Tatra mountain guide, Tomasz Świst, Tatras

TATRY - Intro

Welcome to Tatras - the smallest high mountains of Europe.
The rocky world of Carpathian arch's highest part rises as remarkable above Podhale highland in the North as slopes down towards sunny lands of Spis, Liptov and Orava in the South, on the historical frontier of Poland and Slovakia blotting out surrounding, idyllic landscape of forest mountains and valleys with wild welter of soaring peaks and spires...
Tatras are definetely unique mountains - a marvellous high mountain land of extreme diversity of alpine nature and landscape beauties gathered in such huge amount on so small area which one won't find in that range anywhere in vast geographical space between Caucasus and Alps.
To begin with basic facts and data, Tatras compared to high mountains of the world or even Europe may be considered as
rather miniature mountain chain in terms of area and elevation. Tatra mountains occupy the area of ca.785 km2
(78 500ha), 175 km² (less than 25%) of which is located in Poland and about 610 km² (76%) in Slovakia.
From academic and practical point of view based on geologic origin the mountains can be divided into three parts:
High Tatras, Western Tatras and White Tatras.

A bit of topography

Tatra mountains range from West to East, from Hutianske sedlo pass over Slovak villages of Zuberec and Huty to Zdiarske sedlo pass over Zdiar village. The length of Tatras measured in straight line, the distance between Hutianske sedlo pass and Kobyli vrch's eastern slopes is ca. 55 kilometres(over 34 miles). The largest breadth of the massif measured directly from North to South is 18,5 kilometres(11 miles) and one finds that between Capowski Las/forest area between Brzeziny and Palenica Panszczykowa/ on Polish side and Strbske Pleso mountain resort in Slovakia.
Tatras consist of one, main ridge line going sinuous line from Hutianske sedlo pass to Zdiarske sedlo pass and numerous lateral ridges branching off in all directions among which deep valleys indent themselves. There are over 20 major valleys that stretch from the foothills of Tatras till their main ridge line.
The main Tatra ridge line forms also European drainage divide in its middle part. The areas to the East and North to the mountain range are Baltic Sea drainage basin(Dunajec and Poprad rivers' basins), the rest of the area around Tatras is the drainage basin of Black Sea(Orava and Vah rivers' basin).
The highest mountain peaks of Gerlach(2654) or Lomnica(2632) however don't rise in the main Tatra ridge line, but in southern, lateral ridges. The highest culminations located in the main Tatra ridge are Zadny Gerlach(2630)(the second highest summit of Gerlach massif) and Ladovy Stit(2627).
The highest peaks of Tatras are:
1)Gerlach aka Gerlachovsky stit - 2654 m a.s.l.
2)Lomnica aka Lomnicky stit - 2632 m
3)Ladovy stit - 2627 m
4)Pysny stit - 2621 m
5)Vysoka - 2560 m
6)Kezmarsky stit - 2558 m
7)Koncista - 2538 m
8)Baranie Rohy - 2526 m
9)Vidly - 2522 m
10)Rysy - 2503 m
...11)Krivan - 2495 m
One estimates that there are over 60 mountain peaks "more or less independent and prominent" rising over the altitude of 2400 metres a.s.l.
Tatra mountains, for geological and practical reasons subdivide into 3 mountain groups:
Western Tatras, High Tatras and Belianske "White" Tatras

Something about geology

Tatras are geologically young mountains as they outcropped just in younger Tertiary around 15 millions years ago. The orogenesis processes have been taking place here since the upper Cretaceous till younger Tertiary.
The geological construction of Tatras is typical for the mountain ranges of Alpine orogeny. They consist of such tectonic structures as: the granitic "base" of High Tatras, slates, schists and gniess rocks of which the crystalic base of Western Tatras is composed of and all sedimentary rocks laying all over that base, folded and deposited uner marine and non-marine conditions (limestone, marlstone, dolomite, shale and sandstone).
The oldest metamorphic rocks have been formed 300 million years ago and the oldest sedimentary ones 200-220 million years ago.
The orogenesis which uplifted Tatra mountains have caused the mixture of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. High Tatras are built of igneous rocks - granites. Western Tatras in their major part are built of metamorphic rocks - gneisses and slates and igneous ones - granites and in some part of sedimentary rocks. White Tatras and Sivy vrch group are built of limestone.

Tatra flora

Tatra fauna


History and toponymy of "Tatras"

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