Sněžka - the highest peak of Sudeten
|Elevation||1,602 m (5,256 ft)|
|Countries||Poland, Czech Republic and Germany|
The Sudetes // is the scientific name of a mountain range in Central Europe also known in English – from their local designation in, respectively, German and Czech/Polish – as the Sudeten or Sudety mountains.
The range stretches from eastern Germany along the northern border of the Czech Republic to south-western Poland. The highest peak is Sněžka (Polish: Śnieżka, German: Schneekoppe) in the Krkonoše (Polish: Karkonosze) mountains on the Czech-Polish border, which is 1,602 metres (5,256 ft) in altitude. The current geomorphological unit in the Czech part of the mountain range is Krkonošsko-jesenická subprovincie ("Krkonoše-Jeseníky").
The Krkonoše mountains have experienced growing tourism for winter sports during the past ten years. Their skiing resorts are becoming a budget alternative to the Alps.
The name Sudetes has been derived from Sudeti montes, a Latinization of the name Soudeta ore used in the Geographia by Ptolemy (Book 2, Chapter 10) ca. 150 for the present-day northern Czech mountains. Ptolemy said that they were above the Gabreta Forest, which places them in the Sudetenland. Ptolemy wrote in Greek, in which the name is a neuter plural. Latin mons, however, is a masculine, hence Sudeti. The Latin version is likely to be a scholastic innovation, as it is not attested in classical Latin literature.
The meaning of the name is not known. In one hypothetical derivation, it means Mountains of Wild Boars, relying on Indo-European *su-, "pig". A better etymology perhaps is from Latin sudis, plural sudes, "spines", which can be used of spiny fish or spiny terrain.
The Sudetes are usually divided into:
- Eastern Sudetes
- Central Sudetes
- Western Sudetes
High Sudetes 
The exact location of the Sudetes has varied over the centuries. The ancient Sudeti meant at least the northwest frontier of today's Czech Republic, probably extending to the north. By implication, it was part of the vast Hercynian Forest belt mentioned by several authors of the antiquity.
In the Middle Ages German colonists were invited by the Piast dukes of Silesia and the Přemyslid kings of Bohemia to settle in the previously Slavic areas for agricultural and urban development in the course of the Ostsiedlung ((German eastward expansion)).
Sudetes and "Sudetenland" 
After World War I the name came into use to describe areas of Czechoslovakia with large German populations. In 1918 the proclaimed rump state of German Austria comprised a Provinz Sudetenland in northern Moravia and Czech Silesia around the city of Opava. The term Sudetenland was used in a wider sense when on 1 October 1933 Konrad Henlein founded the Sudeten German Party and in Nazi German parlance Sudetendeutsche (Sudeten Germans) referred to all indigenous ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia. They were heavily clustered, not only in the former Moravian Provinz Sudetenland but also along the northwestern Bohemian borderlands with German Lower Silesia, Saxony and Bavaria, in an area formerly called German Bohemia. In total the German minority population of pre-WWII Czechoslovakia numbered around 20% of the total national population.
Adolf Hitler redefined the term to mean the entire mountainous periphery of Czechoslovakia, and under that pretext, got his future enemies to concede the Czech defensive border in the 1938 Munich Agreement, leaving the remainder of Czechoslovakia shorn of its border fortifications and buffer zone, occupied by Germany in March 1939. After being annexed by Nazi Germany, much of the region was redesignated as the Reichsgau of "Sudetenland". A considerable proportion of Czechoslovak/Czech populace thereafter strongly resisted use of the term Sudetes as it harks painfully to Nazi-German times. In the Czech Republic the designation is seldom used officially, as in maps etc. usually only in discrete Czech local names for the individual mountain ranges e.g. Karkonosze/Krkonoše appear, see Subdivisions above.
Notable towns 
Notable towns in this area include:
- Karpacz (Poland)
- Szklarska Poręba (Poland)
- Świeradów-Zdrój (Poland)
- Harrachov (Czech Republic)
- Špindlerův Mlýn (Czech Republic)
- Žacléř (Czech Republic)
- Vrchlabí (Czech Republic)
- Zittau (Germany)
See also 
- Mount Ślęża
- Główny Szlak Sudecki
- Kłodzko Fortress
- Srebrna Góra
- Niesytno Castle
- Vang stave church
- Grüssau Abbey
- Izera railway
- Tourism in Poland
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