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Balkans Physical Geography Report

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Updated: Apr 19th, 2022


The Balkans refers to a region lying in southeastern Europe and is located at a main intersection between mainland Europe and the Near East.

The outstanding uniqueness and division of the Balkans is as a result of its widespread and time and again aggressive times gone by and as well due to its especially rugged topography (Kaplan, 2005, p. 5). The area amounts to 550,000 square kilometers with its demographics being between 50 and 60 million persons.

The reference Balkans is taken from the Balkan Mountains that are situated in Bulgaria and to a degree in Serbia. Balkan is derived from Turkish and means a sequence of forested mountains. The very old Thracian reference for the dry land was the Peninsula of Haemus. This name was derived from that of the Balkan Mountains which was being referred to as the Haemus Mountains during that time.

The Balkan Peninsula

The Balkan Peninsula, surrounded by seas; the Mediterranean, the Adriatic and the Aegean, is found south east of Europe. To the west is the Adriatic Sea, to the south is the Mediterranean Sea which as well takes in the Ionian and Aegean seas, and to the east is the Black Sea.

The region’s northern border is in most times given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa rivers (Kaplan, 2005, p. 22). The nations that are situated on this peninsula include; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bugaria, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia.

The Balkans

The reference Balkans takes in not just the nations that lie in the borders of the Balkan Peninsula, but may also entail Slovenia and Romania. Slovenia was a component of Yugoslavia between 1919 and 1991and is to some extent situated south of the Danube-Sava border, and consequently there is a portion of it in the Balkans. Before 1991 the entire Yugoslavia was assumed to be part of the Balkans.

In the majority of the English-speaking countries, the nations normally incorporated in the Balkan area are; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania and Turkey. Until the Second World War, Italy consisted of Istria and a number of Dalmatian regions such as Zara.

However, at present it has just the small region of the Province of Trieste within the Balkan area (Kaplan, 2005, p. 41). On the other hand, Trieste and Istria are normally taken to be not a component of the Balkans by mainly geographers from Italy. This is majorly as a result of a classification of the Balkans that bounds its western boundary to the Kupa River.

Nature and natural resources of this region

The majority of the region is mainly mountainous, with the mountain ranges stretching from the northwest to southeast. The foremost chains of mountains are the Dinaric Alps. These run through Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. Then there is the Sar formation which runs from Albania to Macedonia. The other notable ranges are the Pindus which run from the south of Albania to central Greece.

The Balkan mountain ranges are in Bulgaria and span from east to the west. The Rhodope Mountains are also in the same country and are situated at the boundary with Greece. The uppermost mountain in the Balkan region is Mount Rila situated in Bulgaria.

Mount Olympus is the second highest and stands at 2919 m in Greece. The third highest mountain is Mount Vihren in Bulgaria and stands at 2914 m. Another familiar element in the Balkan region is the Karst Field.

The climate in this region varies with specific areas. Along the Adriatic and Aegean shorelines the typical weather is Mediterranean.

On the Black Sea shoreline is normally humid subtropical and oceanic, whereas the interior is temperate continental. In the northern area and on the mountains the winters are usually chilly and hoary, whilst summer periods are scorching and dry (Kaplan, 2005, p. 54). In the southern area winter periods are more modest.

For the duration of the centuries many forests have been cleared and substituted with shrub. In the southern part of this region there exists evergreen flora. In the interior there are forests archetypal of Central Europe. The trees common on the lowlands are oak and beech while the mountains have spruce, fir and pine mainly.

The tree belts in the mountains stand at 1800 to 2300 meters. The countryside offers habitations for loads of widespread species, as well as extremely plentiful creepy-crawlies and reptiles that serve as foodstuff for a multiplicity of birds of prey and atypical vultures.

The earth is by and large poor, with the exception of the plains where are as with normal meadow, rich soils and temperate summer periods offer a chance for cultivation. In other places, earth tillage is majorly ineffective due to the mountains, scorching summer periods and poor soils; even though some cultures like olives and grapes do well.

Energy resources are in short supply, with the exception of the area of Kosovo. In this area there exists substantial coal, lead, zinc, chromium and silver deposits. Coal as well exists in areas of Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia. The mineral that is prevalent in Greece is lignite. Petroleum is mainly existent in Romania. It as well exists in short supply in Greece, Serbia and Albania.

The Balkan region mainly uses hydropower which is generated from over 1000 dams that have been constructed over time. With technological advancement and the quest for green energy wind is increasingly being exploited for power production.

Immediate history and status quo

From around the year 2000, the whole of the Balkans were cordial with regard to the E.U. and the U.S.A. Greece joined the E.U. in the year 1981, and she has been a member of the NATO as from 1952. It also enjoys membership in the Western European Union (WEU) and also in the Eurozone. Slovenia and Cyprus united with other European Union associates in 2004 while Bulgaria and Romania became constituents in 2007.

Turkey has for long wanted to join the union but it has taken them quite some time, with analysts saying that the earliest they could join the body is 2015 (Kaplan, 2005, p. 67). This is as a result of the huge economic and societal restructuring it has to accomplish. Croatia and Macedonia linked up with the union in 2005, with the rest of the Balkan nations putting across their wish to join the European Union with time.

In 2007 Croatia became a non-lasting affiliate of the United Nations Security Council. The nation has from then linked up with NATO, along with Albania. Earlier on, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia had linked up with NATO.

Another noteworthy occurrence in 2006 was the Montenegro parting form the state of Serbia and Montenegro. This made Serbia a distinguished state. There were doubts that this severance would end up in regional shakiness, however this has not come to happen.

Reference List

Kaplan, R. (2005). Balkan ghosts: A journey through history. Macmillan Press. p. 5 – 67.

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