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Pirin Mountain Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 November 2007
Pirin is the most beautiful and most Alpine type of mountain in Bulgaria. It is the second highest after the Rila mountain (in Bulgaria) and third in the Balkan peninsula (after Olympus of Greece – Mt. Mitika, 2917 metres). Pirin is situated in the south-western part of the country and has covered the south-western corner of the Rila-Rhodope mountain massif. It is rather extended in shape to the north-west and south-east and is flanked by the rivers Struma and Mesta.

The mountain has had different names through the centuries. From the Thracian Orbelus (Orbel), meaning “snowy mountain”, through the old Slavic Judenitsa (meaning the fairies, which in the minds of the common people populated the mountains). Then came the later Slavia name Perun, connected with God Perun, who - according to the Slavic mythology - was supposed to have resided on Mt. Vihren and to have send fire in the form of lightning and thunder. The Turkish name it acquired later, Beride, means “spread out”. According to the latest research, the name Pirin comes from the Haetic  “perunash” - meaning “the rock” and the Thracian Perintus or Pirintos.

The mountain is formed predominantly from two types of rocks - granite and marble - which have so “interwoven” at some locations that the borders between them divide peaks, cirques and even lakes. Due to the prolonged freezing period of the quarterner, Pirin has acquired an Alpine relief - rocky peaks and cliffs, deep cirques, well shaped glacier valleys and numerous lakes.

Pirin has the typical climate of a mountain but with a well-expressed Mediterranean influence, mainly through the valleys of the Struma and Mesta rivers. This is why Pirin is the mountain with the greatest number of sunny days throughout the year in comparison to Rila, Stara Planina, Vitosha and Osogovo. The average annual temperature in the area of the Vihren Chalet (at an altitude of about 2000 metres above sea level) is 3.7°C, the average temperature in January is 4.2°C below zero while in August it reaches 12.8°C. Precipitation (predominantly snowfalls) is higher in November and December and least in August. The average rain and snowfall at Mt. Vihren is within 1500 to 1600 millimetres per square meter annually. It is cloudy mostly in May and December. The dominating winds in winter are those from the north-west and during the summer - from the south-western direction.