The Beskids (Polish: Beskidy, Czech: Beskydy, Slovak: Beskydy, Rusyn: Бескиды (Beskidy), Ukrainian: Бескиди (Beskydy)) is a name for a series of mountain ranges of Europe, stretching from the Czech Republic in the west through Slovakia and Poland to Ukraine in the east.
The Beskids are approximately 600 km in length and 50–70 km in width. They stand mainly along the southern border of Poland, and in the neighboring eastern Czech Republic, neighboring regions in northern Slovakia, and in western Ukraine.
Multiple traditions, languages and nationalities have developed overlapping variants for the divisions and names of these ranges. Geologically all of the Beskids stand within the Outer Western Carpathians and the Outer Eastern Carpathians.
In the west they begin in Moravia (eastern Czech Republic) at the natural pass of the Moravian Gate, continue east in a band to the north of the Tatra Mountains, and end in Ukraine. The eastern termination of the Beskids is disputed. According to older sources, the Beskids end at the source of the Tisza River, while newer sources state that the Beskids end at the Ushok Pass at the Polish-Ukrainian border.
In the divisions of the Carpathians, the ranges of the Beskids are categorized within:
- Outer Western Carpathians
- Outer Eastern Carpathians
The origin of the mountain's name remains a mystery. A Thracian or Illyrian origin has been suggested, however, as yet, no theory has majority support among linguists. The true etymology of the name "Besczad or Beskids" is unknown. It may by related to Middle Low German beshêt, beskēt, meaning watershed. The Beskids are currently rich in forest and coal. In the past they were rich in iron ore, with important plants in Ostrava and Třinec - Třinec Iron and Steel Works.
There are many tourist attractions, including historic wooden churches (see Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland, Carpathian Wooden Churches of Slovakia, and Wooden Churches of Ukraine) and the increasingly popular skiing resorts. A number of environmental groups support a small but growing population of bears, wolves and lynx in the ecosystem of the Beskidy mountains.
- Zbigniew Gołąb. The Origins of the Slavs: A Linguist's View. Slavica Publishers, Inc., 1992 p. 342. "The Germanic etymology of Bieszczad // Beskid was proposed by prof. Jan Michał Rozwadowski (1914:162, etc). He derives the variant beščad from Germc. biskaid, wchich is represented by MLG besche (beskêt) Trennung and by Scandinavian bêsked, borrowed from [...]"
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