Little Carpathians near Plavecké Podhradie
|Elevation||768 m (2,520 ft)|
geomorphological division of Slovakia
|Countries||Slovakia and Austria|
|Parent range||Western Carpathians|
The Little Carpathians (also: Lesser Carpathians, Slovak: Malé Karpaty; German: Kleine Karpaten; Hungarian: Kis-Kárpátok) are a low, about 100 km long, mountain range, part of the Carpathian Mountains. The mountains are situated in Western Slovakia, covering the area from Bratislava to Nové Mesto nad Váhom, and northeastern Austria, where a very small part called Hundsheimer Berge (or Hainburger Berge) is located south of the Devín Gate. The Little Carpathians are bordered by Záhorie Lowland in the west and the Danubian Lowland in the east.
In 1976, the Little Carpathians were declared a protected area under the name Little Carpathians Protected Landscape Area, covering 646.1 km². The area is rich in flora and fauna diversity and contains numerous castles, most notably the Bratislava Castle and caves, Driny being the only one open to the public. The three highest mountains are Záruby at 768 m (2,519.7 ft), Vysoká at 754 m (2,473.8 ft) and Vápenná at 752 m (2,467.2 ft).
Geomorphologically, the Little Carpathians belong into the Alps-Himalaya System, the Carpathian Mountains sub-system, its province Western Carpathians and its subprovince the Inner Western Carpathians.
Little Carpathians are further divided into four parts (from south to north):
- Devín Carpathians (Slovak: Devínske Karpaty) - in Bratislava
- Pezinok Carpathians (Slovak: Pezinské Karpaty) - from Bratislava to Buková
- Brezová Carpathians (Slovak: Brezovské Karpaty) - from Buková to Prašník
- Čachtice Carpathians (Slovak: Čachtické Karpaty) - from Prašník to Nové Mesto nad Váhom
The mountains are densely forested (90% being broad-leaved trees), the southeastern part contains extensive vineyards (e.g. Bratislava, Rača, Pezinok, Modra). Several castles or castle ruins are situated in the Little Carpathians, for example Devín Castle, Čachtice Castle, Červený Kameň Castle, and Smolenice Castle.
Geologically, the mountain range is part of the Tatra-Fatra Belt of core mountains There is together eight karst areas in the Little Carpathians: Devín Carpathians karst, Borinka (Pajštún) karst, Cajlan karst, Kuchyňa-orešany karst, Plavecký karst, Smolenice karst, Dobrovodský karst and Čachtice karst. The most important karst forms include caves Deravá, Tmavá skala, Driny, Čachtická cave and caves along the Borinský potok. Driny, a limestone cave, is the only cave open to public. Major streams include Vydrica and Suchý jarok.
A small mountain range called Hundsheimer Berge (sometimes also Hainburger Berge) is located in Austria next to the Lamač Gate, part of the Devín Carpathians. The mountain range covers approximately 36 kilometers squared and it is bordered by the river Danube to the north and east, Vienna plate to the south and west. Its highest peak is Hundsheimer Berg (481 meters AMSL). While fairy low, Hundsheimer Berge rise from only 140 meters above sea level by the Danube.
The mountains are densely forested, mostly with beech trees. The southern slopes are traditionally used by humans for agriculture and particularly wine-making. There are many vineyards in the area and south of Edelstal, there are wine cellars offering wine-tasting. The mountains feature the ruins of Pottenburg Castle.
- Hundsheimer Berg (481 meters AMSL)
- Pfaffenberg (331 meters AMSL)
- Weisses Kreuz (363 meters AMSL)
- Teichberg (321 meters AMSL)
- Königswarte (344 meters AMSL)
- Braunsberg (346 meters AMSL)
- Spitzerberg (302 meters AMSL)
- Hindlerberg (298 meters AMSL)
- Galgenbergl (157 meters AMSL)
|Image||Slovak name||Height||Location & Notes|
|Záruby||767.4 meters AMSL
||Above the village Smolenice|
|Vysoká||754.3 meters AMSL
||Outside of the main ridge of the Little Carpathians, above the village Kuchyňa, summit offers extensive views|
|Vápenná (Roštún)||752.2 meters AMSL
||Features a 4 meters tall concrete observation obelisk built in 2003|
|Čertov kopec (vrch)||751.8 meters AMSL
||Forested summit with no marked trails leading here|
|Veterlín||723.5 meters AMSL
|Havranica||717.1 meters AMSL
|Čelo||716.0 meters AMSL
||Forested summit with no marked trails leading here|
|Veľká homoľa||709.2 meters AMSL
||Since 2001, it features a 20 meters tall observation tower on the summit|
|Čmeľok||709.0 meters AMSL
||Features a military radar on the summit|
|Skalnatá||704.2 meters AMSL
||Offers extensive views|
While being a low mountain range, the Little Carpathians were always considered a mountain barrier due to being surrounded by various lowlands, often attaining a prominence of 500 meters. In the past, various types of ore were mined in the Little Carpathians used for the production of gold, silver, antimony, manganese and pyrite.
The Little Carpathians are a popular tourist destination in the Western Slovakia and the mountains are used for hiking, cycling, tramping, backpacking, automobile and motorcycle tourism, skiing, cross-country skiing and other winter sports. The mountain range contains a dense network of trails and the recreational infrastructure is relatively well developed, especially in the south. The Little Carpathians are popular as a destination place for the inhabitants of Bratislava and other larger cities in the region. Since the Middle Ages, the area is known for its wines and wine-making traditions. Well known centers of local wine-making include Svätý Jur, Modra and Pezinok.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Little Carpathians.|
- "Hainburgské vrchy, Rakouské Karpaty (Hainburger Berge, Austrian Carpathians". Karpaty.net. Retrieved 11 August 2012.