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Rila mountain Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 November 2007
Rila is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and on the whole Balkan Peninsula. It occupies the prestigious 6th place in the European “classification”, preceded by: Caucasus (Mt. Elbrus - 5642 m), the Alps (Mt. Mont Blanc - 4807 m), Sierra Nevada (Mt. Mulasen - 3482 m), the Pyrenees (Mt. Aneto - 3404 m) and the Etna volcano (3340 m). It is a central mountain for the peninsula and it is a main orographic and hydrographic junction. It is a composite part of the Rila - Rhodope Massif and occupies its north-western end.

The oldest name of the mountain is Dounkas, given to it by the Thracians. It means a place with a lot of water. Thracian is its other name Roula, which was altered by the Slav to Rila. It is also related to the water abundance of the mountain (it means “water mountain”).

The key constructive element in the mountain is granite. There are also marble, crystalline schists and others here. The twofold glaciating of Rila played an important part in the formation of its relief. The multitude of cirques, the well outlined trog (glacial) valleys, the Alpine peaks and the glacial lakes are evidence for this.

The climate of Rila is determined by its geographical situation, on the border between the continental and the transitional Mediterranean climate and the microclimate - by the altitude zones and by the soil and vegetation cover. The lowest average monthly temperature was recorded during the month of February on the mount of Moussala - 11.6°С below zero. The absolute minimal temperature so far in Bulgaria was measured in the same place - 31.2°С below zero (during February). During the month of August the average temperature of the mount is 5.4°С and the absolute maximal temperature measured on Moussala is 18.7°С.

The winds in Rila blow predominantly from the west and the south-west. There are rarely north-western and north-eastern winds and they are more moderate, and the northern, southern and south-eastern winds do not play an essential role. The quantity of precipitation is significant, about 1200 mm fall on Moussala per year, about 80 per cent of them being snow. The snow cover on the parts of average altitude and the Alpine parts of the mountain often exceeds 2 metres. All these enumerated climatic factors create prerequisites, mostly in the Alpine parts of the mountain, for avalanches.