Little Carpathians

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Little Carpathians
Zaruby from plavecke podhradie.jpg
Little Carpathians near Plavecké Podhradie
Highest point
Peak Záruby
Elevation 768 m (2,520 ft)
Coordinates 48°31′25″N 17°23′33″E / 48.52361°N 17.39250°E / 48.52361; 17.39250
Malé Karpaty.png
Little Carpathians within the geomorphological division of Slovakia
Countries Slovakia and Austria
Range coordinates 48°25′N 17°15′E / 48.417°N 17.250°E / 48.417; 17.250Coordinates: 48°25′N 17°15′E / 48.417°N 17.250°E / 48.417; 17.250
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 (249.5 sq mi). 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 (2,520 ft), Vysoká at 754 m (2,474 ft) and Vápenná at 752 m (2,467 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), Pezinok Carpathians (Slovak: Pezinské Karpaty), Brezová Carpathians (Slovak: Brezovské Karpaty) and Čachtice Carpathians (Slovak: Čachtické Karpaty).

Geomorphological division of the Little Carpathians[1]
Mountain range Division Subdivision
Little Carpathians Devín Carpathians (Slovak: Devínske Karpaty) - in Bratislava Devínska Kobyla (Slovak: Devínska Kobyla)
Bratislava Foothills (Slovak: Bratislavské predhorie)
Lamač Gate (Slovak: Lamačská brána)
Devín Gate (Slovak: Devínska brána)
Pezinok Carpathians (Slovak: Pezinské Karpaty) - from Bratislava to Buková Homoľa Carpathians (Slovak: Homoľské Karpaty)
Kuchynská hornatina
Stupava Foothills (Slovak: Stupavské predhorie)
Biele hory
Smolenická vrchovina
Lošonská kotlina
Plavecké predhorie
Bukovská brázda
Brezová Carpathians (Slovak: Brezovské Karpaty) - from Buková to Prašník Dobrovodská kotlina
Čachtice Carpathians (Slovak: Čachtické Karpaty) - from Prašník to Nové Mesto nad Váhom Plešivec

The mountains are densely forested (90% being broad-leaved trees), the southeastern part contains extensive vineyards (e.g. 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 are several active faults which produced earthquakes in past. Of them most notable is Dobra Voda fault (1906 and 1930 produced 8.5° and 7.5° EMS-98 or equal to = 5.7 and 5.0).[2] This particular fault is also closely monitored because of its proximity to NPP Jaslovske Bohunice (approx. 15 km away).
There are together eight karst areas in the Little Carpathians: the 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. The Little Carpathians are seismically one of the most active regions in Slovakia and epicentres of earthquakes with approximate magnitude of 2.5 on Richter magnitude scale scale are located here.[3]

Highest peaks[edit]

Image Slovak name Height Location & Notes
Zaruby peak.jpg
Záruby 767.4 meters AMSL
Above the village Smolenice
Vysoka summit 01.jpg
Vysoká 754.3 meters AMSL
Outside of the main ridge of the Little Carpathians, above the village Kuchyňa, summit offers extensive views
Rostun 01.jpg
Vápenná (Roštún) 752.2 meters AMSL
Features a 4 meters tall concrete observation obelisk built in 2003
Čertov kopec.jpg
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, Malé Karpaty.jpg
Čelo 716.0 meters AMSL
Forested summit with no marked trails leading here
Vyhliadka na Veľkej Homoli.JPG
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


Abandoned pyrite mine near Pernek

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.

During Second World War, Little Carpathians were the birthplace of partisan group Janko Kráľ. Insurgency in the mountains lasted until the occupation by the Soviet Red Army in 1945.


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.

Main tourist centers include the Slovak capital Bratislava, Pezinská Baba (halfway between Pezinok and Pernek) and Zochova chata (near Modra).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mazúr, E., Lukniš, M. 1986, Geomorfologické členenie SSR a ČSSR. Časť Slovensko. Slovenská kartografia, Bratislava
  2. ^ Madarás J. et al., Mineralia Slovaca 4/2012
  3. ^ Moczo, P. (2011). Výsledky v seizmológii v r. 2009-2011 v SR. In Bratislava (Slovak Republic): Katedra astronómie, fyziky Zeme a meteorológie Fakulty fyziky, matematiky a informatiky Univerzity Komenského.: IX. Slovenská geofyzikálna konferencia. 22.6.2011

External links[edit]