(Czech, Pol., and Ukr. Karpaty
major mountain system of central and E Europe, extending
c.930 mi (1,500 KM) Along the north and east sides of the
Danubian plain. The geologically young mountains, which are part of
the main European hain, link the Alps with the Balkans. The
Carpathians begin in SW Slovakia and extend northeasterly along the
Czech-Slovak border to Poland. There the Northern Carpathians, comprising
, run east along the Polish border,
then SE through W Ukraine; in Romania they are continued by the
(or Southern Carpathians),
which extend SW to the Danube River. The highest peaks
are Gerlachovský (8,737 ft/2,663 m) in the Tatra and Moldoveanu in the
Transylvanian Alps. The Carpathians are rich in minerals and timber.
The region's cold winters and hot summers make it a year-round resort.
Although the Carpathians are a barrier to the southward movement of
cold air masses, numerous low passes facilitate overland travel between
the densely populated areas that flank the system. The Carpathians
themselves are sparsely populated, with the greatest number of people
found in the larger agricultural valleys to the south.