroded from the top of what
is now the Sudetes. Concurrently with the
Cenozoic denudation the
climate cooled due to the northward drift of Europe. The collision
between Africa and Europe has resulted in the deformation and uplift
of the Sudetes. As such the uplift is related to the contemporary
rise of the
Alps and Carpathians.[E] Uplift was accomplished
by the creation or reactivation of numerous faults leading to a
reshaping of the relief by renewed erosion. Various "hanging
valleys" attest to this uplift.
Tor landform made up of granite in the Sudetes.
Weathering during the
Cenozoic led to the formation of an etchplain
developed in parts of Sudetes. While this etchplain has been eroded
various landforms and weathering mantles have been suggested to attest
its former existence. At present the mountain range shows a
remarkable diversity of landforms. Some of the landforms present
are escarpments, inselbergs, bornhardts, granitic domes, tors, flared
slopes and weathering pits. Various escarpments have originated
from faults and may reach hights of up to 500 m.
During the Quaternary glaciations parts of the
Sudetes remained free
from glacier ice developing permafrost soils and periglacial landforms
such as rock glaciers, nivation hollows, patterned ground,
blockfields, solifluction landforms, blockstreams, tors and
cryoplanation terraces. The occurrence or not of these periglacial
landforms depends on altitude, the steepness and direction of slopes
and the underlying rock type.
Geological research has been hampered by the multinational geography
Sudetes with and the limitation of studies to state
Vang stave church
The area around the
Sudetes had by the 12th century been relatively
densely settled with agriculture and settlements expanding further
High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages from the 13th century onward. As this trend
went on thinning of forest and deforestation had turned clearly
unsustainable by the 14th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries
agriculture had reached the inner part of
Stołowe Mountains in the
Central Sudetes. Destruction and degradation of the
peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries with demand of firewood
coming from glasshouses that operated through the area in the early
Some limited form of forest management begun in the 18th century
while in the industrial age demand for firewood was sustained by
metallurgic industries in the settlements and cities around the
mountains. In the 19th century the
Central Sudetes had an economic
boom with sandstone quarrying and a flourishing tourism industry
centered on the natural scenery. Despite of this there was at least
since the 1880s a trend of depopulation of villages and hamlets which
continued into the 20th century. Since
World War II
World War II various areas
that were cleared of forest have been re-naturalized. Industrial
activity across Europe has caused considerable damage to the forests
as acid rain and heavy metals has arrived with westerly and
southwesterly winds. Silver firs have proven particularly
vulnerable to industrial soil contamination.
Sudetes and "Sudetenland"
Project Riese, Owl Mountains
World War I
World War I the name
Sudetenland came into use to describe areas
First Czechoslovak Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic with large ethnic German
populations. In 1918 the short-lived rump state of German-Austria
proclaimed a Province of the
Sudetenland in northern
Austrian Silesia around the city of
The term was used in a wider sense when on 1 October 1933 Konrad
Henlein founded the
Sudeten German Party
Sudeten German Party and in Nazi German parlance
Sudetendeutsche (Sudeten Germans) referred to all indigenous ethnic
Germans in Czechoslovakia. They were heavily clustered in the entire
mountainous periphery of Czechoslovakia—not only in the former
Sudetenland but also along the northwestern Bohemian
borderlands with German Lower Silesia,
Saxony and Bavaria, in an area
formerly called German Bohemia. In total the German minority
population of pre-
World War II
World War II Czechoslovakia numbered around 20% of
the total national population.
Sparking a "Sudeten Crisis", Hitler got his future enemies to concede
Sudetenland with most of the
Czechoslovak border fortifications
Czechoslovak border fortifications in
the 1938 Munich Agreement, leaving the remainder of Czechoslovakia
shorn of its natural borders and buffer zone, finally occupied by
Germany in March 1939. After being annexed by Nazi Germany, much of
the region was redesignated as the Reichsgau Sudetenland.
After World War II, most of the German population within the Polish
Sudetes was forcibly expelled on the basis of the
Potsdam Agreement and the Beneš decrees. A considerable proportion of
the Czechoslovak populace thereafter strongly objected to the use of
the term Sudety. In the
Czech Republic the designation
Krkonošsko-jesenická subprovincie is used officially and in maps
etc. usually only the discrete Czech names for the individual mountain
ranges (e.g. Krkonoše) appear, as under Subdivisions above.
Economy and tourism
Winter in the Karkonosze. Polish refuge - Samotnia (1195 m a.s.l.)
Part of the economy of the
Sudetes is dedicated to tourism. Coal
mining towns like
Wałbrzych have re-oriented their economies towards
tourism since the decline of mining in the 1980s. As of 2000
scholar Krzysztof R. Mazurski judged that the Sudetes, much like the
Poland's Baltic coast and the Carpathians, were unlikely to attract
much foreign tourism.
Sandstone has been quarried in Sudetes
during the 19th and 20th centuries. Likewise volcanic rock has
also been quarried.
Sandstone labyrinths have been a notable
tourist attraction since the 19th century with considerable
investments being done in projecting trails some of which involve rock
Sudetes there are many spa towns with sanatoria. In many places
the developed tourist base - hotels, guest houses, ski infrastructure.
The nearest international airport is in
Wrocław - Copernicus Airport
Notable towns in this area include:
Jelenia Góra (Poland)
Szklarska Poręba (Poland)
Duszniki-Zdrój with Zieleniec (Poland)
Harrachov (Czech Republic)
Špindlerův Mlýn (Czech Republic)
Žacléř (Czech Republic)
Vrchlabí (Czech Republic)
"Hell" on Szczeliniec Wielki, Table Mountains
Starościńskie Skały in Rudawy Janowickie
Małe Organy Myśliborskie
Tripoint of Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland
Lower Silesian Voivodeship
Tourism in Poland
Crown of Polish Mountains
^ Not to be confused with a glacial refugium.
^ Geologist Tom McCann lists the main Variscan terranes that make up
much of the
Sudetes as the Moldanubian, Góry-Sowie-Klodzko, Teplá
Izera terrane, Brunovistulian terrane. The first
three lie in the central
Sudetes while the last two in the west and
^ Contrary to this case S-type granites are typically thought to come
into existence concurrently or slightly after orogeny.
^ Some volcanic rocks may be as young as of Early
Fission track dating yields various possibilities about the Late
Cenozoic uplift of the Sudetes. Possibly the last uplift pulse begun 7
to 5 million years ago.
^ Alfred Jahn's geomorphological studies of the Polish
Sudetes in 1953
and 1980 exemplify this.
^ a b c d e f g h i Mazurski, Krzysztof R. (1986). "The destruction of
forests in the polish
Sudetes Mountains by industrial emissions".
Forest Ecology and Management. 17: 303–315.
^ Schütte, Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe, a reconstruction of the
prototype, p. 141
^ Schütte, Ptolemy's maps of northern Europe, a reconstruction of the
prototype, p. 56
^ a b c d e Treml, Václav; Jankovská, Vlasta; Libor, Petr (2008).
Holocene dynamics of the alpine timberline in the High Sudetes".
Biologia. 63 (1): 73–80. doi:10.2478/s11756-008-0021-3.
^ a b c d e Glina, Bartłomiej; Malkiewicz, Małgorzata; Mendyk,
Łukasz; Bogacz, Adam; Woźniczka, Przemysław (2016).
"Human‐affected disturbances in vegetation cover and peatland
development in the late
Holocene recorded in shallow mountain
peatlands (Central Sudetes, SW Poland)". Boreas. 46: 294–307.
^ a b c d e Barzdajn, Wladyslaw (2004). "Rehabilitation of silver fir
Abies alba Mill) populations in the Sudetes". Report of the second
(20–22 September 2001, Valsaín, Spain) and third (17–19 October
2002, Kostrzyca, Poland) meetings (Report). pp. 45–51.
^ a b c d Křížek, M. (2007). "
Periglacial landforms above the
alpine timberline in the High Sudetes" (PDF). In Goudie, A.S.;
Kalvoda, J. Geomorphological variations. Praha: ProGrafiS Publ.
^ Wistuba, Małgorzata; Papciak, Tomasz; Malik, Ireneusz; Barnaś,
Agnieszka; Polowy, Marta; Pilorz, Wojciech (2014). "Wzrost
dekoncentryczny świerka pospolitego jako efekt oddziaływania
dominującego kierunku wiatru (przykład z Hrubégo Jeseníka, Sudety
Wschodnie)" [Eccentric growth of
Norway spruce trees as a result of
prevailing winds impact (example from Hrubý Jeseník, Eastern
Sudetes)]. Studia i Materiały CEPL w Rogowie (in Polish). 40 (3):
^ a b c d Kwiatkowski, Paweł; Krahulec, František (2016). "Disjunct
Distribution Patterns in Vascular Flora of the Sudetes". Ann. Bot.
Fennici. 53: 91–102. doi:10.5735/085.053.0217.
^ a b c d e Migoń, Piotr (1996). "Evolution of granite landscapes in
Sudetes (Central Europe): some problems of interpretation".
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 107: 25–37.
^ a b c d e Mazur, Stanisław; Alexandrowski, Paweł; Kryza, Ryszard;
Oberc-Dziedzic, Teresa (2006). "The Variscan Orogen in Poland".
Geological Quarterly. 50 (1): 89–118.
^ a b Mazur, S.; Aleksandrowski, P. (2002). "Collage tectonics in the
northeasternmost part of the Variscan Belt: the Sudetes, Bohemian
Massif". Geological Society, London,
Special Publications. 201:
^ a b c d e McCann, Tom (2008). "Sudetes". In McCann, Tom. The Geology
of Central Europe. Volume 1: Pre-Cambrian and Palaeozoic. London: The
Geological Society. p. 496. ISBN 978-1-86239-245-8.
^ a b Oberc-Dziedzic, T.; Pin, C.; Kryza, R. (2005). "Early Palaeozoic
crustal melting in an extensional setting: petrological and Sm–Nd
evidence from the
Izera granite-gneisses, Polish Sudetes".
International Journal of Earth Sciences. 94 (3): 354–368.
^ a b Awdankiewicz, Marek; Awdankiewicz, Honorata; Kryza, Ryszard;
Rodinov, Nickolay (2009). "SHRIMP zircon study of a micromonzodiorite
dyke in the Karkonosze Granite,
Sudetes (SW Poland): age constraints
for late Variscan magmatism in Central Europe". Geological Magazine.
147 (1): 77–85. doi:10.1017/S001675680999015X.
^ a b c d Birkenmajer, Krzysztof; Pécskay, Zóltan; Grabowski, Jacek;
Lorenc, Marek W.; Zagożdżon, Paweł P. (2002). "Radiometric dating
of the Tertiary volcanics in Lower Silesia, Poland. II. K-Ar and
palaeomagnetic data from Neogene basanites near Lądek Zdrój, Sudetes
Mts". Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae. 72: 119–129.
^ a b Ackerman, Lukáš; Petr, Špaček; Medaris, Jr., Gordon; Hegner,
Ernst; Svojtka, Martin; Ulrych, Jaromír (2012). "Geochemistry and
petrology of pyroxenite xenoliths from
Cenozoic alkaline basalts,
Bohemian Massif" (PDF). Journal of Geosciences. 57: 199–219.
^ Dowgiałło, Jan (2000). "The Sudetic geothermal region of
Poland–new findings and further prospects" (PDF). Proceedins of the
World Geothermal Congress. World Geothermal Congress. Kyushu–Tohoku,
Japan. pp. 1089–1094.
^ a b c d e Migoń, Piotr (2011). "Geomorphic Diversity of the Sudetes
- Effects of the structure and global change superimposed". Geographia
Polonica. 2: 93–105.
^ Migoń, Piotr (1997). "Tertiary etchsurfaces in the Sudetes
Mountains, SW Poland: a contribution to the pre-Quaternary morphology
of Central Europe". In Widdowson, M. Palaeosurfaces: Recognition,
Reconstruction and Palaeoenvironmental Interpretation. Geological
Special Publication. London: The Geological Society.
^ a b Aramowicz, Aleksander; Anczkiewicz, Aneta A.; Mazur, Stanisław
(2006). "Fission-track dating of apatite from the
Góry Sowie Massif,
Polish Sudetes, NE Bohemian Massif: implications for post-Variscan
denudation and uplift" (PDF). N. Jb. Miner. Abh. 182 (3): 221–229.
^ a b c d e Różycka, Milena; Migoń, Piotr (2017). "Tectonic
geomorphology of the
Sudetes Mountains (Central Europe) — A review
and re-apprisal". Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae. 87:
^ a b c d Migoń, Piotr; Latocha, Agnieszka (2013). "Human
interactions with the sandstone landscape of central Sudetes". Applied
Geography. 42: 206–216. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.03.015.
^ a b Mazurski, Krzysztof R. (2000). "Geographical perspectives on
Polish tourism". GeoJournal. 50 (2/3): 173–179.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sudetes.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sudetes.
Orographic map with
Sudetes highlighted (in French)
Orographic map with
Sudetes highlighted (in English)
Wars (First, Second, Third)
Treaty of Dresden
Treaty of Teschen
Book of Henryków
Battle of Legnica
Battle of Leuthen
Jelenia Góra valley
Lower Silesian Wilderness
Zielona Góra Acclivity
Slezská Harta Dam
Niederschlesischer Oberlausitzkreis / Görlitz
Lower Silesian and Opole
Bielski Okręg Przemysłowy
Katowice urban area
Legnicko-Głogowski Okręg Miedziowy
Lower Silesian Coal Basin
Upper Silesian Coal Basin
Ostrava-Karviná / Rybnik Coal Areas
Upper Silesian metropolitan area
Regional costume (Śląskie stroje ludowe)
Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia
Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland
Roman Catholic Church
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Moravian–Silesian Football League
National football team
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Coats of arms
Schlesien Unvergessene Heimat
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