View from above Morskie Oko
|Elevation||2,655 m (8,711 ft)|
|Countries||Slovakia and Poland|
The Tatra Mountains, Tatras or Tatra (Tatry either in Polish and in Slovak - plurale tantum, Tátra in Hungarian), are a mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras should be distinguished from another Slovak mountain range, the Low Tatras, Slovak: Nízke Tatry, located south of the Tatra mountains. Sometimes, Tatras is a term used for either or both ranges.
The Tatra mountains occupy an area of 785 km², of which about 610 km² (77.7%) lays within the Slovakian border and about 175 km² (22.3%) on the territory of Poland. The highest peak called Gerlach, at 2,655 m (8710 ft) is located north of Poprad. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m (8200 ft) is located south of Zakopane.
Tatras length, measured from the eastern foothills of the Kobyli Wierch (1109 m) to the south-western foot of Ostry Wierch Kwaczański (1128 m), in a straight line is 57 km (35 mi) (or 53 km (33 mi) according to some), and strictly along the main ridge, 80 km (50 mi). The range is only 19 km (12 mi) wide. Tatras main ridge leads from Huciańska Pass (905 m) in the west to Zdziarska Pass (1081 m) to the east.
The Tatras are a mountain range of a corrugated nature, originating from the Alpine orogeny, and therefore characterized by a relatively young-look lay of the land, quite similar to the landscape of the Alps, although significantly smaller. It is the highest mountain range within Carpathians. It consists of the internal mountain chains of:
- Western Tatras (Slovak: Západné Tatry, Polish: Tatry Zachodnie)
- Eastern Tatras (Východné Tatry, Tatry Wschodnie), which in turn consist of:
The overall nature of the Tatras, together with their easy accessibility, makes them a favorite with tourists and researchers. Therefore, these mountains are a popular winter sports area, with resorts such as Zakopane, called also "winter capital of Poland", Poprad and the town Vysoké Tatry (The Town of High Tatras) in Slovakia created in 1999, including former separate resorts: Štrbské Pleso, Starý Smokovec, and Tatranská Lomnica. The High Tatras, with their 24 (or 25) peaks exceeding 2,500 m above sea level, together with the Southern Carpathians, represent the only form of alpine landscape in the entire 1200 km length of arc of the Carpathians.
The Tatras lie in the temperate zone of Central Europe. They are an important barrier to the movements of air masses. Their mountainous topography causes one of the most diverse climates in that region.
The average wind speed on the summits is 6 m/s.
- southerly winds on the northern side
- westerly winds at the base of Tatra (Orawa-Nowy Targ Basin)
- foehn winds (Polish: halny) most often occur between October and May. They are warm and dry and can cause extensive damage.
- Maximum wind speed 288 km/h (6 May 1968).
On 19 November 2004, large parts of the forests in the southern Slovak part of the High Tatras were damaged by a strong wind storm. Three million cubic metres of trees were uprooted, two people died and several villages were totally cut off. Further damage was done by a subsequent forest fire, and it will take many years until the local ecology is fully recovered.
Temperatures range from −40 °C (−40 °F) in the winter to 33 °C (91 °F) in warmer months. Temperatures also vary depending on altitude and sun exposure of a given slope. Temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) last for 192 days on the summits.
Highest precipitation figures are recorded on the northern slopes. In June and July monthly precipitation reaches around 250 mm (10 in). Precipitation occurs from 215 to 228 days a year. Thunderstorms occur 36 days a year on average.
- Snow cover
Maximum thickness on the summit amounts to:
- in Poland - Kasprowy Wierch: 355 cm (140 in)
- in Slovakia - Lomnicky Stit: 410 cm (161 in)
Peaks are sometimes covered with snow or ice throughout the year. Avalanches are frequent.
The Mountains have a diverse variety of plant life. They are home to more than 1,000 species of vascular plants, about 450 mosses, 200 liverworts, 700 lichens, 900 fungi, and 70 slime moulds. There are five climatic-vegetation belts in the Tatras.
The distribution of plants depends on altitude:
- up to 1,300 m: Carpathian beech forest; almost no shrub layer, herb layer occupies most of the forest floor
- to 1,550 m: Spruce forest; shrub layer poorly developed, mosses are a major component
- to 1,800 m: Mountain Pine, numerous herbs
- to 2,300 m: high altitude grasslands
- from 2,300 m up: Subnivean - bare rock and almost no vegetation (mostly lichens)
- Eastern Tatras
- Gerlachovský štít - 2655 m (Slovakia)
- Lomnický štít - 2634 m (Slovakia)
- Ľadový štít - 2627 m (Slovakia)
- Pyšný štít - 2621 m (Slovakia)
- Zadný Gerlach - 2616 m (Slovakia)
- Lavínový štít - 2606 m (Slovakia)
- Ľadová kopa - 2602 m (Slovakia)
- Kotlový štít - 2601 m (Slovakia)
- Malý Pyšný štít - 2592 m (Slovakia)
- Kežmarský štít - 2558 m (Slovakia)
- Vysoká - 2547 m (Slovakia)
- Končistá - 2538 m (Slovakia)
- Baranie rohy - 2526 m (Slovakia)
- Dračí štít - 2523 m (Slovakia)
- Ťažký štít - 2520 m (Slovakia)
- Malý Kežmarský štít - 2513 m (Slovakia)
- Rysy - 2503 m, 2499 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Kriváň - 2495 m (Slovakia)
- Slavkovský štít - 2452 m (Slovakia)
- Batizovský štít - 2448 m (Slovakia)
- Veľký Mengusovský štít (Slovak); Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki (Polish) - 2438 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Malé Rysy (Slovak); Niżnie Rysy (Polish) - 2430 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Východný Mengusovský štít (Slovak); Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Czarny (Polish) - 2410 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Prostredný Mengusovský štít (Slovak); Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni (Polish) - 2393 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Čubrina (Slovak); Cubryna (Polish) - 2376 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Svinica (Slovak); Świnica (Polish) - 2301 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Kozi Wierch - 2291 m (Poland)
- Zamarła Turnia - 2179 m (Poland)
- Kościelec - 2155 m (Poland)
- Mnich - 2068 m (Poland)
- Western Tatras
- Bystrá - 2248 m (Slovakia)
- Jakubina - 2194 m (Slovakia)
- Baranec - 2184 m (Slovakia)
- Baníkov - 2178 m (Slovakia)
- Klin (Slovak); Starorobociański Wierch (Polish) - 2176 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Pachoľa - 2167 m (Slovakia)
- Hrubá kopa - 2166 m (Slovakia)
- Nižná Bystrá - 2163 m (Slovakia)
- Štrbavy - 2149 m (Slovakia)
- Jalovecký príslop - 2142 m (Slovakia)
- Hrubý vrch (Slovak); Jarząbczy Wierch (Polish) - 2137 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Tri kopy - 2136 m (Slovakia)
- Veľká Kamenistá (Slovak); Kamienista (Polish) - 2126 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Krzesanica - 2122 m (Slovakia/Poland) - summit of Czerwone Wierchy / Red Mountains
- Volovec (Slovak); Wołowiec (Polish) - 2064 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Kasprov vrch (Slovak); Kasprowy Wierch (Polish) - 1987 m (Slovakia/Poland)
- Giewont - 1894 m (Poland)
- Sivý vrch - 1809 m (Slovakia)
Orla Perć it is considered the most difficult and dangerous public path in the entire Tatras, a suitable destination only for experienced tourists and climbers. It lies exclusively within the Polish part of Tatras and was conceived in 1901 by Franciszek Nowicki, a Polish poet and mountain guide. More than one hundred individuals have lost their lives on the route since it was first established. The path is marked with red signs.
Human engagement 
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the mountains were used for sheep grazing and mining. Many trees were cut down to make way for humans. Although these activities were stopped, the impact is still visible. Moreover, pollution from the industrialized regions of Kraków, Ostrava and Orava, as well as casual tourism cause substantial damage. Polish volunteers began in 2012 an annual event to remove litter.
The Slovak Tatra National Park (Tatranský národný park; TANAP) was founded in 1949 (738 km²), and the contiguous Polish Tatra National Park (Tatrzański Park Narodowy) was founded in 1954 on an area of 215.56 km². Both areas were added to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve list in 1993.
In 2006, the Bollywood film Fanaa, portraying places in Kashmir, was filmed at Zakopane, mainly because of the risks associated with insurgency in Kashmir, as well due to some similarities in a mountain landscape.
Notable people 
- Jan Nepomucen Głowacki, considered the father of Polish school of landscape painting, was the first to devote an entire series of works to Tatra Mountains
- Daniel Speer, Baroque composer and writer
- Stanisław Staszic
- Ludwig Greiner identified Gerlachovský Peak as the summit of the Tatras and Carpathians
- Seweryn Goszczyński, Polish Romantic poet who escaped there from the Austrian invader
- Ludwik Zejszner
- Tytus Chałubiński, founder of the Polish Tatra Society
- Adam Asnyk, poet and dramatist, one of the first members of the Tatra Society
- Walery Eljasz-Radzikowski
- Stanisław Witkiewicz
- Władysław Zamoyski
- Oswald Balzer
- Jan Kasprowicz
- Franciszek Nowicki
- Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer
- Mariusz Zaruski
- Mieczysław Karłowicz
- Władysław Orkan
- Karol Szymanowski
- Mieczysław Szczuka
- Kornel Makuszyński
- Ruth Hale (alpinist)
- Władysław Hasior
- Jan Długosz (mountaineer)
- William Horwood's novel Wolves of Time largely takes place in the Tatra mountains
- Göran Wahlenberg
See also 
- Mark Trengove (July 2005). "Introduction to the Tatras". Mountains of the World. PeakList. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Marek Strzala (2012). "Tatra Mountains. Features. Weather. Wildlife". National parks. Krakow Info. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Maciek Krupa (2012). "The Tatra Mountains and Tatra National Park". Discover Zakopane. BAW Altius. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Igor J. Zaleski, Tomasz Mączka. "Wiatr halny (foehn wind)" (in pl). www.tpn.pl.
- "Kulczynski, 1882, Fauna Europaea: Xysticus alpicola". Fauna Europaea version 2.4, www.faunaeur.org.
- "Sprzątali Tatry. Zebrali tony śmieci". onet.pl (in Polish). July 1, 2012.
- "Official website of Polish Tatra National Park" (in pl). www.tpn.pl.
- "Ravenous filming locations". imdb.com.
- Lacika, Ján (2006). Tatras (2nd edition). Bratislava. ISBN ISBN 80-88975-95-6.
- Saunders, Colin; Nárožná, Renáta (2006). Walking in the High Tatras (2nd edition). Cicerone Press (Milnthorpe). ISBN ISBN 9781852844820.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tatra Mountains|
- Town of Vysoké Tatry – municipal website (available in: ENG, SLV)
- Zakopane – municipal website (available in: POL, ENG)
- TANAP – Slovak Tatra National Park (available in: SLV, ENG, POL)
- TPN – Polish Tatra National Park (available in POL only)
- Commercial tourism-oriented websites
- The High Tatras - Accommodation and Tourism (available in: SLV, CZE, POL, ENG, GER)
- Vysoké Tatry, Slovakia (available in: ENG, GER, SLV, POL)
- Tatry - The smallest mountains in the biggest detail. (available in: ENG, CZE)
- Page about Zakopane (available in: POL, ENG)
- Tatra auf Travelia.sk
- K2 Studio - photographs of the Tatras (available in: SLV, ENG)
- 360 - a spherical panoramic journey in 1583 pieces (available in: POL, ENG)