The peninsula is very mountainous the main ranges are the Dinaric Alps, the Balkans, the Rhodope Mts., and the Pindus. Except for the barren Karst plateau in the northwest and the eroded highlands of Greece, the mountains are densely forested. The Morava, Vardar, Strimón, Mesta, and Maritsa are the largest rivers. The Morava and Vardar river valleys form the chief corridor across the peninsula. The mild Mediterranean-type climate, with its dry summer period, is limited to the southern and coastal areas. Covering a greater area are the humid subtropical climate in the northwest and the harsher humid continental climate in the northeast. The region as a whole is largely agricultural fruits, grains, and grazing are important. A variety of mineral deposits are found there, including iron ore, coal, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc.
The peoples of the Balkan Peninsula make up several racial groups. However, linguistic and religious differences are more distinct than the racial divisions. The peninsula, at the crossroads of European and Asian civilizations, has a long history Ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire flourished there.
See R. D. Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts (1994) M. Tedorov, Imagining the Balkans (1997) M. Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History (2000).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Balkans Physical Geography
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-