VIA DINARICA - Long distance trail across the Central Belt of the Dinaric Alps
After some suggestions and discussions with more SP members from the Region, I have decided to put up a new SP page dedicated to the Dinaric Alps, although one of the largest, for many of you, probably one of less known mountain systems in Europe.
To write a thorough and standing abstract on Dinaric Alps was a difficult and long-lasting job. During collection of lots of data about Dinaric Alps (and I´ve been doing that for at least last 10 years) I haven´t seen or heard of a single book that is written with intention only to present an overall picture on this wonderfull and interesting mountain chain!
Beside my main goal to introduce you with those mountains, the intention of this page, like with all other SP´s group pages, is also to help you to reach particular pages of mountain groups, subgroups, mountains and summits in the Dinaric Alps (by using Map 1 at the beginning of the page, or by help of web-links in additional texts on this page).
For members with more nerves :-) the second part of the page should be much more informative. I find it necessary to write it down, and also a challenge. Because, despite theirs vicinity to the European Alps, the mountains of Dinaric Alps (and the mountain chain as a whole) are less known among the international public, and not even described well. Because of many things that could be said about the chain as a whole, I will try periodically to build up and improve the page even further, and try to keep with all the news connected to the mountain chain.
Because of everything previously written, I warmly invite anyone who is interested into this topic to help, suggest and contribute in benefit to all of us - especially if they find some errors, false data or find some presented solutions more logical. Thanks!
Interactive Map of the Dinaric Alps
The following map is posted to guide you and help you to simply reach SP pages of different mountain groups, ranges, massifs and directly or indirectly, other pages of distinctive mountains in the Dinaric Alps.
Be aware that symbols presented on Map 1 show only existing mountain pages. Further in my text, in Overview section and the following sections I have tried to explain geomorphology of all Dinaric Alps in detail.
Map 1. Dinaric Alps interactive map (updated January 23rd 2009.): Point on symbols to see mountain names; click on them to get to relevant SummitPost pages
1. In case a group or a common page already exits on SP, there is only one symbol on Map 1 to represent the whole group and all sublinks. If you click this symbol and open the common page, the same page should lead you to other particular subgroups or mountain/summit pages.
2. All other individual mountains in the Dinaric Alps that are not already covered by any SP group or other common page are shown on the Map 1, and by clicking the symbol you can get to the particular mountain page.
Dinaric Alps Overview
"The rugged beauty"
Named after Dinara mountain in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dinaric Alps is a mountain chain that runs in many separate mountain ranges, from southern edges of the Eastern Alps, in Slovenia and Italy where the Julian Alps end, stretching further across the western side of the Balkan peninsula, NE of the Adriatic Sea and south of Sava river basin in Hungarian (Pannonian) plain, until it touches the westernmost parts of the old Rhodope mountains in central and southern Serbia, and reaches Pindus mountain chain in northern Albania and Šara mountain system near Kosovo field, on its SE end (see Map 2.).
Almost all the islands in the eastern Adriatic (as well as all the mountains rising behind well indented coasts of Croatia and Montenegro) belong to this mountain system because the western parts of the chain were partially submerged by the seawater in earlier geological history.
Dinaric Alps make a united tectonic unit with the southernmost limestone Alps (Julian Alps in Slovenia and Italy) and Šara-Pindus mountain systems (in Albania, Macedonia and Greece). In the science of geology this unit and all the ranges in it, developed during Tertiary thrusting, share the same scientific term, the Dinarides.
The area that is scientifically known as Dinarides refers to tectonic unit only, and this unit is in fact larger than the area known as Dinaric Alps. Notice that this SP page is about Dinaric Alps mountain chain (also Dinarics), and not about the Dinarides tectonic unit!
Dinaric Alps are also a part of a huge and geologically young Mediterranean mountain chain that starts with the Pyrenees, continuing with the European Alps, over the Dinaric Alps continues to the Šara-Pindus system and over the Peloponnesus, Crete, Rhodes, and Eageanean islands reaches Taurus mountain range in Asia Minor, in Turkey.
Dinaric Alps are around 650-700 km (cca 450 mi) long and between 50-200 km wide. The mountain system has a triangular (or kind of elongated trapezoid) shape because it widens as it stretches in SE direction. The chain consists of more than 200 mountains, shared among seven states: Slovenia, Italy (although no single mountain exists, but marginal edges of the system), Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania.
The predominant northwest-southeast direction (so called Dinaric direction) of mountains and mountain ranges in Dinaric Alps is one if its main characteristics. The most of them are separated by karstic valleys, fields or river flows which most of the times follow the same direction. Dinaric Alps are very diverse and abound in a variety of relief formations thanks to strong tectonic dynamism and erosive-denudation processes (destructive work of water, wind, ice), especially to the limestone.
Although they share many similar geological and other natural or social features, mountains of the Dinaric Alps are very diverse in appearance, geomorphology, climate, natural, cultural and sociological background. This diversity and ruggedness make them very attractive and visiting them could be a unique experience. Some parts of the chain are for sure some of the most rugged, remote and pristine areas in Europe, while the other parts are well connected by multi-lane highways.
The height of the majority of the mountains is between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, except the highest central core of Dinaric "triangle" where the most of the summits are between 1,900 and 2,600 meters high. But because of the other factors, even the "lower" areas of Dinaric Alps (which also includes high karstic plateaus), are mountainous in their character.
Also, despite the word "Alps" in their name, in the most areas of Dinaric Alps, do not expect to find a classical Alpine scenery like sharp mountain ridges between narrow glacial valleys, green grassy slopes and valleys, coniferous forests and picturesque villages with high gothic spires.
The most frequent geomorphological features you could experience in the Dinaric Alps are rugged mountains, composed of limestone and dolomite, high karstic mountain plateaus carved by river canyons, and mountains or summits rising from the plateaus. Furthermore you will find a mixture of mountaineous / alpine, continental and also of mediterranean climate and vegetation, as well as the same variety of cultural influences (Mediterranean, Central European, Eastern/Oriental and of course, Dinaric/Balkan). Among the mountains you will find churches, mosques and orthodox monasteries, deep dark mixed forests still inhabited with biggest carnivorous like bear, lynx, wolf or wild cat, still active shepherds´summer cottages or coastal sea-resorts and fishing villages. From summits of Dinaric Alps you can experience moon-like rocky karstic countrysides, full-green grassy or forested undulating hills and river valleys or magnificent views on azure-blue Adriatic sea and its islands where the chain hits the coast. Sometimes the contrasts are striking and after a drive through just a 500 m long tunnel you could find yourself literally in a different climate and vegetation zone.
But there is no sharp limit, because as well as you can find the elements of karstic relief in southern limestone Alps (especially the Julian Alps), so you could also find Alpine-like sharp mountain ranges, glacial lakes and other glacial features in some areas of Dinaric Alps like in Montenegro and in Bosnia&Herzegovina, and even gothic church spires in parts of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia&Herzegovina.
Thick Dinaric karst (so called holokarst) is unique, covering more than half of the area of the chain, and it is said to be the largest of a kind in the world, with around 130 karstic fields, at least 15,000 known speleological objects and many other characteristic geomorphological and speleological features. "Thanks" to intensive karst formations, also, Dinaric mountain regions are still much inaccessible and inhospitable. Despite high annual rainfall the SE parts of the Chain have few surface watercourse, because water quickly sinks underground into the crevices and cavities in the limestone. This seems to be almost baren area (so called bare karst or uncovered karst), but people, animals and plants still live and survive here, and it is interesting and amazing way of life.
Further inland off the coast and behind the rocky karstic area of uncovered karst, on high karstic plateaus or eastern faces of the mountains where the limestone gives it way to other kinds of rocks and soil, there are regions of huge expanses of forests, throughout the Dinaric Alps, from Slovenia and Croatia to Bosnia, Montenegro and parts of Serbia. This is the green or covered karst, so called because the karstic processes are taking place under the layer of humus/soil and vegetation.
Because of their dominant NW-SE direction and the lack of adequate low-laying mountain passes, the Dinaric Alps were previously (and still are today), a strong barrier to receive outside influences as well as the barrier to travel from the coast to the interior and vice-versa. The main passes that traverse Dinaric chain are: Postojna Gate (Postojnska vrata; in Notranjska region in Slovenia; 606 m), Vrata (in Gorski kotar region in Croatia; 850 m), Knin Gate (Kninska vrata; in Dalmatia region, Croatia; cca 700 m), Vaganj (Dalmatia and Bosnia regions; 1137 m), Ivan-Saddle (Ivan-sedlo; between Central Bosnia and Herzegovina regions; 967 m), Čemerno (between Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina region; 1329 m), Crkvine (1,045 m) and Čakor (both in Montenegro; 1849 m).
This inapproachability, but also the position between central parts of the Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe have influenced the peoples living in the area. During history this areas witnessed many migrations, invasions, liberation fightings, bloody wars, revolutions and rebellions. And even the division line between the Western and the Eastern Roman Empires (from 4th ct. AD) passed through these mountains, as well as the division line between Eastern and Western churches after 1054. AD disunion (The schism). And after this divisions and all other events throughout the history, the peoples here so intermingled that there are many parts of the Dinaric Alps with small dispersed enclaves of different nations, cultures and religions - the situation many compare to a leopard´s skin. Such rough and tough living conditions influenced to "development" of "special kind of people" that even the sociologist call "Dinaric race", for those people living in different parts of the Dinaric chain, share some similar characteristics (biological as well as ethnological - music, habits, folk-tradition heritage, shepherd's lifestyle etc.) - no matter from which nation they originate. The region is sparsely populated, overall, economically weak and culturally backward in most of the areas.
The mountain chain was named after Dinara mountain in Croatia and Bosnia&Herzegovina. Although it is not the highest mountain in the Dinaric Alps, Dinara massif is centrally located and one of larger elongated mountain ranges which also shares many of the main characteristics of other mountains and ranges in the Dinaric Alps, including characteristic NW-SE direction. According to many beliefs Dinara iself got its name after an ancient indo-european Illyrian tribe Dindari that lived on its eastern slopes (in Bosansko Grahovo, Glamoc and Kupres area) before and during the Roman conquest of the area.
ps. If you know the name of the Chain in your or any other language, please write me with private message!
Starting from theirs´ northwest, Dinaric Alps rise over Furlany (Friuli/Furlanija) lowlands in Italy, and the border line of the Dinarics (see Map 3) continues eastward to Slovenia, around the town of Tolmin in Soča/Isonzo river valley, further along river Idrijca and southern edges of Julian Alps and theirs´ prealpine highlands, Idrijsko hribovje (Idrija hills) and Cerkljansko hribovje (Cerkno hills) which share both Alpine and Dinaric characteristics.
The borderline of Dinaric Alps then continues over towns of Logatec and Vrhnika in Central Slovenia, cuts through Ljubljansko barje (the centrally located field where Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia lays), then follows river valleys of Temenica and Krka, through Dolenjska region in Slovenia, to meet Sava river in Krško polje (Krko field) - almost following all the way the route of Ljubljana-Zagreb highway.
After reaching Sava river in Slovenia the borderline of Dinaric Alps area follows the Sava river basin in eastern direction for more than 400 km (250 mi) through Croatia and touching the northern borders of the state of Bosnia Herzegovina. On this section almost everything south of Sava river belongs to Dinaric Alps mountain system and peri-Dinaric (also in use: peri-Pannonian, od sub-Dinaric) heights, except of some geologically older mountain structures (old Pannonic system), like Prosara and Motajica mountains in northern Bosnia as well as Cer mountain in western Serbia.
After Sava river reaches Serbia proper, the borderline turns southwards along Kolubara river, over the town of Ljig, western foothills of Rudnik mountain, along rivers Dičina and Zapadna (Western) Morava then following Ibar river canyon for a longer stretch, east of large Kopaonik mountain massif, until it reaches the field of Kosovo (Kosova, in Albanian) and Sitnica river.
Now we are in contact-area of geologically younger Dinaric Alps and older Rhodope mountain system. The borderline passes over mountains of Čičavica (Çiçavica or Bjeshkeve te Çiçavices, in Albanian), Goleš (Bjeshkeve te Goleshit, in Albanian) and Crnoljeva (Carralevë or Mali i Carralevës, in Albanian) which separate Kosovo from Metohija field (which is - unlike Kosovo field - Dinaric, settled at the foothils of Prokletije/Bjeshket e Nemuna range). Further following the borderline along Drim/Drin river through northern Albania and encircling Prokletije from SE and S we get to the city of Shkodër (Skadar, in slavic languages), close to Scutari lake (Skadarsko jezero). River Bojana/Bune that takes away the waters from Drim and the Lake into the Adriatic sea makes the southernmost limits of Dinaric mountain system.
Further back, in NW direction, the Adriatic sea borders the Dinaric Alps. All the coast and islands of eastern Adriatic belong to Dinaric system, except two tiny islands in Dalmatia (Croatia), Jabuka and Brusnik which are volcanic by origin. Another exception is western half of Istria peninsula in Croatia and Slovenia which differs in geological origin from Dinaric system.
Following the borderline of Dinaric Alps, passing through a half of Istrian peninsula we get to the important area (the explanation in other following sections) called Kras in hinterland of Trieste/Trst/Triest, and come back to Furlany plain.
The Dinaric Alps were developed during Tertiary thrusting, which was the most intense in middle Tertiary during Alpine built-up (orogenesys).
Overall, the main Alpine chains of Europe resulted from the subduction of Tethyan oceanic crust followed by a continent-continent collision between African and European lithospheric plates. The Alpine orogenesys was very complex and occurred in several phases from the middle Cretaceous to the Neogene, of which the collision between Europe and Africa was only one. Much of the earlier deformation in the Alps has been replaced by the later mountain building in the Tertiary.
So it was the same with Dinaric Alps. Later in geological history, after middle Tertiary, the Dinarics were somewhat leveled by natural forces, but in later Tertiary and at the beginning of Quartenary they were built up again to todays´ heights, and this built-up still continues.
The tectonic activity is still present in the area and earthquakes are relatively common features, especially along fault lines.
Dinaric Alps lack in ores (minerals). The exemptions are mountains in Central and Northern Bosnia and some other isolated regions, where some of the mountains are not made of limestone alone, but of other or older rocks. Little help - Geological Terms:
Tertiary, the first of two periods of the Cainozoic or Cenozoic Era. c. 66-1.6 million years ago
orogenesis, mountain building
Cretaceous, the last geological period of the Mesozoic period, c. 144-66.4 million years ago. The climate was warm and the sea-level rose; cretaceous limestone is limestone laid down during Cretaceous period.
Quaternary, the last of the geological periods, c. 1.6 million years ago to the present
Out of all natural characteristics of Dinaric Alps mountain chain, the most important and the most known is the karst (also known as Dinaric karst). Karst is a type of relief with formed hydrographic and geomorphological shapes and structures, created by water penetrating into soluble rocks as are dolomite, gypsium and especially the limestone. Karstic action is very much present in Dinaric areas that are chiefly composed of limestone. The most of the rocks in the Dinaric Mountains are late Paleozoic and Mesozoic limestones and dolomites. The rest of the Chain is characterized by clastic flysch-like sediments interbedded occasionally with limestone layers. Limestone in this area comes from the former Tethys sea (placed here 200 milion years ago) from which more vast plates arised later, including the Adriatic and Dinaric plates. Marine organism previously deposited on ocean flors, the secretions, shells or skeletons of plants and animals had already formed a layer that was now risen to heights of Dinaric Alps.
Dinaric karst area is larger than a half of the surface of all Dinarics. This area comprises the south-western half of the Chain, stretching from Italian/Slovenian border all the way to Skadar/Scutari Basin in Montenegro and Albania. The Dinaric mountain regions, already difficult to access, are even more inhospitable thanks to this intensive karstic action. This natural characteristic is one of the main reasons for depopulation of this area and its economic decay, over decades and centuries.
In spite of high rainfall averages in many karstic areas in the Dinarics, the coastal side of the chain has few surface watercourses, because the rainwater quickly sinks underground into the crevices and cavities in the limestone. The more you move inland and to higher grounds the rainfall levels are still high and that supports the forming of dense forest covers (in Notranjska area of Slovenia, Gorski kotar area of Croatia, northern parts of Western Bosnia). Still further inland the limestone areas are less frequent. Locally, there are karstic areas even in Central and SE parts of the Chain, but they give place to other less-porous rocks (schists, grey-wackes, serpentines and crystalline rocks), which hold up surface flows and huge expanses of forests and other vegetation. This kind of karst is called covered, or green karst, because karstic processes are still taking place under the surface mantle of vegetation and humus-soil.
Closer to the coast the bare karst predominates. Here the forests were felled many centuries ago to provide the large quantities of timber required by the coastal towns and villages for shipbuilding and domestic consumption. Some of the largest quantities of timber were taken to Venice, Italy for millions of wooded pylons that hold basements of buildings in this "floating" city. After this deforestation the unprotected topsoil was washed away and the bare white limestone exposed, leaving the barren but magnificent landscape of the bare karst. This areas of bare karst are clearly seen from the Space as white spaces (especially the island of Pag, Dalmatian hinterland, lower Herzegovina and Montenegrin hinterland) contrasting to other wooded areas of Dinarics.
As mentioned previously, the Karst got its name after Kras region in Slovenia and Italy (Italian Carso), a desolate stony and waterless region situated inland from Trieste. The processes of karst formation were first studied by geologists and geographers in this area and the adjective "karstic" has become a general term applied to any area where such processes have been at work (areas in Slovakia, China, USA etc.). The word is of indo-european origin (kar meaning stone). Other terminology of the karst topography, such as doline, uvala, and polje, also originated in Dinaric karst area.
Karst develops after dissolving of limestone in water, which contains carbon dioxide (CO2). This is generally a result of mildly acidic rainfall acting on soluble limestone. The rain picks up CO2 (which dissolves in the water) when passing through the atmosphere.
On the ground, the rain-water sinks into the limestone (which has more than 50 percent of kalcium carbonate - CaCO3) where it picks up more carbon dioxide and form a weak carbonic acid solution (H2O + CO2 -> H2CO3). This mildly acidic water seeps through and begins to dissolve fractures and bedding planes in limestone bedrocks (H2O + CO2 + CaCO3 -><- Ca (HCO3)2 - forming unstable kalcium hydrobicarbonate). Over time these fractures enlarge as the bedrock continues to dissolve. Openings in the rock increase in size, and an underground drainage system begins to develop, allowing more water to pass through and accelerating the formation of karst features. This whole process is called the karstification.
The process of karstification results in a topography with distinctive features and varieties, and overall the Dinaric Mountain region abounds in literally hundreds of examples of karstic landforms including sinkholes, doline(s), uvale(s), polja (fields), karst plains, dry valleys, karren (kamenice), pits, swallow holes (ponori), vertical shafts, disappearing streams, and springs. After sufficient time of water-action, complex underground drainage systems and extensive caves and cavern systems may form (the most of them with again deposited calcium carbonate in forms of stalactites and stalagmites).
The roof of such subterranean cavities may collapse, forming funnel-shaped holes in the ground; the sides of these holes are then gradually levelled down, and a soil is carried into them by the heavy rain. These are the characteristic karstic features known as dolina (doline, plural) or swallowholes - conical depressions, usually ranging in diameter between 10 and 100 ft (cca 30 to 300 ft), with their floors lying 30, 60 or even more feet below the surrounding ground level.
Smaller dolines can also be formed at the intersection of enlarged clefts. In many areas in the karstic upland region (for example on Velebit and Orjen) one doline comes up against another, with only a narrow ridge between them; and when the intervening ridges in time disappear the dolines coalesce into a larger feature known as an uvala.
Still larger depressions, surrounded on all sides by hills, are called polje (polja, plural). These very typical karstic features have usually very flat floors covered with alluvial deposits of fertile terra rossa. Polja (fields) are agriculturally important because they are basins of good soil in this otherwise barren upland region.
At the edges of many poljes, set at an angle to the floor of the depression, underground rivers emerge, they flow through the polje and disappear again into a hole at the other end. Frequently, however, these holes - ponori (ponor, sing.) are too small to cope with the mass of water when the underground rivers are swollen by heavy rain, or after snow melting; the water then accumulates in the lowest part of the polje, and if the heavy flow of water continues the whole of the polje is transformed into a periodical lake. In some fields this flooding can last for several months. They are usually dry again by the beginning of summer, but if the autumn rains come early they may again be flooded in late summer, which produces lots of problems for people farming this small (and maybe, the only) parches of arable land. The villages and hamlets in which they live avoid the floor of the polje and stay out of reach of the water on the arid slopes around its edges which are not suitable for cultivation.
The water which sinks into the ground in the karstic uplands finds its way to another polje and lower laying land or the sea through underground channels. One of the largest such system is Pivka river system in Notranjska region of Slovenia, with more such subterranean "tunnel valleys" - one of them the famous Postojna Caves (other such rivers are river Lika in Croatia, Buna in Herzegovina, Reka river in Slovenia).
After their disappearance into a ponor many rivers re-emerge again in the form of karstic springs on the coast or even under the sea (vrulja spring). Along the the eastern Adriatic coast between Rijeka and Kotor Bay (Boka kotorska) only few rivers reach the sea in deeply, steep-sided canyons (Zrmanja, Krka (Dalmatian), Cetina and Neretva rivers). A normal surface drainage system develop in the areas of less permeable clays and marls which occur here and there in the limestone region, but as soon as the rivers reach limestone territory they disappear underground like the others.
Little help - Basic Terms on Karst:
calcite, main constituent of limestone rocks
dolina, this is a local (South-Slavic) and also a scientific term for valley; also a depression in the surface of limestone formed by running water dissolving the rock carrying soluble calcium carbonate away and leaving insoluble material as a clay-like deposit. Sink-holes or swallow-holes are smaller, and polje larger similar phenomena.
karst, distinctive type of landscape developed on and within limestone. The name derives from the Karst regions
limestone, sedimentary rock, consisting mainly of mineral calcite (calcium carbonates), usually of marine organism deposited on ocean flors, the secretions, shells or skeletons of plants and animals. It makes up approximately 10 percent of the total volume of all sedimentary rocks.
limestone color, pure limestones are white or almost white. Because of impurities, such as clay, sand, organic remains, iron oxide and other materials, many limestones exhibit different colors, especially on weathered surfaces. secondary calcite, mineral calcite, deposited by supersaturated meteoric waters (groundwater that precipitates the material in caves). This produces speleothems such as stalagmites and stalactites.
polje, a local (South-Slavic) word for a field; as a scientific term also large flat-floored depressions in limestone areas.
sinkhole, fairly small hollows found in limestone areas.
travertine banded, compact variety of limestone formed along streams, particularly where there are waterfalls and around hot or cold springs. Calcium carbonate is deposited where evaporation of the water leaves a solution that is supersaturated with chemical constituents of calcite. Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine, is found near waterfalls.
marl, clay deposit, rich in calcium carbonate, often formed as glacial deposit or resulting from the weathering of impure limestones.
pothole, usually funnel-shaped vertical shafts formed in limestone. Underground they may be interconnected by, frequently water-filled passages
Sources used on Karst chapter: Encycl.opentopia, Baedeker´s ; Yugoslav Encyclopedia, 1966; Mountains of Slovenia, Cankarjeva zalozba, 1989.
The mountains of the Dinaric Alps are under influence of three basics types of climate.
The heights of the narrow coastal belt and the islands of the Adriatic are under influence of Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild rainy winters. But higher and the highest mountains in the coastal area have more complex climate. Sunny slopes of those ranges are very hot in summer. Also, warm humid air that comes from the sea, very often crashes with colder air above those mountains, so the higher areas can have a lots of snow in winter and overall, the first rows of high ranges into hinterland (Orjen, Velebit, Gorski kotar), receive a huge amount of precipitation - yearly averages (some of the highest in Europe) are between 3000-5000 mm of precipitation (Crkvice on mt. Orjen have an average of 4640 mm, the absolute maximum in Europe).
High mountains of Maritime zone and parts of the Highest Dinaric Alps are strong barrier for Mediterranean influences to penetrate further inland. On some places on the coast the influence of the Mediterranean climate is restricted to just few kms into inland, or less, because of the height of coastal mountain barrier - Velebit mountain, especially. In other areas, like river valleys (Neretva, Zeta) or lower mountain passes, warmer Mediterranean air penetrates further inland, away from the coast, and reaches the first rows of mountains in the Central Dinaric Belt. The best example is relatively warmer climate of Lower Herzegovina all the way to the city of Mostar (some 40 km away from the coast) and the warm Mediterranean and cold Mountain and Continental climates crash very often over the mountains of High Herzegovina, north of Mostar (like Prenj mt.), which is know for its unpredictable weather conditions.
The most of the Dinaric Alps area has classical mountainous or Alpine climate with large rainfalls, short and cool summers and long winters with abundant snowfalls. In winter time the cold air descends from surrounding mountains into lower laying mountain fields and valleys. Those areas have lower winter temperatures than the mountains surrounding them. In summer-time the process is reverse, the bottom parts and the slopes warm up much faster than surrounding mountains.
The lowest temperatures in the Dinarics, were measured not only on the highest mountain tops, but on some of the highlands in the area, especially those situated further away into land mass (so called mrazišta= frosty locations, like Pešter highland (Pešterska visija/visoravan, orig.), Igman plateau, Gorski kotar plateau, with record temperatures measured at -40 degrees C and lower.
Mountains on the northern edge of the Dinaric Alps and the lower laying areas of the North-Eastern chain have a mixture of mountain and continental climates (of Central-European or Balkan types), sometimes this climate is called moderate-continental and mountainous. Those areas have warm summers but also cold winters.
Divisions of the Dinaric Alps
Principles of structuring Dinaric Alps
The main idea of forming a mountain group is the fact that there are mountains that share the same or similar characteristics. The geomorphology is probably the most important factor in most of the cases, the one that obviously, or just physically, separates a cluster of mountains from another one. There are other important factors too, one of them a traditional folk's perception of a group. And there is a practical reason too, and that is a need to organize large fields of activities into smaller fragments which are then easier to work or cope with.
This is an idea that mostly worked in case of dividing the European Alps into groups and subgroups. But what to do in a case where geomorphology and relief is so complex and so different than "the classical one" found in the European Alps (where mountain groups are often separated by deep rivers, glacial valleys or by distinctive mountain passes, and folk tradition, too)?
Namely, trying to set up the structure of the Dinaric Alps, that would be based on real terrain situation and also practical enough for understanding the structure of the Dinaric Alps, I was faced with following problems:
Dinaric Alps abound in different morphological structures. Although they all make one unique chain and share other similarities, by traveling from NW to SE throughout Dinaric Alps you could witness lots of varieties among the mountains and groups.
The literature and data sources on many & many mountains in the Dinaric Alps are very scarce, and it is difficult to find them. The most of the mountains don't have a serious mountaineering/tourist guide or even anything similar.
People from one side of the mountain have different names and different group structuring, than those from the other side.
The same morphological massif was divided by historical state or national borders and through history two separated parts got different names, while no common name exists today. Most of the times no single name exist for some mountain massifs but instead of it people gave the name after the region where they are situated (f.e. high plateaus of Notranjska in SE Slovenia and Gorski kotar region in W Croatia, which are in fact one huge mountain mass).
Although, to group mountains in Dinaric Alps according to the state where they are situated, could be the easiest way to do it, in many cases political borders would limit the perception of a mountain and a group as a whole. Because of this, my intention was to try to structure the Dinaric Alps by obeying both natural and cultural tradition, trying to achieve the most logical results.
After much reconsideration and use of numerous sources, the principles to put up a structure of Dinaric Alps are following:
First step - Dinaric Alps´ division into major morphological units - usually Dinaric Alps are divided into 3 parallel belts (they are, in fact, elongated chains consisting of more mountain ranges and massifs). These are: Maritime (South-Western), Central and Norht-Eastern Belt (see Map 3.).
Second - recognition of distinctive geographical mountainous areas which consist of more mountain groups.
Next, to recognize individual morphological and tectonic mountain groups. And in the Dinaric Alps the most common formations that would make a mountain group would be one those: a large massif, a larger cluster of mountains and summits with common features or very common one, a mountain range.
Further step would be to recognize more sub-ranges and sub-groups inside individual mountain groups (enough work for group maintainers).
Some major mountains and mountain massifs are being treated as individual mountain groups (which in fact they are because of theirs´ complexity; these refers mostly to mountains like Velebit, Prenj, Durmitor).
The last stage would be naming the morphological zones, geographical regions, mountain groups and other sub-ranges and sub-groups, primarily trying to obey traditional names, where (and if) such name exist.
For easier use on SP, in case the previously mentioned principle was difficult to apply, I have named the group after dominant mountain or other logical and relevant factor.
Structuring the Dinaric Alps
ALL MOUNTAIN AREAS, GROUPS AND UNITS PRESENTED IN REGIONAL OVERVIEW AND ALL OTHER SECTIONS BELOW, ARE STRUCTURED AND DESCRIBED UPON GEO-MORPHOLOGICAL FACTORS, AND IN NO CASE DO THEY REFER TO POSSIBLE (OR IN-MAKING) SP GROUPS!
So, according to their morphology and their structure the Dinaric Alps are being divided into 3 elongated, almost parallel belts (the term zone or chain could be also used) and the next geographical regions:
I. Southwestern or Maritime Belt or Maritime Dinaric Alps is characterized by predominance of limestone (from Cretaceous period) and flysch soils (from Eocene) which mostly fills tectonic depressions.
Geographical (mountainous) regions in Southwestern Belt are:
Mountains of the Northern Adriatic
Mountains of Dalmatia
Mountains of Maritime and Central Montenegro (Deep Karst Area)
Mountains of Lower Herzegovina
Map 4. Maritime Belt of Dinaric Alps (click to enlarge)
MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN ADRIATIC
I-01 Mountains of Istria and Kras
I-02 Islands of Northern Adriatic
MOUNTAINS OF DALMATIA
I-03 Central Dalmatian Range
I-04 Dalmatian Maritime Range
I-05 Southern Dalmatian-Herzegovian range
I-06 Islands of Central and S Adriatic
MOUNTAINS OF MARITIME AND CENTRAL MONTENEGRO (DEEP KARST AREA)
I-07 Montenegrin Maritime Mountains
I-08 Garač Group
I-09 Njegoš Group
MOUNTAINS OF LOWER HERZEGOVINA
I-10 Lower Herzegovina Group
II. Central Belt or High Dinaric Alps is dominantly built of Mesozoic limestone (on surface from Creatceous, and in deep from Triassic periods) and dolomites, with basins made of lakes sediments from later Tertiary.
Geographical (mountainous) regions in Central Belt or High Dinarics are:
Mountains of High Karstic Plateaus of Slovenia and Croatia
Mountains of Lika Region in Croatia
Mountains of Western Bosnia and Dinara
Mountains of High Herzegovina
Central Bosnian/Herzegovian mountains
Površi and Brda (High Mountains and Plateaus Region in Montenegro) and Prokletije
Map 5. Central Belt or High Dinaric Alps (click to enlarge)
HIGH KARSTIC PLATEAUS OF SLOVENIA AND CROATIA
II-01 Trnovski gozd Group
II-02 Snežnik - Risnjak Group
II-03 Large Notranjska - Dolenjska plateau
II-04 Velika Kapela Group
MOUNTAINS OF LIKA REGION IN CROATIA
II-06 Mala Kapela and Central Lika Range (Mid-Range)
II-07 Lička Pljesevica massif
MOUNTAINS OF WESTERN BOSNIA AND DINARA
II-08 Dinara massif
II-09 Sator Range
II-10 Cincar Group
II-11 Klekovača Group
II-12 Raduša Group
MOUNTAINS OF HIGH HERZEGOVINA
II-13 Čvrsnica Group (Western High Herzegovina)
II-14 Prenj massif
II-15 Velež Group
II-16 Crvanj-Lebršnik Range
II-17 Vranica Group
II-18 Bjelašnica Group (Southern Sarajevo mountains)
II-19 Zelengora Group
II-20 Maglić Group
POVRŠI AND BRDA (HIGH MOUNTAINS AND PLATEAUS REGION IN MONTENEGRO) AND PROKLETIJE
II-21 Vojnik-Golija Group
II-22 Prekornica Group
II-23 Durmitor massif
II-24 Sinjajevina massif
II-25 Morača Mountains
II-26 Ljubišnja Group
II-27 Bjelasica massif
II-28 Komovi Group
II-29 Visitor Group
II-30 Kučke planine - Žijovo (Kuči Mountains)
II-31 Prokletije Range / Bjeshet e Nemuna
III. Northeastern Belt with the mountains of more complex structure. The most of them are built of paleosoic layers and different eruptive rocks. The older layers on northern edge of this zone are covered by sediments of old Pannonian sea. This is the area of nonporous layers with normal waterflows. On the northernmost part of this zone Dinaric Alps meet the Pannonian/Hungarian plain, and this is the area of low green mountains and hills build of later tertiary sediments.
Geographical (mountainous) regions in Northeastern Belt are:
Mountains of Slovenian Dolenjska Region and NW Croatia
Mountains of Central and Eastern Bosnia
Mountains of Stari Vlah and Raska
Mountains of North-Western Serbia
Other Peri-Pannonian of Pre-Dinaric Mountains
Map 6. Northeastern Belt of Dinaric Alps (click to enlarge)
MOUNTAINS OF SLOVENIAN DOLENJSKA REGION AND NW CROATIA
III-01 Kočevski rog Group
III-02 Žumberak/Gorjanci Group
MOUNTAINS OF CENTRAL AND EASTERN BOSNIA
III-03 Vlašic Group
III-04 Central Bosnian Group
III-05 Eastern Bosnian Group
III-06 Jahorina massif
MOUNTAINS OF STARI VLAH AND RAŠKA/SANDŽAK
III-07 Raška/Sandžak Mountains - Kovač Group
III-08 Raška/Sandžak Mountains - Zlatar Range
III-09 Stari Vlah Mountains
MOUNTAINS OF NORTH-WESTERN SERBIA
III-10 Podrinje-Valjevo Mountains
OTHER PERI-PANONIAN OR PRE-DINARIC MOUNTAINS
III-11 Peri-pannonian and Pre-Dinaric Mountains
Furthermore, each of mentioned geographical regions embodies more mountain groups (ranges, massifs, clusters of mountains or summits)
Even further, inside each individual mountain groups more separate sub-ranges (with mountain summits and ridges) could be recognized.
Other divisions of the Dinaric Alps
From geological viewpoint it is usually said that the Dinarics are separated into two zones: The southwestern one, known as External Dinarides of High Karst Area - in fact a thick limestone belt, which is dominated by karstic relief features and with rare surface waterflows, and the Northeastern area, so called Internal Dinarides with normal relief and rich network of surface waterflows. The line that separates two geological zones goes approximately over Gacko, town - Konjic, town - Vitorog mt. line.
Here presented in text, and tables is a description of Dinaric Alps mountain chain, also an attempt to list all the major mountains and the structure of this Chain. This modell is based upon relevant geographical literature, with links to existing SP pages and other main groups, subgroups and mountains that do not exist on SP, yet.
This modell tries to be the most logical, practical and based on real data on geomorphology and other relevant factors, scientific, natural, historical, sociological and even harmonised (as much as possible) with existing pages created by other SP members.
South-Western or Maritime Belt
The Maritime Belt of the Dinaric Alps runs in NW-SE direction between the Central Dinaric Belt (High Dinaric Alps) and the Adriatic Sea, parallel to both.
The groups and mountains of this Belt belong to four different geographical areas: Mountains of the Northern Adriatic, Mountains of Dalmatia, Mountains of Montenegrin Deep Karst (in fact Maritime and Central Montenegro) and Mountains of Lower Herzegovina - all stretching from Italy and Slovenia, through Croatia, Montenegro, Herzegovina (part of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina), until they finally reach Albania - in a small section of Rumija mountain, NW of the city of Shkoder/Skadar.
- Western Part: Debelo brdo (1,044 m) - Plišivac (1,053 m)
- Central Part: Ljubljan (1,262 m) - Vickov stup (1,325 m) - Kabal (1,339 m)
- Eastern Part: Botajna (1,196 m) - Kozik-Sveti Jure (1,319 m) - Kupinovac (1,002 m) - Lišnica (950 m)
- Hinterland (Sveti Jure) Ridge: Lipa glava (1,525 m) - Sveti Jure (1,762 m) - Veliki Troglav (1,658 m) - Runjeva glava (1,429 m) - Debeli brig (1,414 m) - Kimet (1,536 m) - Vitrenik (1,471 m) - Stegoša (1,058 m)
- Maritime Ridge: Motika (1,413 m) - Šibenik (1,457 m) - Štropac (1,457 m) - Vošac (1,422 m) - Sinjal (1,335 m) - Zavodi (1,293 m) - V. Čelišnik (1,082 m)
- Northwestern (Sveti Ilija) Ridge: Kuranik (1,550 m) - Sveti Ilija (1,640 m) - Šćirovac (1,618 m)
Mountains of Montenegrin Deep Karst Area (Maritime and Central Montenegro)
Montenegrin Maritime Range
Zubački kabao 1,894 m (Orjen mt.)
- 1st (Dobrostica) Ridge: Dobroštica (1,570 m) - Radostak (1,446 m) - Snježnica (1,110 m)
- 2nd (Main Ridge): Svitavac (1,528 m) - Štirovnik (1,650 m) - Buganja greda (1,845 m) - Orjen (1,895 m) - Crljena greda (1,479 m) - Subra (1,680 m) - and more parallel ridges: Borovik (1,778 m) - Goliševac (1,721 m) - Jarčeva kosa (1,541 m)
- 3rd Ridge (Jasterbica and Reovacka greda): Kabao (1,531 m) - Gubar (1,679 m) - Kršljev mramor (1,760 m) - Vučji zub (1,805 m) - Pazua (1,745 m)
- 4th area: Bijela gora
1st Geographical Area: Mountains of the Northern Adriatic
This Area consists of two groups: Mountains of Istria and Kras (Group I-01) and the Islands of the Northern Adriatic (Group I-02). This is typical limestone area with mountains, heights and islands´ tops stretching in NW-SE direction. Because of a submerged section of Maritime Belt in northern Dalmatia this Area is separated from other southern groups in the Maritime Dinaric Belt by the sea and lower laying land areas of Northern Dalmatia.
Group I-01. Mountains of Istria and Kras(Italy, Slovenia, Croatia)
This group consists of two distinctive parts: a karstic plateau Kras/Carso and more mountainous area situated in northern part of Istria peninsula. Although relatively small, this group is shared by even three states: Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Kras (Carso, Italian) is the northernmost part of the Maritime Dinaric Chain. It is completely karstic and predominantly plateau-like region situated among Vipava valley, Goriska hills (Goriska brda) and thd Bay of Triest, with the highest mountain Vremscica (1,025 m). To the European public and scientists Kras was the nearest region with developed karstic features, and the pioneering karst research started just here. Therefore, a scientific term for such terrain - a Karst - is a derivation from German word (Karst) for Kras/Carso.
Further to SE, in northern Istria peninsula the terrain rises up forming limestone mountain of Cicarija and reaches its highest point in Ucka mountain (1,396 m), above the Bay of Kvarner (Kvarnerski zaljev, orig.).
Group I-02. Islands of the Northern Adriatic(Croatia)
Although it consists of many islands (many of them with steep rocky shores) this group is the continuation of Mountains of Istria and Kras, and a part of Dinaric Maritime Belt that was submerged by the sea in geological history. The group is situated in northern Adriatic (Eastern Coast of the Adriatic) in the area usually called Kvarner (after the Bay of Kvarner), south of the port of Rijeka and stretches along the mainland further in SE direction until it reaches parts of Northern Dalmatia region (island of Pag, f.e.). What were previously Dinaric mountain peaks, now are many islands with summits which also attract many people to climb them, especially because of spectacular views from them and a year-round climbing season.
2nd Geographical Area: Mountains of Dalmatia
Still Following main Dinaric geological, tectonic and orographical (morphological) direction, after forming the islands of the Northern Adriatic, the Maritime Belt continues in northern Dalmatia (a region in Croatia), again as a part of the mainland but at a lower altitude, without higher mountains. This area, east of the town of Zadar is called Ravni kotari (Flat counties, transl.).
Further to SE, still in Dalmatia, more mountain groups rise, some of them forming distinctive mountain ranges. The northernmost of these ranges, shared both by Dalmatia in Croatia and the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is long Dinara massif which is in fact a part of High Dinaric Alps (Central Belt) and it is not considered as a part of the Maritime Belt. The other mountain ranges in Dalmatia are: Central Dalmatian Range (Group I-03), Dalmatian Maritime Range (Group I-04), Southern Dalmatian-Herzegovian Range (Group I-05) and the Islands of Central and Southern Adriatic (Group I-06).
Group I-03. Central Dalmatian Range(Croatia)
This range has central position in Dalmatia, between the coastal mountains and Dinara massif in High Dinaric Alps, mostly situated inside a trapezoid made of towns and cites of Split, Sibenik, Knin and Sinj. Actually this area is called Dalmatinska zagora (Dalmatian Hinterland). This is area with more solitaire mountains which run in classical NWSE direction.
Group I-04. Dalmatian Maritime Range(Croatia)
This group consists of a huge and elongated Coastal range and another, the lower one in the north-western hinterland, north of Vrgorac town. The coastal range runs along the Dalmatian coast from Krka river estuary to Neretva river delta. It reaches its highest point in the mountain of Biokovo (1,762 m). Both sides of this range are steep, especially the maritime one, which makes a huge wall above the coastal sea-resorts. Hinterland range (Vrgorac group) is a sub-range, a part of Maritime Belt that stretches further into hinterland in direction of Western and Central Herzegovina in more limestone ridges and mountains (so called hum type of the mountains).
Group I-05. Islands of the Central and Southern Adriatic(Croatia)
The mountain group consists of more islands´ heights and the summits of elongated Peljesac peninsula, which all stretch in the same direction and together follow a westward turn (so called Hvar direction) a drift from the classical NW-SE Dinaric direction. Like the Islands of the Northern Adriatic these summits are also former mountain ranges of Dinaric Alps system that were submerged by the sea.
Group I-06. Southern Dalmatian-Herzegovian Range(Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This is a SE continuation of Dalmatian maritime (and its hinterland) ranges, still a part of Dalmatian tectonic plate and also the first in a ranges of mountains that stretch further into Eastern Lower Herzegovina. This coastal range stretches from delta of Neretva river on its NW, to the tectonic fault that separates the group on its SE side, from the neighboring Orjen massif massif in Montenegrin maritime Range. Along its NE edge lays long karstic field Popovo polje in Eastern Herzegovina, while on the other side the SW slopes of the range drop steep into the Adriatic sea, in the area known as Dubrovnik Riviera.
Although the most of this group is situated outside of what is contemporary Dalmatia proper, and although this range could also have been named f.e. Neretva-Dubrovnik Group, I have decided to name the group as a Southern Dalmatian one, because of morphological, tectonic and also historical factors which connects Dalmatia, Herzegovina and this Dubrovnik-Neretva area.
3rd Geographical Area: Mountains of Montenegrin deep Karst area (Maritime and Central Montenegro)
This is a well distinctive morphological area, a high limestone-dolomite karstic plateau at average height of 800 m, situated among Montenegrin coastline, Bojana/Bune river, Scutari/Skadarsko lake, Zeta river valley, Niksic field (Niksicko polje), Duga gorge (and tectonic depression, too) and Gacko-Bileca-Trebinje road in Eastern Herzegovina. Inside this Area, rising from the same high karstic plateau, sometimes called Old Montenegro (Stara Crna Gora) three mountain groups could be recognized: Montenegrin Maritime Range (Group I-07), Garac Group (Group I-08) and Vojnik group (I-09). Whole area is deeply influenced by carstic processes, waterless, difficult to walk over, difficult to live in.
Group I-07. Montenegrin Maritime Range(Montenegro, very small parts of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia)
This is a mountain chain that consists of more coastal mountains and summits as well as a Orjen massif, most of them rising from the high karstic plateau of Old Montenegro in the hinterland and falling very steeply into the Adriatic sea on the opposite side. The summit of Orjen mountain (1,849 m) is the highest one in whole Maritime Belt. Because of theirs height and closeness to the Adriatic sea this mountain range has one of the largest European precipitation averages.
Group I-08. Garac Group(Montenegro)
It is a trapezoid-shape karstic plateau from which more smaller mountain sub-ranges rise, the highest of them being Garac mt. at 1,436 m. While mountains of the Montenegrin Coastal Range rise from the western edge of this plateau, its NE side falls deeply into Zeta river valley in Central Montenegro. To the south the area is bordered by Scutari lake (Skadarsko jezero) and to the north, the approximate line that separates it from Njegos Group is Niksic-Trebinje road.
Group I-09. Njegos Group(Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This triangular shaped region is the continuation of the same karstic plateau of Old Montenegro (the same one where Garac group stands) from which more mountain sub-ranges rise and stretch in NW-SE direction following Gacko-Duga gorge-Niksic fault (depression). These area is generally called Oputne Rudine.
4th Geographical Area: Lower Herzegovina
Group I-10(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Actually, the division of mountains in this area could have been to Lower Eastern and Lower Western Herzegovina groups (depends whether they are on western or eastern sides of Neretva river). But since Lower Western Herzegovina does not have high mountains - at least not enough distinctive to shape an important separate mountain group, I shall treat those two areas as a one group, unless someone else convince me with arguments to do it differently. In Lower Eastern Herzegovina area 2 parallel sub-ranges stretch, with highest mountains situated between towns of Stolac and Trebinje. These are Bjelasnica (Popovo polje) Range, situated between north of the right bank of Trebisnjica river and south of Stolac - Ljubinje - Ljubomir basin line and Sitnica Range situated between Stolac - Ljubinje - Ljubomir basin and and Dabar field (Dabarsko polje) - Fatnica - Bileca lines.
Maritime Belt - Panoramic view of Boka kotorska bay from Lovcen mountain
Central Belt or High Dinaric Alps
The highest mountains of the Dinaric Alps are situated in the Central Belt also called High Dinaric Alps. This Belt is direct continuation of Slovenian Julian Alps. Starting with the area of High karstic plateaus in Slovenia and Croatia (parts of regions of Primorska, Notranjska and Dolenjska in Slovenia and Gorski kotar in Croatia), it continues through Croatia´s Lika region. As we move along the Central Belt in SE direction, the height of the mountains rises continuously. East of Una river, in Bosnia and Herzegovina there are three mountainous areas: Mountains of Western Bosnia and Dinara massif, High Herzegovina and high mountains of Central Bosnian-Herzegovian Area. East of Piva river a Montenegrin area called Brda (Mountains) begins, finishing with the highest summits in the Dinaric Alps, situated in mighty Prokletije range.
TABLE 2. Mountains of Central Belt in Dinaric Alps
Risnjak group: Risnjak (1,528 m) - Drgomalj (1,154 m) - Skradski vrh (1,043 m)
Rijeka hinterland area
Snježnik range: Jelenc (1,442 m) - Planina (1,426 m) - Guslica (1,490 m) - Snježnik, (1,505 m)
Obruc range: Trstenik (1,240 m) - Stulac (1,212 m) - Obruc (1,376 m) - Fratar (1,353 m) - Sleme (1,271 m) - Grles (1,325 m) - Gornik (1,322 m) - Crni vrh (1,335 m) - Klek (1,210 m) - Kuk (1,087 m) - Bela Pesa (921 m) - Jasenovica (1,338 m)
Litoral range: Kamenjak (837 m) - Tuhobic (1,109 m) - Medvidak (1,027 m) - Kobiljak (1,119 m) - Zagradski vrh (1,187 m) - Sitovnik (1,082 m) - Rujnik (1,044 m)
Velika Kapela Group
Kula 1,534 m (Bjelolasica)
Western Kapela Range
Burni Bitoraj (1,385 m) - Visevica (1,428 m) - Veliki Smolnik (1,279 m) - Ricicko bilo (1,286 m) - Kolovratske stijene (1,091 m) - Alino bilo (1,120 m)
Velika Cvrsnica: Western Ridge (Cvrsnica-Plocno (2,228) - Draga kosa (2,217 m) - Jelenak (1,806 m)) - Eastern Ridge (Ploca (Pesti brdo) (2,030 m) - Gavranic (1,965 m))
Vilinac Ridge: Veliki Vilinac (2,116 m), Mali Vilinac (1,985 m)
Muharnica: Northern part (Strop (1,528 m) - Raulja (1,648 m) - Malo Sljeme and Ostra glavica (1,807)) - High Muharnica plateau (Muharnica pk. (1,977 m) - Veliko Sljeme (1,931 m) - Orlov kuk (1,777 m) - SE part (Drinjaca (2,045 m)
Plasa: Ostrovaca (1,865 m)
Vran planina / Vran mt. (Veliki Vran (2,074 m) - Bijela glavica (1,998 m) - Mali Vran (2,017 m) - Vrana (1,961 m) - Veliki Divić (1,843 m) - Sčikovo (1,909 m) - Veliki Vis (2,017 m))
Čabulja (Western Part: Tmorac (1,606 m) - Sastavci (1,615 m) - Krujina Navala (1,619 m) - Ošljar (1,682 m); Eastern Part: Velika Vlahinja (1,780 m) - Medvjed (1,679 m) - Mala Vlahinja (1,623 m))
Stuoc (2,104 m) - Pasina gomila (2,196 m) - Gologlav (2,196 m) - Crvena greda (2,164 m) - Vedrica (2,037 m) - Suva rtina (2,284 m) - Velika rotulja (2,092 m) - Sjekira (2,283 m) - Supljika (2,310 m) - Previja (2,256 m)
Western Section: Bobotov vrh (1,774 m) - Vagan (1,776 m) - Tresteno brdo (1,771 m) - Milogora (1,815 m) - Planinica (Pivska) (2,051 m) - Precanska strana (2,005 m) - Raklje (2,159 m) - Krecmani (2,056 m)
Radohines/Radochines Group: Maja ë Radohinës / Maja Radohines / Radochines (2,570 m) - Maja Vinsens (2,517 m) - Maja Harapit / Maja e Harapit / Maje e Arapit / Xarapit (2,217 m) - Maj´i Pejes (2,218 m) - Maja Stogut (2,264 m) - Maja Vuklit / Vukolit (2,231 m) - Maja Shtegut (2,190 or 2,081 m) - Maja Shagores (Zagores) - Maja e Bridashës (2,129 m) - Maja e Reshkulit (2,498 m) - Maja i Makillaqit (2,193 m) - Maja Kuci (2,438 m) - Maja e Livadit (2,496 m) - Maja e Fat (2,543 m) - Malji i Zurzit (1,913 m)
Malli i Hekurave Group (Malji i Hekurave)/Zabores e Krasnices (Majet e Zabores, Zhabores e Krasniçes, Shahoret e Krasniçes, Šahoret e Krasnićes, Žabores Krasnićes): Maja Grykat e Hapëta/Maja Gruk e Hapt/Maja Gruike Hapt (2,625 m) - Maja e Hekurave (2,560 m) - Maja e Boshit (2,416 m) - Maja Pecmares (2,230 m) - Maja e Cet Harushes (2,424 m) - Maja e Malgashit (2,149 m) - Maja e Zhabores (2,220 m) - Maja Brijaset / Brijac (Maja e Lugu Plisit) (2,567 m) - Maja e Paces (2,561 m) - Maja e Ismet Bruca (2,525 m)
Karanfili-Brada group: Vezirova brada (1,781 m) - Maja e Podgojs / Podgoja (2,029 m) - Karanfili (Sjeverni vrh - North Peak / Balin vrh / Maja Bals 2,460 m - Veliki vrh / Kremeni vrh / Maja Gurt e Ziarmit 2,490 m - Juzni vrh - South Peak / Zlovrh / Teki vrh / Los vrh / Maja Keq 2,441 m) - Maja Hekurit / Gvozdeni Vrh / Gvozdena stijena (2,000 m)- Karanfil Ljuljaševića (2,290 m) - Forca/Maja Fortit (2,340 m) - Ocnjak (2,185 m) - Maja Koprishtit (Presto) (2,554 m)
Rrabës Group: Maja e Rrabës (2,223 m) - Maja Cardakut / Cardaku - Maja i Biges e Gimajt (2,232 m) - Maja e Mardomit (2,180 m) - Maja e Koropit (1,943 m) - Maja e Sit (1,932 m) - Maja e Madhe (2,011 m) - Maja e Elbunit (2,231 m) - Maja e Kurillës (1,848 m) - Mal i Bishkazit (1,870 m) - Kunore e Lohës (2,011 m)
Ershellit Group: Maja e Ershellit (2,066 m)
Kakinjes Group: Maje e Kakinjes (2,359 m)
Shklezen Group: Maja e Shkelzeni / Maja Skeljzen / Skilzen (2,407 m)
Bogićevica/Bogiçevica Group: Marijaš (Bogdaš) (2,533 m) - Maja Rops (2,502 m) - Krš Bogićevica (2,347 m; Veliki Rid and Mali Rid) - Pasji vrh (2,405 m) - Maja e Male (2,372 m) - Maja e Spalit (2,203 m) - Tromedja (2,366 m) - Velika Kleka (2,268 m) - Maja e Vogell (2,284 m) - Maja Bogiçaj (2,404 m) - Maja e ram orucit (2,358 m) - Maja e bari (2,425 m) - Ujkov krš (2,269 m)
Maja Horolac (2,199 m) - Maja Kershi Kocaj (2,399 m) - Maja e Zez (2,400 m)
Bjeshkët e Lumbardhit/Ljumbardske planine/Mali i Lumbardhit group: Guri i Kuq/Žuti kamen (2,522 m) - Liqinati/Ničinat/Majet e Nexhinatit/Malje Nedžinat/Maja e Lecenakit/Maja Liqenit (2,341 m)
Group: Koprivnik/Maja e Kopranikut(2,460 m) - Streočka planina / Bjeshket e Strellcit (2,377 m)
Djeravica / Geravica Group: Djeravica / Geravica Bytycit (2,656 m) - Gerovica Junikut / Bjeshkët e Nemune te Junikut / Junička planina (2,296 m
The summit of Maja Jezerce (Maja e Jezercës / Maja Jesëres),
at 8838 ft / 2694 m, the highest summit of the Prokletije mountain range and all of the Dinaric Alps
Central Belt - Description
1st Geographical Area: High karstic plateaus of Slovenia and Croatia
NW part of Central Dinaric Belt is characterized by high karstic plateau-like mountains as well as large karstic plateaus from which mountains ranges and summits rise. The groups in this area are determined by three major faults stretching in NW-SE direction. These are Western Fault:city of Rijeka - Reka river valley - Pivka river valley - Unec river - town of Vrhnika; Central fault: river Kupa source area - Cabranka river - Loska valley - Cerknisko lake, and Eastern Fault: Kocevje basin - Ribnica basin - Turjak - city of Ljubljana. West of the Western Fault is Trnovski gozd Group (Group II-01). Between Western and Central Fault is Sneznik-Risnjak Group (Group II-03), and between Central and Eastern Fault is Large Notranjska-Dolenjska Plateau (Group II-03). East of the Eastern fault are lower Dinaric areas that gradually switch to Pannonian plains. High karstic plateau continues further to the southeast of Sneznik-Risnjak group, and this is Velika kapela Group (Group II-04), with more sub-ranges rising from the plateau. All this area is characterized by continuous and very large natural forests, lots of karstic features (especially sinking creeks) and is under-populated. Two of the most convenient (where Dinarics are the narrowest) and low laying mountain passes in Dinaric Alps are in this area and they are Postojna pass (Postojnska vrata/Postojna gate, known as the Gate of the Peoples, so named according to historical presence and contemporary influences of Romanic, Slavic and German peoples in the area) and Vrata pass (in Gorski kotar, region in Croatia, on Zagreb-Rijeka corridor).
Jasenačko polje (Jasenak field) with Bjelolasica mt. in the background
Group II-01. Trnovski gozd Group(Slovenia)
This group of high karstic plateaus is bordered with Soca/Isonzo river, Kras plateau, Vipava valley and rivers of Vipava, Pivka and Idrijca. Northern sides of this group mingle with pre-Alpine heights such is Idrijsko hribovje, that shares both Alpine and Dinaric characteristics. The height of the most of the area is between 900 and 1,400 m. Although the top of those highlands does not have a spectacular summits, the whole area has mountainous character and when looking from distance they really appear as mountains with steep slopes but with flat highest areas. The area is fully karstic, covered with thick woods, waterless in summer and almost no populated.
Group II-02. Large Notranjska-Dolenjska plateau(Slovenia)
This is a highland area, stretching in NW-SE direction, with mountains of middle height, covered with woods in higher and large pastures, fields and meadows in lower areas. Inside the Group there are three clusters of mountains: Krimsko hribovje (Krim hills) just south of Slovenian capital Ljubljana, which reaches the height of 1,107 m in Krim mt.; then the heights around Bloke plateau with Slivnica mt (1,114 m), and finally elongated mountain sub-ranges in Kočevsko-ribniško area where are the highest mountains in the Group, like Goteniški Snežnik (1,289).
Group II-03. Sneznik-Risnjak Group(Slovenia, Croatia)
This mountain group and a huge mountain mass, is actually a high Karstic plateau with summits or mountain ranges rising from it, situated between Western and Central fault-lines and Postojna pass (in NW) and Vrata pass (in SE). The group spreads into three geographical regions: Notranjska region in Slovenia (previously this part of the plateau was called Pivka mountain, from where Sneznik massif 1,796 m and smaller Javorniki range rise), northern part of Gorski kotar region in Croatia (with Risnjak sub-group), and Rijeka (city and port) hinterland - rising above the area also called Croatian littoral or Kvarner (with three sub-ranges: Obruc, Snijeznik and elongated Littoral sub-range). The highest parts of these mountains have mountainous climate and abound in woods, they are hardly passable, sparsely populated and despite lots of precipitation (up to 4,000 mm, annually) lacking surface water in higher grounds. Only southern and southwestern slopes on the edge of the group are under sub-Mediterranean climate influences.
Group II-04. Velika Kapela Group(Croatia)
This mountain massif covers the southern half of Croatia´s Gorski kotar region and part of the group is also a transitional zone to Lika region, and Velebit massif, on its SE edges. It is in Kapela that Central Dinaric Belt separates in two: western part with Velebit Massif and Eastern part with Velika Kapela, Mala Kapela and Licka Pljesevica mountains. Roughly, Velika Kapela is situated south of Zagreb-Rijeka corridor and north of Josipdol-Brinje-Vratnik pass-Senj corridor. Inside Velika Kapela more mountain sub-ranges stretch in NW-SE direction, separated by karstic fields, valleys and depressions, and the highest of them is the Main Kapela range, with Bjelolasica mountain (1,534 m), the highest summit of Gorski kotar region. Other mountain ranges in Kapela include Western Kapela Range, Mid-Kapela Range, and Eastern Kapela Range. Almost all the area is covered with thich woods, and only some low laying fields, valleys and some mountain tops are treeless. The whole area is very rarely populated, and waterless despite high amounts of precipitation.
2nd Geographical Area: Mountains of Lika Region in Croatia
Lika is karstic highland region with vast fields, bordered with sharp and elongated mountain ranges of Velebit (Group II-05), Licka Pljesevica (Group II-07) and Kapela.
After passing Velika Kapela group, the Central Belt of the Dinaric Alps splits into two ranges, the western one with huge Velebit mountain (massif, 1757 m alt.), with 145 km of length the longest and largest mountain (massif) in the Dinaric Alps system. Eastern part of the Chain begins with some sub-ranges of Velika Kapela (velika=large), continuing into Mala Kapela (mala=small) range (Group II-06) and further to Licka Pljesevica. Situated between those two ranges is large Lika basin, which consists of more karstic fields (like Lika, Krbava and Gacko fields) and with Central Lika Range (Group II-06) stretching centrally in the Region.
Major mountain areas of Lika region:
Velebit, Lika Mid-Range and Lička Plješevica - from Velebit
Group II-05. Velebit(Croatia)
Velebit is the longest single mountain in the Dinarics, stretching 145 km from Vratnik pass (above the town of Senj) to upper Zrmanja river in the SE, and between large Lika basin (actually highlands) and the Adriatic Sea. Despite the fact that Velebit is traditionally called a mountain or a massif, it a complex structure consisting of more different parts, groups and subgroups with different characteristics. For the best reference on the mountain see the excellent Velebit page on SP.
Group II-06. Mala Kapela and Central Lika Range (Croatia)
This group is made of two main mountain ranges; Mala Kapela and Central Lika Range (Licko sredogorje). Mala Kapela range is a continuation of more sub-ranges in Velika Kapela. Mala Kapela begins on Kapela pass (888 m alt., on Karlovac-Senj road) and stretches in NW-SE direction, until it meets Licka Pljesevica in Plitvice lakes area on its SE end. Mala Kapela Range makes northern natural border of Lika highland Region in Croatia. Mala Kapela is lower but more elongated than Velika Kapela. Mala Kapela Range abounds in woods. Central Lika Range, situated in central part of Lika region, between Lika (Licko polje) and Krbava (Krbavsko polje) karstic fields, is a group of irregularily scattered summits and isolated mountain masses of middle height which follow the main direction - from Mala Kapela at NW, to the slopes of South-eastern Velebit near the town of Gracac, at range´s SE end.
Group II-07. Licka Pljesevica Massif(Croatia, small part in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
In the area of Plitvice lakes, where Mala Kapela range comes to its easternmost parts, a massif of Licka Pljesevica begins. The mountain with the same name Licka Pljesevica (which is made of more summits and ridges, like its highest Ozeblin at 1.649 m), stretches for the first 40 km SE of Plitvice lakes. But since more mountains and heights still continues in a row, south of Ozeblin and further to SE to the canyon of upper Zrmanja river, all those mountains are considered Pljesevica in a wider sense, in this way they altogether make 100 km long Licka Pljesevica massif. Licka Pljesevica massif encloses Lika basin from the East with all of its length. Northern parts of the massif are covered with woods, while central and southern parts also have vast open areas with grassy meadows and pastures.
3rd Geographical Area: Mountains of Western Bosnia and Dinara
West of highland Lika region in Croatia and across the Una river, a vast still high area of mountain masses and karstic fields (called locally Bila and polja, extends further in SE direction. The mountains are grouped in more long ranges stretching in NW-SE direction and between them more karstic fields (some of the largest in Dinarics) lay at average alt. of 700-900 m (Livanjsko, Duvanjsko, Grahovsko fields) and Kupres field (Kupresko polje) the highest of them, at 1100 m. The area (mostly mountainous) is situated east of mid- and upper Una river flow, south of Sana river, upper Vrbas and Rama river, and west of mid-Neretva river flow. Southeastern parts of this area descend more or less gradually into Lower Western Herzegovina, or they fall steeply over Dinara massif into Dalmatia region in Croatia. The dominant mountain range in the area stretch over Osjecenica - Klekovaca - Vitorog - Cincar mountains, diagonally, slightly curved to the south. Because of its length it has been divided into two parts, partially different in character, grouped around two "pole-mountains" - Klekovaca Group (Group II-11) and Cincar group (Group II-10). SW of the main range is another smaller range named after Sator mountain (Group II-09), and more to SW on Croatian and Bosnian-Herzegovian border, one of the most known groups in Dinarics that of Dinara massif (Group II-08). NE of the main range in Western Bosnia there is somewhat lower line of summits and mountains, following all the way mid- and upper Vrbas river valley rising above the river´s left side, and named after the highest Radusa mountain (Group II-12). The area is sparsely populated, much isolated and, except Dinara and parts of Ljubusa, Cincar, Tusnica and Jelovaca mountains all other mountains in this area are very rich with woods (covered karst).
Group II-08. Dinara Massif(Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Dinara massif is slightly less than 100 km elongated mountain range, situated on the border between Croatian Dalmatia region and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and consisting out of four main groups/mountains: Ilica (1654 m), Dinara (1830 m), Troglav (1913 m) and Kamesnica (1855 m). The group is bordered by Grahovo field (Grahovsko polje) on NE, Livno field (Livanjsko polje) on NE and E, river Cetina valley (Peruca and Sinj fields / Perucko and Sinjsko polje) from south and Krcic and Butisnica rivers from SW and W. Although the highest in the massif is Troglav mountain, the most famous is Dinara mountain sub-group with Dinara (Sinjal) summit, the highest (1,839 m) peak in Croatia. The central and SE parts of Dinara Group (Kamesnica, Troglav and Bat) are mostly rocky, grassy with vast former pastures, while more woods can be found mostly on Ilica and Dinara mountains. Coastal influences reach SW (Dalmatian) slopes of Dinara, while NE parts are already parts of High Dinarics area with mountainous climate.
Group II-09. Sator Range(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This range is situated between Dinara massif and Klekovaca-Cincar range (the main range in Western Bosnia) and above Livno (Livanjsko) and Grahovo (Grahovsko polje) from west and SW, as well as Drvar (Drvarsko) and Glamoc (Glamocko polje) fields from, north and NE. The range begins east upper Una river canyon with Vucjak and Bobara mountains, and continues over Jadovnik, Sator and Staretina mountains to finish with Velika (Large) Golija mountain on its SW end. Golija is naturally connected to Cincar mountain over Koricina pass (1,113 m).
Group II-10. Cincar Group (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This mountain area is just SE part of the main Klekovaca-Cincar range in Western Bosnia. Cincar (2,006 m) is the name of the highest mountain in Western Bosnia, and surrounding mountain area encompasses the mountains of the main range in Western Bosnia SE of Mliniste mountain pass (1,273 m) and North of Busko lake (Busko blato or Busko jezero located south of the town of Livno, situated between Dalmatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina regions). Along the edges of this Group run high karstic fields as are: on west Glamoc field (Glamocko polje), on SE Kupres field (Kupresko polje) on east Duvno field (Duvanjsko polje), already a transitional area to Herzegovina region, as well as Dugo polje (between Vran-planina and Cvrsnica mountains), and to the north of Cincar Group is Janj highland area. Between Mliniste pass and Cincar mountains there are still more vast mixed wooded areas. But, the more the mountains of the Group stretch to the south, the less wooded they are, and from Cincar southwards they descend in steps to Lower Herzegovina and Dalmatia. Especially the heights south and around Cincar mountain abound in grassy pastures or bare rocky terrain, which is the biggest physical difference to richly wooded Klekovaca group (in NW part of the main range in Western Bosnia).
Group II-11. Klekovača Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Situated east of Una river, NE of Uvac river and Drvar field (Drvarsko polje), south and west of Sana river, and Mlinište mountain pass making its SE edge, this is a group of elongated, karstic, wooded, middle-high mountains spreading in Dinaric NW-SE direction, and rising from Western-Bosnian highland - a sparsely populated area. The highest of the mountains in this group is Klekovača, at 1,961 m. Mountains here have distinct mountain ridges, free of woods with rocky of grassy terrain, which make them first-class view-points.
Group II-12. Raduša Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This is a range situated along the left side (SW) of the upper Vrbas river valley, stretching from Jajce to Prozor towns and separated by Janj highland area and Kupres field from the central range in Western Bosnian area (Klekovača-Cincar). Raduša is the highest mountain at 1,956 m. Mountains in the range are fully covered with thick woods (some of the largest bears in Europe were caught here around Bugojno town area). The area is still unexploited by mountaineers.
4th Geographical Area: High Herzegovina
This is completely mountainous area situated between upper and middle Neretva river-flow, upper Rama and Sutjeska rivers, south of Zeljeznica and Bistrica rivers, south of Ivan pass (Ivan-sedlo on Sarajevo-Konjic-Mostar road) and north of Eastern and Western Lower Herzegovina (north of Posusje-Mostar-Dabar field (Dabarsko polje) line). By its geomorphological characteristics High Herzegovina is just a continuation of high karst of Western Bosnia, with huge mountain masses still following Dinaric direction (except some areas around Cvrsnica mt.), and karstic fields (polja) between them, as are Nevesinje field (Nevesinjsko polje) or Gacko field (Gacko or Gatacko polje). Like other Herzegovian mountains (both Lower and High Herzegovina) more more parallel, and gradually rising (in steps, terraces) ranges and groups of mountains can be recognized.
The first in the line is a range spreading between Dabar field (Dabarsko polje) - Fatnica field (Fatnicko polje) - Bileca town line and between Mostar- Nevesinje field - Gacko field line, with Velez mt. (1,969 m) as the highest of them (GROUP II-15).
The next theree groups of mountains of High Herzegovina are situated more to the north of previous Velez group, and south of upper Neretva river. Those three ranges are: a cluster of mountains of western part of High Herzegovina, around Cvrsnica mt. (2,228 m) (GROUP II-13), then Prenj massif (2,155 m) (GROUP II-14), and a slightly lower range, running in NW-SE direction along left bank of the upper Neretva canyon, beginning with Crvanj mt. (1,921 m) and finishing with Lebrsnik mt. (1,985 m) - that already enters Montenegro proper. (Group II-16)
The last line of High Herzegovian mountains is situated north of the upper and mid-Neretva valley, but this is already a transitional area, where the same mountain ranges are being shared by Herzegovina and Bosnia (in north and eastern parts) and shared by Herzegovina, Montenegro and Bosnia in the SE-most parts. This is why those mountain are put in a separate section named Central Bosnian-Herzegovian mountains.
Group II-13. Cvrsnica Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
This is a mountain area consisting of more mountains in western part of High Herzegovina, west of mid-Neretva river canyon, NW of the city of Mostar, east of Busko lake (Busko blato/jezero) and Duvno field (Duvanjsko polje) and north of Mostar - Siroki Brijeg - Posusje road which is roughly a transitional area with lower mountains of Western Herzegovina. NW parts of this group touch border area of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia (Dalmatia region). The vastest and the highest of all mountains in the group and the highest in all of Herzegovina is Cvrsnica (2,228 m). The highest parts of the group were formed by glacial influences. Eastern parts of the group are marked by deep canyons of Neretva, Drezanka, Doljanka, Diva Grabovica rivers, up to 1,200 meters deep.
Group II-14. Prenj massif(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Vast mountain range in Herzegovina region of Bosnia&Herzegovina. On the east, north and west it is limited by a wide arc of Neretva river and to the southeast are fields Bijelo Polje, Velika draga, Hansko and Bahtijevica mountain. Prenj drops steeply to the river-banks of the Neretva. The narrow ridge Barice separates Prenj into two highlands Prenj and Glogovo. Alpine climate with lots of snow. More remains of former glaciers. Because of its geology Prenj has a lot of precipitation but little surface sources.
Group II-15. Velez Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Group II-16. Crvanj-Lebrsnik Range(Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro)
5th Geographical Area: Central Bosnian-Herzegovian Area
This is the area with some of the highest mountains in Herzegovina and Bosnia. It encopasses the last line of High Herzegovian mountains to the north of the upper and mid-Neretva valley, but this is already a transitional area because northern and SE mountains in this area already belong to Bosnia region. This is why those mountain are put in a separate section named Central Bosnian-Herzegovian mountains. The south-eastermost edges of this Area already belong to Montenegro. This is area of high mountains with characteristical rounded mountain slopes at 1,000-1,500 m alt. Above them mountains and summits rise to around 2,000 meters(Bjelašnica, Vranica, Treskavica).
Panorama of Bjelašnica
Group II-17. Vranica Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Geologically this is an older geological mass grasped by a younger Dinaric built-up in later Tertiary and at the beginning of Quartenary when it got todays height and direction. Vranica is the highest mountain in Central Bosnia. And the massif of Vranica is made of many smaller mountains (small in surface area, but not in height). Although some put Vranica into group of Central Bosnian mountains belonging to NE Dnaric belt (because it very much differs from the rest of limestone mountains south and west of it), it is nevertheless the highest of all only-Bosnian mountains (other high mountains in the area are both Bosnian and Herzegovian) and morphologically it is a part of the same sub-chain with Bjelasnica, Zelengora and Maglic. The highest parts of the group are mostly vast mountain pastures, while the lower parts abound in woods.
Group II-18. Bjelasnica Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Group II-19. Zelengora Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
It is a mountaineous area situated beetween river Bistrica (northern side), Drina and Sutjeska rivers (eastern and SE sides), Jabucnica and Neretva rivers (SE side) and Zagorje plateau (from NW). Massif consists of Zelengora mountain and other mountains and summits, including Lelija mt. with the highest summit in the group (2,032 m). Zelengora Group is a typical karstic-dolomite massif with sandstone layers. This is the reason why the massif abounds in water-sources, streams and small shallow lakes. Mountains in the group are covered with woods and mountain pastures.
Group II-20. Maglic Group(Bosnia and Herzegovina; Montenegro)
This geomorpohological group is situated between regions of Herzegovina and Bosnia and Montenegro, bordered by Sutjeska, Piva and Vrbnica rivers. The highest summits are in Montenegro, while the easiest approach is from the Bosnian and Herzegovian sides. Mountains of this Group encircle Mratinje lake in Montenegro. Although this mountains make a group, it never got a common name, and I have called it Maglic group after the name of the most famous mountain in the Group (which is also the highest summit of Bosnia-Herzegovina), although the highest summits of the Group are on another of the mountains, and that is Bioc (2,386 m) in Montenegro. The whole group abounds in karstic and glacial forms, with deep green valleys, narrow gorges, rocky mountain edges, high plateaus and glacially carved mountain-tops.TD>
6th Geographical Area: High mountains an plateous in Montenegro and Prokletije (Povrsi and Brda region)
This is the Highest Dinaric Area, a high mountainous region with high vast high plateaus (Površi) and mountains (Brda) - many of them higher than 2,000 meters - rising from them. Plateaus are carved by river canyons and gorges of Tara, Piva, Lim, Morača and other rivers. Western and South western parts of the area are made of limestone and dolomite rocks, while the rest of area is less karstic (although there are still some important limestone zones here as are Durmitor, Komovi) and less barren and is built up of impenetrable slate rock formations. This area abounds in pastures, woods and surface waters.
Group II-21. Vojnik-Golija Group(Montenegro)
Group II-22. Prekornica Group(Montenegro)
Group II-23. Durmitor Massif(Montenegro)
Group II-24. Sinjajevina massif(Montenegro)
High and elongated (around 40 km long and 15 km wide) mountain massif spreading in NW-SE direction, situated betwen Tara, Moraca Bukovica and Tusinja river canyons. Most of Sinjajevina (or Sinjavina) is a vast carstic highland also shaped by glacial forces - a natural continuation of Lakes highland (Jezerska povrs) at the eastern foothills of Durmitor massif. The highlands of Sinjajevina are almost treeles, but with vast pastures. The highest peaks are situated on its SE part.
Group II-25. Moračke planine (Morača mountains)(Montenegro)
This group is located in the central part of Montenegro. It stretches to the east to Tara river canyon, near the town of Kolašin. The Gradišta ridge closes this series of peaks from the west, while Vratlo pass separates it from peaks of Sinjajevina mountain range. Moračke Planine group is surrounded from the west by Lola Ridge and plateau; from the southwest by the pasture plateau Lukavica with two Zurim peaks (Mali and Veliki - Lesser and Large), and by the source and canyon of Morača river to the north and northeast. Some geographers considerbthe Moraca Mountains to the Sinjajevina massif. The mountain group is made of limestone.
Group II-26. Ljubišnja Group(Montenegro)
Group II-27. Bjelasica massif(Montenegro)
A high mountain massif in Central Montenegro, situated between Tara (from west) and Lim river (from east) canyons. Tresnjevik mountain pass separates Bjelasica from Komovi massif to the south and Ljepesnica and Ljubovidja rivers (tributaries of Lim) make Bjelasica´s border to the north. Geologically, this massif is of vulcanic structure but reshaped on the surface by glacial forces. Because of geologial structure there are no sharp rocky peaks on Bjelasica but curved undulating peaks, grouped in more mountain ridges, stretching in classical NW-SE Dinaric direction. It abounds in water-sources an mountain streams. Part of Bjelasica massif is Biogradska gora National Park with premieval forests and glacial lake of the same name. Many parts of the massif are covered with woods. There are more glacial lakes on Bjelasica.
Group II-28. Komovi Group(Montenegro, Albania)
Group II-29. Visitor Group(Montenegro)
This is a small group by measuring its surface, but with high summits. Why such a small area makes a group? Simply, because of "negative" selection, it does not belong to Komovi group and also in the most of the cases it is not atributed to Prokletije range either (although there are more different theories, considering Visitor as part of wider Prokletije structure). The group is borderd with Plav-Gusinje glacial valley from south, Lim river valley from east and north, and Zlorijecica and Kutska rivers from west. The group has all main ridges connected together, except one spur (Lipovica) that separates in western direction across Montenegrin-Albanian border. The main mountain feature in the Group are woods, pastures, plenty water sources.
Group II-30. Kucka krajina Mountains (Montenegro, Albania)
It is almost untouched, pristine, remote and quiet mountaineous region, situated north-east of Podgorica the capital of Montenegro, next to the Albanian border, one of not so known gems of the Montenegrin Dinarids. In fact this is a vast karstic plateau (povrs) from which more groups of summits, single mountain-like summits and mountains rise. Along its western side, rivers of Moraca and Mala rijeka («Small river») and road Podgorica – Lijeva Rijeka – Verusa, make the limits of the area. River Cijevna and vast river valley of Zeta make south and southwerstern borderline of Kucka krajina. To east, the area extends to the summits along Montenegrin-Albanian border and a smaller mountain ridge that enter into Albania (over Vermoshi) and finally, from the north side the first neighbour of Kucka krajina is Komovi mountain group.
Group II-31. Prokletije/Bjeshet e Nemuna Range(Albania, Montenegro, Serbia/Kosovo)
The Accursed Mountains/Prokletije/Bjeshet e Nemuna is a large, rugged, pathless and hardly passable mountain range stretching from Scutari lake (Skadarsko jezero) in NE direction over Cijevna river area, then slightly curving to the East in direction od Deravica/Gjeravica (2,656 m) summit and local group (above Metohija basin, Kosovo area). From here, geomorpohologically Prokletije turn northwards over Bogicevica mt. (2,530 m) and Cakor mountain pass, and continue with another row of high mountains (sometimes this mountains are called Mountains of North-Eastern Montenegro) like Hajla (2,400 m), Zljeb (2,352 m), Mokra Gora (2,155 m) and Suva Planina (1,750 m) mountains, that encircle Metohija basin from north and north-west and finish in the area of upper Ibar river valley.
Prokletije form the southernmost end of Dinaric mountain chain. In this area Dinaric Alps meet with Sara (read Shara, after Shar-planina/Shar Mountain) mountain system in Macedonia and Albania and Kosovo area. This tectonic crash has produced an unusual zig-zag shape of Prokletije range, and also theirs curving from dominant Dinaric NW-SE direction toward the north-eastern one (the same as of Sara mt.).
This is mostly a limestone built chain (except its eastern and SE parts) with slate rock around its base. The most of the area was formed by glacial influences with karstic areas in the western parts of the Group.
Although there are some serious scientific searchings that give Prokletije a status of a separate mountain chain and not a part of Dinaric chain, in most other ways this chain is still considered as the highest of all Dinaric areas, connected with Dinaric mountain chain in more ways as are geology, unbroken morphological unit and even etnologically.
Central Belt - Panoramic view from Maglic (Kucki) to mountains of Western Montenegro and Northern Albania
(starting left: from Komovi over Planinica, Visitor and Plav-Vermosh-Gusinje valley to Prokletije range)
The North-Eastern Belt consists of mountains of more complex structure. The most of them are built of paleosoic layers and different eruptive rocks. This is the area of nonporous layers with normal above-surface waterflows, thick "network" of valleys and indented relief with more mountain groups of middle and lower height. Although the most of the mountains in this Belt consist of non-porous rocks there are still few karstic areas here. The mountains of NE Belt are richer in ores (Fe, PB, Cu, Mn, coal) than mountains in other two (karstic) belts.
On the northernmost part of this zone Dinaric Alps meet the Pannonian/Hungarian plain, and this is the area of low green mountains and hills build of later tertiary sediments. The older layers on northern edge of this zone are covered by sediments of old Pannonian sea.
The mountains of the North-Eastern Belt strech from lower mountain ranges in Slovenia and Croatia, which are transitional zones to the European Alps. The Belt then descends to low and hilly areas of Central Croatia and east of Una river it continues in more mountain groups of Northern, Central and Eastern Bosnia (with a few higher montains like Vlasic, Jahorina). As a morphological continuation of mountain ranges in Eastern Bosnia, more mountain ranges of Western Serbia continue east of Drina river, still following main Dinaric direction, with a slight curve to the south.
TABLE 3. Mountains of North-Eastern Belt
HIGHEST SUMMIT (mountain)
(summits) in the group
Mountains of Slovenian Dolenjska Region and NW Croatia
Kozara (978 m) - Prosara (363 m) - Kriva Glava (446 m)
Motajica (652 m, geologically older than Dinarides)
Vučjak (352 m)
Trebovac (618 m) - Majevica (915 m)
Cer (689 m, geologically older than Dinarides) - Iverak (426 m) - Vlašić planina (447 m)
North-Eastern Belt - Description
1st Geographical Area: Slovenian Dolenjska Region and NW Croatia
Group III-01. Kočevski Rog Group
This group is bordered from north by Ljubljana-Zagreb highway, and from SW by a tectonic depression Kočevje-Ribnica (both are small towns). The main mountain massif in this group is forested Kočevski Rog. It is unpopulated area with half-ruined villages and more than 800 km2 of forest today, including protected primary forest (Rajhenavski gozd, Kopa and Pečke on Rog). There are may mountains paths around, but because of thick forested countryside it is easy to get lost. It is a solitude world and a heaven for animals. Other main mountains in the group are elongated, following Kočevje-Ribnica line (the fault) in SW-NE direction.
Group III-02. Zumberak/Gorjanci Group
This is a low mountain massif shared by Slovenia and Croatia, 50 km long, 20 km wide, mostly karstic, with the highest summit at 1,178 m. It is situated on the edge of the Dinaric Alps, and differently from nearby Kocevski rog and the most of the Dinarics, Zumberak/Gorjanci stretches in SW-NE direction, like some other mountains of SW part of Pannonian plain (Medvednica above Zagreb). Such direction is due to tectonics, because those mountains are transitional zones, placed in colision areas of two large mountain systems (Dinaric and the main Alpine). The summits in the group are not too high, but the massif has mountaineous character, forests, gentle meadows and many small canyons surrounded by steep mountain ridges.
2nd Geographical Area: Central and Eastern Bosnia
Central and Eastern Bosnia embrace more mountain ranges and clusters in mid and lower river valleys of Vrbas, Bosna and Drina, as well as lower mountains around rivers of Sana, Vrbanja, Usora and Spreca. Southern edge of this Area is Sarajevo field - Zeljeznica river - Bistrica river - Drina river line.
Group III-03. Vlašić Group
Group III-04. Jahorina Group
Group III-05. Central Bosnian Group
Group III-06. Eastern Bosnian Group
3rd Geographical Area: Stari Vlah and Raška/Sandžak Mountains
Group III-07. Raška/Sandžak Mountains - Kovač Group
Group III-08. Raška/Sandžak Mountains - Zlatar Group
Group III-09. Stari Vlah Group
4tg Geographical Area: Mountains of North-Western Serbia
Group III-10. Podrinje-Valjevo Mountains
This is a lower mountain range situated north of Western Morava river (Zapadna Morava), west of Kolubara river and east of Drina river. Northern parts of this range slowly descend into Pannonian/Hungarian Plain. The main mountain ridge begins in Loznica town area and stretches as an arch in SE direction to Cacak town area and upper Ljig river valley. This mountain range is natural continutation of mountain Majevica in NE Bosnia, across Drina Rriver. The main ridge is divided into two subgroups: Podrinje mountains (mountains in the area of Drina river) and Valjevske planine (Valjevo mountains; mts. in the area of town of Valjevo).
Mountains of this group belong to the ore zone of Dinarics (the most of Dinarics are made of limestone and dolomite and they lack in ores). One subrange branches off the main range of this Group, and it is a low peri-Pannonian northern branch with three major heights, one of them Cer mountain is geologically olden than the Dinarics, but Dinaric chain had enclosed it around. 5th Geographical Area: Other Peri-Pannonian or Pre-Dinaric Mountains
The work on this Section is sill in progress. It will have the next chapters:
Croatian Speleological Server
A very informative page in English and Croatian administrated by The Speleological Committee of the Croatian Mountaineering Association. Here you can find the information about the possibility of visits or joining the explorations of Croatian caves and many usefull links. In English - In Croatian
The rivers of the Dinaric Alps belong to two watersheds; they bring their waters into the Adriatic (around 25 percent) and the Black sea (75 percent). The main rivers flowing into the Adriatic sea are Soča/Isonzo (137 km), Krka (Dalmatian) (71 km), Cetina (106 km), Zrmanja (69 km), Neretva (213 km), Zeta (65 km), Morača (97 km), Bojana/Buna and Drim/Drin (109 km). These rivers flow through karst region, they spring as gushing and abundant springs (s.c. vrelo) and have relatively short flows with many falls and canyon-like valleys.
Further to the north and north-east river 945 km long Sava river (with spring in Slovenian Julian Alps) is the most important Danube tributary, and although it flows on the edges of Dinaric mountain system it receives the most of Dinaric waterflows. The most important Sava tributaries are Krka (Slovenian), Kupa (296 km), Una (214 km), Vrbas (227 km), Bosna (273 km), Drina (346 km) rivers. The other important rivers are Korana, Mreznica, Dobra, Sana, Pliva, Lasva, Spreča, Rama, Tara, Piva, Lim, Ibar (276 km), Zapadna (Western) Morava (295 km) and Kolubara (106 km).
Another interesting feature in the Dinaric Alps are so called sinking creeks or sinking rivers (and underground streams) in Dinaric karst, one of them Trebisnjica (100 km) in Eastern Herzegovina, being the largest of a kind in Europe. Other such rivers are Reka (Notranjska) (44 km), Lika (76 km) and Gacka (48 km).
Because the most of the rivers are mountainous in their character they have many waterfalls, they are rich in salmonoide-type fish and some of them were also dammed for hydro-electrical power plants (Drina, Piva, Neretva, Vrbas).
The only river which cuts its way through Maritime and Central Dinarics is Neretva, providing a passage into the valley of the river Bosnia by way of the Ivan-sedlo pass (967 m). Despite the fact that the most of Dinaric rivers cut through limestone gorges, many of them, especially in northern and NE parts of the Chain (Vrbas, Bosna rivers), have long been important traffic routes, because there were no easier options (no low laying mountain passes). The other rivers that carved their canyons deep in a limestone rock, thus making unapproachable barriers, blocked any serious contacts and travel for long time and were known throughout history as division-lines between family klans and regions (f.e. Tara river).
There are more than 200 lakes throughout the Chain. They are of karstic, tectonic, glacial, travertine, fluviokarstic, or fluvial origin, and also the artificial ones, but the most of them are much smaller than 10 sq. km
Karstic lakes formed by karstic erosion are f.e. Red and Blue lakes near Imotski (Croatia, Dalmatia)
Travertine lakes are formed by accumulation of sediments of marl in riverbeds, like are Pliva lake (Plivsko jezero), Plitvice lakes (Plitvička jezera).
If erosion is combined with tectonic sinking, those lakes are known as karstic-tectonic, such is Scutari lake (Skadarsko jezero).
A type of karstic lakes are also periodically flooded areas of some karstic fields such are: Cerknica field (Cerknisko polje), Popovo field (Popovo polje), Livno field (Livanjsko polje), Kosinj field (Kosinjsko polje) and others.
Glacial lakes can be found in high mountains of Montenegro and Bosnia&Herzegovina. They are mostly of smaller size but very attractive so many people call them "mountain eyes" (18 such lakes are on Durmitor, 6 on Bjelasica). There are also some lakes of glacial origin situated at the foothills of high mountains, where the water was dammed by the sediments drifted here by the glaciers. Such lakes are Plav lake (Plavsko jezero), Biograd lake (Biogradsko jezero).
NATURAL LAKES IN DINARIC ALPS
The Name of the Lake (altitude)
Surface Area (Depth)
Scutari Lake (Skadarsko jezero) 6 m
391 sq. km (44 m)
Vrana Lake (Vransko jezero) 0.7 m
30 sq. km (4 m)
Prokljan lake (Prokljansko jezero) 0.5 m
11.4 sq. km (20 m)
Vrana Lake (Vransko jezero) 14 m
5.75 sq. km (84 m)
Croatia (Cres Island)
Blidinje lake (Blidinjsko jezero) 1183 m m
3.2 sq. km (84 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Deransko lake (Hutovo blato)
2.5 sq. km
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Plitvice lakes (18 in system) 503-636 m
1.98 sq. km (49 m)
Croatia (Plitvice Lakes)
Plav lake (Plavsko jezero)
1.2 sq. km (9 m)
Pliva lake (Plivsko jezero)
1.1 sq. km (35.6 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Durmitor lakes (18 lakes)
0.95 sq. km
Bjelasica lakes (6 lakes)
PERIODICAL LAKES IN DINARIC ALPS
The Name of the Lake (altitute)
Surface Area (Depth)
Cerknica Lake (Cerknisko jezero)
12-26 sq. km (3 m)
ARTIFICIAL LAKES IN DINARIC ALPS
The Name of the Lake (altitude)
Surface Area (Depth)
Piva Lake (Pivsko jezero)
112 sq. km (187 m
Montenegro (Piva river)
Busko blato/Busko jezero (Busko lake) 716.5 m
56 sq. km (17,3 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia
Bileca Lake (Bilecko jezero) 400 m
33 sq. km (104 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Modrac Lake (Modracko jezero) 200 m
17 sq. km
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jablanica Lake (Jablaničko jezero) 270 m
14.38 sq. km (70 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Neretva river)
Peruča lake (Peručko jezero) 360 m
13 sq. km (64 m)
Croatia (Cetina river)
Perucica lake (Perucicko jezero) 290 m
12.4 sq. km (70 m)
Croatia (Cetina river)
Zvornik lake (Zvorničko jezero) 140 m
8,1 sq. km (28 m)
Bosnia and Herzegovina/Serbia (Drina river)
Zlatar lake (Zlatarsko jezero) 290 m
7.2 sq. km (75 m)
Serbia (Uvac river)
Potpec lake (Potpecko jezero) 400 m
7 sq. km (40 m)
Serbia (Lim river
Animal life of the Dinaric Alps
Slovenian-Croatian site on Dinaric lynx population (Oct. 2011. seems not very active)
ELOIS - Eurasian lynx survey in Europe - Dinaric population (with sublinks to lynx population overviews for Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia). For lynx population in Albania see ELOIS - Lynx distribution in Albania and ELOIS - S and M for Lynx distribution in Serbia and Montenegro
Unfortunately the site apparently not active any more.
The Olm or Proteus (Proteus anguinus)
Excellent Wikipedia-page on this endemic animal (človeška ribica in Slovenian and čovječja ribica in other souh-Slavic languages, both literally translated as "the humanoid fish", because of its skin-color that resembles to the human one)
Morphological, Climatic, Biological and other diversities, as well as Tourism and Ecological needs were the main reasons for protecting some areas in Dinaric mountain chain. And it is really striking how different those national parks and protected areas are in their character.
But sometimes, despite the intentions to protect the nature, there are some part in Dinarics (sociological and cultural reasons) where local people do not have very much active attitude in protecting their natural surrounding (trash dropping!), and the only reason why many mountaineous areas are still being preserved is shear underdevelopement and underpopulation in those areas.
The most of the states in Dinaric Alps have one or more national parks and strictly protected areas. Here is a review of the National Parks in the Dinaric Alps:
PROTECTED AREAS IN THE DINARIC ALPS (here presented national parks, only)
The Name of protected Area
Risnjak National Park
Unusual richness of natural phenomena caused by its position between Alps and Dinaric range, which causes different climatic, geological, petrographical, and other characteristics of the area; forest vegetation covers 98 percent of the Park; karst phenomena - sink holes, pits, springs, abysses; protected and endemic species of flora and fauna; presence of big mammals - bear, wolf, lynx, chamois; possibilities for recreation - trekking, mountain biking, tour skiing. Risnjak NP Link
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Established in 1949, enlisted in UNESCO - World Heritage List: 1979. Main features: diverse forest communities cover more than 75 % of the park area; unique karst phenomenon-between the mountain ranges of Mala Kapela and Licka Pljesivica there is a series of 16 lakes arranged as cascades, separated by travertine barriers; karst phenomena - caves, sinking zones, pits, ice caves; preserved forests of beech and fir, relic forest communities; high biological diversity -1146 plant species (72 endemic, 22 protected), 150 birds; habitats of big predators - bear, wolf, lynx, wildcat Specially protected areas: special forest reserve - virgin forest Corkova uvala. Plitvice NP Link
Northern Velebit National Park
Numerous karst phenomena and caving objects - deep pits, karrens, sinkholes; preserved forest communities; high biological diversity, plenty of endemic species; landscape diversity - picturesque valleys, pastures, rocks, screes; remains of traditional architecture - old summer lodgings Specially protected areas: strict reserve Hajducki i Rozanski kukovi, special botanical reserves: Visibaba, Zavizan-Balinovac-Velika kosa with Velebit botanical garden. Northern Velebit NP (Sjeverni Velebit NP)Link
Paklenica National Park
Canyons of Velika and Mala Paklenica have plenty of geological, hydrological, karst, floristic and faunal characteristics; rich flora - about 800 species (40 endemic); diverse and rich fauna - especially important is the presence of the griffon vultures; rich cultural heritage - indigenous architecture, water mills, felting mill, archaeological locality Paklaric; most famous Croatian climbing area for climbers and alpinists. Paklenica NP Link
Una River National Park
Established as a National park in May, 2008. It extend over the areas of the Upper Una river flow and its river gorge, lower Unac river flow with its river gorge and area between Una nad Unac rivers
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sutjeska National Park
NP attractions are Sutjeska river gorge, undisturbed valleys, thick mixed woods, mountain pastures, high karst formations, high mountain massifs (Maglic, Zelengora, Volujak, Vucevo), more glacier lakes, well known strictly protected Perucica a primeval forest of unique beauty and the biggest preserved primeval forest in Europe; Skakavac waterfall in Perucica; fauna and flora, including lots of endemics; historical significance of the place. Sutjeska NP Link
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kozara National Park
Occupies a central part of mount Kozara (Mrakovica at 806 m). Forest covered hills, lakes and streams. Orohidrographic area; source of more crystal clear rivers as well as numerous springs. From Mrakovica with its central position in NP more valleys, mountain slopes and ranges decorated with meadows, in all directions. Historic importance. Activities: walking, observation of wild life.Kozara NP Link
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Durmitor National Park
Enlisted in UNESCO - World Heritage List in 1980, - Biosphere Reserve in 1977. Magnificent scenery; glacial feautures, lakes and valleys; morphological features - mountain ranges and summits rising from high karstic plateaus, deep river canyons; endemic flora and fauna, primeval forests (more than 400 years old, 50 m high trees (spruce, fir, dark-pine, beech); speleological objects, caves, chasms, holes; tourism: mountaineering, speleology. Tara river canyon (41 percent of NP surface area) enlisted in UNESCO/MAB, deepest in Europe with 1000-1200 m high sides; crystal-clear water, rafting. Durmitor NP Link
Biogradska gora National Park
Situated in NE Montenegro in central part of Bjelasica massif, encircled with mountain summits higher than 2,000 m, streams and valleys. Glacial features, lakes, moraines. Biogradska gora a primeval forest and strictly protected reserve. Traditional local architecture in villages, katuns (shepherds´s settlements), mills. Close to Tara and Lim rivers. Biogradska gora NP Link
Skadarsko jezero (Scutari Lake) National Park
Fresh-water fauna and flora; flooded woods of willow and poplar in Bojana/Bune river delta, vast birds nesting areas (cormorant, heron, egret, pelican and other); fresh-river fish; cultural heritage, old monasteries and churches; close to Rumija mountain (mountaineering). Skadarsko jezero NP Link
Lovcen National Park
Biodiversity, rare and endemic species; rocky ground, karstic and oromediterranean vegetation; forest reserves (maritime beech-tree); cultural heritage. Lovcen NP Link
Tara National Park
Protected countryside of Tara mountain (do not mix it with Tara river in Montenegro), river valleys and canyons, waterfalls, caves and other karstic features, mixed wooded areas, primeval forests, rare plant and animal species; protected Pancic pine-tree areal. Tara NP Link
Theti National Park
Situated in the North Albanian Alps (Prokletije or Bjeshket e Nemuna), 70 km far from Shkodra/Skadar. River of Thethi, with an outpouring of about 1000-1300 l/sec. Waterfall of Grunasi natural monument Variety of habitats and vegetation. Area of lynx-lynx with about 50 principals specie. Info on Thethi Area
Lugina e Valbones (The Valley of Valbona) National Park
Situated 25-30 km in northwest of the city of Bajram Curri. It expands among high mountains; fantastic colors in every season, valley full of labyrinths and surprises. Its scientific, tourist and health recovering values; bio-diversity of national and international importance. Rocky and attractive peaks, the sides covered with wood, the flow of brooks and river Valbona. Tourism, fishing, relaxation, amusing and mountain climbing as well as winter sports. In the inner part of the Park lots of grottos and caves (the most eminent Cave of Dragobia, with historical importance, too).
Krka National Park
Preserved and insignificantly altered ecosystem; the area of 109 square kilometers along the Krka River; famous for its travertine waterfals and cascades, and the river canyon overall is a natural and karstic phenomenon. Krka NP Link
Mljet National Park
"Mljet" NP covers NW part of Mljet island, 5.5 ha of protected land and surrounding sea. Protection of an original ecosystem in the Adriatic. Unique panoramic landscape of well intended coastline, cliffs, reefs and numerous islands, and rich topography of the nearby hills, which rise steeply above the sea and hide numerous ancient stone villages. Outer coastline exposed to the south sea and therefore steep and full of "garmas" collapsed caves. The salt lakes are a unique geological and oceanographic phenomenon. The Mediterranean karst landscape hides two natural specialties - typical karst underground habitats: half-caves, caves and pits and brackish lakes, which vanish from time to time. Beautiful, rich forests. Cultural heritage. Mljet NP Link
Kornati National Park
In the central part of croatian Adriatic Sea, about 15 Nm to the west from Sibenik town, or 15 Nm to the south from Zadar town; amazing group of islands named Kornati archipelago; 89 islands, islets and reefs within the NP; the most indented group of islands in the Mediterranean. The land part of NP covers less than 1/4 of area, values of its landscapes, the "crowns" (cliffs) on the islands facing the open sea, interesting relief structures; submarine area, biocenosis considered to be the richest in the Adriatic Sea, and also the magnificent geomorphology of the sea bed attracts divers. Exceptionally rich flora and fauna. The land section of the Park; app. 700-800 vascular plant families; variety of birds. Hiking: numerous hilltop view locations; interesting geological and geo-morphological phenomena seen from the hilltops. Kornati NP Link
Velebit Nature Park
Enlisted in UNESCO/MAB - Biosphere Reserve in 1978. Longest mountain of the Dinaric range - 145 km; karst phenomena - barren rocks of different shapes, canyons, valleys, caves and pits; hydrogeological phenomena - karst rivers with travertine barriers, underground flows which emerge in the sea as submarine springs; landscape diversity - alteration of barren limestone rocks with beech, fir and spruce forests; biological diversity - 2700 plant species, numerous endemic species of flora and fauna, particularly in the underground and waters Specially protected areas: 2 national parks: Paklenica and Sjeverni Velebit, protected landscape Zavratnica, geomorphologic nature monuments: Cerovacke pecine and Modric cave, palaeontological nature monument Velnicka glavica, special forest reserve Stirovaca - virgin forests of beech and fir. Velebit Nature Park Link
Golija Nature Park
Enlisted in UNESCO/MAB - Biosphere Reserve in 2001. Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve is situated in southwestern Serbia and belongs to the inner zone of the Dinaric mountain system. It covers a mountainous region and includes a mosaic of different ecosystems such as forests, shrubs and lakes. The local population cleared parts of the forests over centuries and thus created species rich pastures and meadows which are still maintained today. The biosphere reserve includes the Studenica Monastery, which is a cultural World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve
Getting There and Around
The outskirts of the Dinaric Alps are very accessible from more European regions, because they are situated close to the Central Mediterranean, Central Europe and parts of Eastern Europe. But moving inside the mountain chain could be more complicated on some of your routes. Not only because physically the mountains are a strong barrier, but also because of underdeveloped networks in many parts of the area and many broken connections and lines due to war conflicts in the area in the 1990s. But situation is gradually improving, lately, with reconstruction of the old ties and especially the high rise of tourism in the area.
Getting there by train:
The main railways approaching the Area are via: Triest (trains from Italy, Switzerland, France), Ljubljana (Italy, Austria, Germany), Zagreb (Italy, Gemany, Hungary) and Belgrade (Hungary, South and Eastern Balkans) train stations. From these main stations you can penetrate deeper into the Dinarics by train or by any other way of transport. The main rails crossing over the mountain system are: Ljubljana-Istria, Zagreb-Rijeka, Zagreb-Split, Doboj-Sarajevo-Mostar-Ploce and Belgrade-Bar. Overall in the area, the rail network is less developed than the bus network, although it may be somewhat cheaper option.
Check out the following websites for timetable details: Bosnian-Herzegovian Railways schedule Slovenian Railways Croatian Railways Serbian Railways Railways of Montenegro Italian State Railways
Getting there by bus:
Travelling by bus inside the Dinaric is probably the best public transport option. Even the smallest settlements have a kind od bus connection, although many times do not count on a busy schedule (one bus ride in a day or, twice a week f.e.) and not even of a high comfort. Travelling by bus is also a cheap option.
To reach the Area, the main bus-hubs connected with more international lines are: Trieste (Italy), Ljubljana (Bus Station) (Slovenia), Zagreb /Bus Station) (Croatia), Rijeka (Croatia), Split (Bus Station) (Croatia), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Belgrade (Bus Station) (Serbia). Especially good connections from those bus stations are to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Hungary and Italy
For traveling by bus inside the Dinaric Chain be aware that the most of bus networks operate inside their native states, therefore check in advance from which stations you can catch a bus that drives into neighbouring countries, across the border.
Getting there by boat:
There are numerous ferry services between two coasts of the Adriatic, ferries and passenger ships connecting the coastline and the islands, as well as services along the coast.
The main ports (in Croatia and Montenegro) are connected with more Italian ports on the other side of the Adriatic sea. You can take ferries (or catamarans) from the ports of Venice, Rimini, Civitanova, Ancona, Pescara or Bari in Italy to reach one of the ports on the other side of the Adriatic. Note that during summer season much more ships operate, but the crowds during this period will force you to think about booking your tickets in advance (if you plan to cross the sea with your car). One of the nicest solutions if you want to reach one of the ports on the Eastern Coast of Adriatic is by taking a line that connects major ports along the coast (from Rijeka to Dubrovnik), with excellent views to the costal mountain ranges of Dinarics.
Major passenger ports in or nearby Dinaric mountain chain are: Trieste (Italy), Pula (Croatia), Rijeka (Croatia), Zadar (Croatia), Split (Croatia), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Bar (Montenegro).
Major Shipping Companies operating in the area are: Jadrolinija (Croatian), Venezia Lines (Italian), Adriatica di Navigazione (Italian), Blue Line-Sem Marina (Croatian), SNAV (Italian), AGESTEA (Italian).
Getting there by car:
Since the Area is close to Central Europe many visitor arrive by car. Main European highways and mottorway corridors that will take you to the Dinarics area are: Milano/Rome-Venice-Triest-Split-Dubrovnik-Skadar/Skhodra, then Stuttgart-Munich-Salzburg-Ljubljana and Frankfurt-Nuernberg-Linz-Graz-Zagreb-Split, Budapest-Zagreb-Rijeka, Budapest-Osijek-Sarajevo-Mostar and Belgrade-Kraljevo-Podgorica.
Although the most of visitors prefer summer time for climbing the Dinaric Alps, of course such diverse mountain system is attractive in all other seasons, and because of different climate influences you can have very different experiences in various parts of the Chain.
Mountains of High Dinaric Belt are fully covered by thick layer of snow in winter, and the most of local mountain roads are being closed approximately from October to May (at least). But for those with adventurous spirit, this may be the best time to visit high mountains: clear vistas on sunny days (better that in summer, when many times a light mist may obstruct the view), snow covered mountains, emptiness of the mountains, wolf tracks in a fresh snow... February and March may be the best time to walk across the snow because of the hardness of the snow layer.
At the same time you can climb the mountains in Dinaric Maritime Belt, where the Mediterranean climate enables you to hike the snowless mountains.
High mountains are still covered by snow deep into the springtime. But lower laying areas and lower mountains are now approachable for visits. In coastal mountains and further inland (in lower Herzegovina and Montenegro) the Sun already warms up the air considerably. In May you may have the coastal mountains still under the snow and the first brave swimmers splashing up in the Adriatic Sea, at the foot of the same mountains. Late spring is wonderful period to visit the most of the mountains, even the highest ones. This is the time of blossoming, woods and meadows are light green and more and more colorful thanks to many plants.
Summer (July-August) is the high season. When the most of the snow melts away (since June, mostly) shepherds arrive to theirs´ summer settlements high in the mountains. In many mountains this is the period when they receive 90% of all the visits, throughout the year. But don't be afraid because there aren´t too many crowded areas in the Dinarics even in summer, because the most of the locals and tourists are already bathing and swimming on the nearby Coast. Usually in summer there are more periods with nice weather. Generally, the weather conditions may be the best (but the hottest) in Maritime areas and closer to Pannonian plain. The highest mountains may be for more days under clouds after summer rains because of higher humidity and condensation, though August is the month with the least average amount of percipitation in high mountains. In maritime areas be aware of high daily temperatures and lack of vegetation and shade along the trails. So take lots of water with you and avoid sun peak periods.
Early fall is a wonderful period, more peaceful than summer, the weather and temperatures still pleasant, wooded areas covered with colorful leaves and high mountain meadows turned into golden-yellow color. Late fall by far is the rainiest (with first considerable snowfalls) and the foggiest period in the mountains. The first winter inversions (time when High air pressure above the area brings long-lasting cold fogs into lowlands, while mountaintops enjoy clear sunny days) start already in November and December.
Ne fees are required for climbing the mountains in the Dinaric Alps. You may be obligatory to pay only when entering some protected areas such are National Parks or Nature Parks - and even not all ot them.
Special Areas, Zones
One mountain range, but many states - Be cautious when climbing close to border areas. While there are some regions with so called "tourist zones" proclaimed between two states (like Zumberak/Gorjanci Group, and Kupa river area between Slovenia and Croatia, or a hike from Sutjeska river valley in Bosnia&Herzegovina to Mratinje lake in Montenegro) where people with strictly tourist/mountaineering intentions have relative freedom of movement in those border areas, there are also many other boder areas (Prokletije Range, between Montenegro and Albania) which are subject to much stricter police control becasue of the presence of smugglers in nearby area.
Be carefull also with walking through or close to military premises, or photographing military instalations, because in some areas there are still "old style" military laws and officers, who will show no interest in your physical/natural/sociological exploration of the area. There are even places where is still forbidden to photograph a 200 m high civilian water-dam with artificial lake - something many countries would turn into major tourist attraction - but this is still the Balkans!
After all those wars in the Balkans, the overall situation settled down and the tourists have come back. But there is still an area you have be warn of, because of large military presence, and this is the south-easternmost part of the Chain, close to upper Ibar river (the easternmost parts of Prokletije and Raska groups), the border area of Kosovo - a region with still unknown future.
This is really red alert! As the most dangerous and the saddest consequence of wars in the Balkans in the 1990s, are many minefields scaterred throughout the region. The best situation is in Slovenia, Montenegro and Serbia. Croatia has some regions which are still mined but the worst situation is in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is sadly, because it is the central state in the Dinaric Alps. Many more years from now will visitors to the area have to rethink twice before they choose the mountain or the area they want to climb, especially if this is a risky area.
Areas covered with mines have direct and indirect impact on communities, manifested in a huge number of civilian casualties, the population's health, losses in livestock, arable land, supplies, production and trade and constant fear and treat. Although the most of the mine field risky areas are known and marked, there are still unknown ones which are the most dangerous. As many of mine risk areas are situated in mountainous areas of the Dinaric Alps check in advance the situation in the area you plan to visit. But locally, on some of the mountains, there are already renewed or newly set up mountain trails and marked paths passing through more (and known) secure parts of those risky areas. If you hike/climb in such areas, the best advice is to follow the trail and main roads and not to turn aside off the trail.
There are magnificent mountains like Treskavica, south of Sarajevo, where mine situation is so complex that people avoid to climb it in summer (there were some winter climbs, thanks to thick snow layer covering mine fields).
Situation in Bosnia an Herzegovina (Source: BIH MAC)
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country with largest mine problem in the region. It is estimated that there are still around 670.000 mines and 650.000 still non-exploded explosive objects on 10.000 locations. There were 18,600 minefield records on 18.000 km of former confrontation lines. But that was only 60% of all mine-fields found later. Total suspected area is 2.089 km - 4,09 % of the teritory. More information, including a mine-risk map of Bosnia and Herzegovina on BH MAC - Bosnian-Herzegovian Mine Action Center and mine.ba
Situation in Croatia
Also struck by war activities in 1990s, but as a popular tourist location nowadays, Croatia set up a National Mine Action Program, determining the objective: to demine the Croatian territory by the year 2019. The number of mine fields and the overall danger is much lower than in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is still present in some areas (luckily the most popular tourist areas are 100 percent safe). But confrontation lines passed over the Dinarics in Croatia also, making still some mountain areas innaproachable. More information on HCR - Croatian Mine Action Center page and Mine sites maps link.
Situation in Kosovo/Kosova
Throughout the armed conflict on Kosovo/Kosova that ended in June 1999, both sides in conflict used antipersonnel landmines. During March–June 1999, NATO forces dropped more than 1,200 cluster bombs on Kosovo. Mines were used sporadically after June 1999, with the last reported use of antipersonnel mines in 2002. Local authorities and international troops continued to recover antipersonnel mines from caches or seize them from individuals. Following the cease-fire between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO, the UN coordinated a major demining operation by international NGOs and commercial companies from June 1999 to December 2001. Despite claims that almost all mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) had been removed, significant clearance operations continue.
Landmine Monitor analysis of data from the authorities and additional reports of deminer and peacekeeping casualties identified 553 mine/ERW casualties (111 killed, 439 injured, and three unknown) in Kosovo between 1999 and 2008. Risk education was provided with no interruption by a large number of international and national organizations in Kosovo between 1998 and 2008, but activities decreased in 2007–2008. Estimated area of contamination (Jan 1st, 2009): 55 known dangerous areas and 65 suspected areas. Casualties in 2008 Six (2007: 14). More information on: Landmine Monitor.
As very rugged and mostly under-populated Area, many mountains of the Dinaric Alps abound in animal life, including the larges carnivores: bear, wolf, lynx, wild cat. Although statistically the risk that these animals would attack you is very low, you have to be aware of their presence in the area where you plan to climb. So the forests of High Dinaric Alps, from Slovenia, over Croatia to Montenego-Bosnia-Herzegovina border are the largest habitats of bear, wolf and lynx. The attacs on humans are very rare, and the most often the victims would be sheep or goats in nearby villages or mountain cottages. Wolfs are the most dangerouos in herds an in winter time, especially when they descend from cold mountains into warmer areas of Dalmatian coast hinterland (Dalmatinska Zagora), Lower Herzegovina and Monenegrin Coast hinterland, and continental parts of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia. Bears are dangerous in spring if you meet a mother-bear with her young cubs, because she will try to do anything to protect them. Snakes are present like everywhere on the Mediterranean and in the mountains - respect them, they will respect you. If you think about them as a "biodiversity stuff" you will psychologically feel much better! Because the danger of the snakes is of course present, but it is more psychological fear than the real danger (at least statistically).
Extreme Weather Conditions
As a transitional area where more types of climate touch, or better say crush, sudden weather changes and the extreme weather conditions are very much present here. Especially extreme weather conditions are in the High Dinarics and in transitional area between the Adriatic Coast with Mediterranean climate and the highest mountains of Dinarics in the background.Climbing the mountains in the Dinarics you could feel the forces of the Sun, the wind, the snow and the rain. But despite lots of precipitation, the montains in the Area are made of limestone which does not keep the liqid at the surface, so on many mountains water sources are scarce, and as a precaution always take all the water you need with you, during all periods.
Bad markations or non-existence of marked trails
Still many mountains of the Dinaric Alps are not yet marked (which is not so bad after all! Should we call it a Green Tape?!), so you will be forced to explore sources, in advance, trying to find more information including good maps on your targets. Since, from my experience, many times you will find very scarce information on many mountains in the Dinarics, you will be many times simplly forced to ask locals or use your own sense of orientation. From my experience the mountain areas which are the best marked and covered are in western parts of the Chain (in Slovenia, Croatia and all along the Adriatic Coast). Outside this area there are some very well covered area like Durmitor, Bjelasnica (Sarajevo), some montains of Herzegovina and some areas in Serbia and Montenegro (Komovi).
Camping and Accomodation - Mountain lodges and huts
Lists of mountaineering huts, shelters an bivouacs in the Dinaric Alps
The most of the states in the Dinarics have more or less developed Mountain Rescue Services with branch offices throughout their states. Albania still has no organized mountain rescue service.
In Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia Save&Rescue services, stations or personal can be informed via the standardized all-emergencies telephone number 112 - also standard on GSM mobile phones (other alternatives include police, fire or medical emergency services).stan
For more information, local volunteers and professionals, rescuers and telephone numbers see official pages of national mountain rescuse services:
Croatian Mountain Rescue Service - Hrvatska gorska služba spašavanja (HGSS) (All Emergencies Telephone 112; Police 92; Rescue, Fire 93 and Medical 94; Road help 987; Country code +385)
Stations in/close to Dinarics: Rijeka, Split, Sibenik, Zagreb, Ogulin, Delnice, Karlovac, Pula, Gospic, Samobor, Zadar, Makarska, Dubrovnik (Mountain rescue service in Croatia is free of charge)
Albania has no organized mountain rescue services (Police 129; Rescue, Fire 18 and Medical 127; Road police 126; Country code +355).
Mountain Speleo Rescue Service of Italy - CNSAS Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (Activation of mountain rescue team 118; Telephone Directory Assistance Number 12; Carabinieri 112; Emergency Police Help Number (also ambulance and fire) 113; Fire Department 115; A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club) road assistance 116; Medical - 118; country code +39). No costs for Italians and foreigners. National Health Service covers the costs; some regional health authorities require payment if no medical emergency.
Kosovo / Kosova (All emergencies 911; Country code +381)
Excellent Bosnian-Herzegovian site in English and in south-Slavic languages. At first with main goal to present the highest Bosnian-Herzegovian summits, today submissions to this web site cover much wider areas, from Dinaric Alps, Balkan mountains to other world mountains, oceans away.
Avijacija bez granica (Airforce without limits)
A site with lots of detailed Topo maps of Dinaric Alps areas (Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and parts of Albania and Bosnia&Herzegovina).
The Dinaric Arc Ecoregion (DAE) Project
The Dinaric Arc Ecoregion (DAE) Project is a part of the WWF's Protected Areas for a Living Planet Programme (PA4LP) , which is helping Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania to fulfil their obligations under the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas.
Dinaric Arc Initiative
The Dinaric Arc Initiative (DAI) is a broad framework of collaboration that brings together partners that are concerned with the future of the Dinaric Arc, and active in the region with a varied portfolio of projects and initiatives aimed at securing the long-term conservation and sustainable development of this part of Europe.
Specific activities in the framework aim to preserve the wealth and integrity of the Dinaric Arc natural and cultural heritage; promote intercultural dialogue, trans-boundary collaboration and scientific co-operation in the region; empower local societies to foster local community development through rural development measures; and integrate environmental policies across all the relevant sectoral initiatives.
Partners: WWF, UNESCO-BRESCE, IUCN, UNDP, UNEP, Council of Europe, FAO, Euronatur, SNV