Šar Mountains

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Coordinates: 42°00′00″N 20°44′00″E / 42°N 20.7333°E / 42; 20.7333

Šar Mountains
Sharr Mountains
Šar Mountains, view from the Republic of Macedonia.jpg
Šar Mountains as seen from Macedonia
Highest point
Peak Titov Vrv (Macedonia)
Elevation 2,748 m (9,016 ft)
Location Macedonia-Polog Valley
Albania-Dibër County

The Šar Mountains (Macedonian and Serbian: Шар планина/Šar planina) or Sharr Mountains (Albanian: Malet e Sharrit), form a mountain range in the Balkans that extends from Kosovo[a] and the northwest of the Republic of Macedonia, to northeastern Albania.


In Antiquity, the mountains were known as Scardus, Scodrus, or Scordus (το Σκάρδον ὂρος in Polybius and Ptolemy).[1]

Sometimes the range is called Carska planina ("Tsar's mountain"), as a reference to the capitals (Prizren and Skopje), courts (Nerodimlje, Pauni, Svrčin, etc.) and monasteries (Monastery of the Holy Archangels) of the Serbian Empire located in the region.[2]


The mountain borders extend from the city of Prizren, following the two rivers of the Prizren Lumbardhi and the Lepenac. In the east it passes by the town of Kaçanik through the Kačanik Gorge and into Macedonia via the Polog valley. The border passes near the Vardar spring called Vrutok and enters near the valley of Mavrovo. There the Radika river separates the mountain massif from the higher Mount Korab. After that, the border is mounting, reaching the point of junction of three state borders: Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania. The border now follows the road to the small, mountainous, town of Restelica, the rivers of Globocica, Plava and the White Drin and finally reaches the city of Prizren.

Geographical characteristics[edit]

Šar Mountains
Šar Mountains in Macedonia.
Bogovinje Lake overview
Bogovinje Lake
Šar Mountains peak Kobilica
Wild horses at Šar Mountains

The Šar Mountains have a total area of 1600 km. 56,25% of that area is in the Republic of Macedonia, 43.12% in Kosovo, and 0,63% in Albania.[3][better source needed] There are three plains Sirinic, Vraca and Rudoka.[4] The system is about 80 km (50 mi) long and 10–20 km (6–12 mi) wide.

The mountain massif was formed in the Tertiary Period. The peaks are covered with ice and snow.

It includes several high peaks:

The Šar Mountains extend to Mount Korab (2,764 m or 9,068 ft) in the southwest, and pass into northeastern Albania with very small part (0.63% of the entire length).

Vegetation on the mountains includes crops up to around 1,000 m (3,281 ft), forests up to 1,700 m (5,577 ft), and above that lie high pastures which encompass around 550 km2 (212 sq mi). The Šar Mountains are the largest compact area covered with pastures on the European continent. The dog breed Šarplaninac comes from this area.

The snowy peaks of the Šar Mountains are depicted on the coat of arms of the city of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city's flag.[6]

Šar Mountains in Kosovo[edit]

Šar Mountains
Šarplaninac, a dog breed of the livestock guardian type named after the Šar Mountains

The Šar Mountains are located in the south and south-east of Kosovo, where 43.12% of the range is located. Many alpine and glacial mountain lakes are found on the Kosovar part of the Šar Mountains, especially south of the village of Dragaš, the area of Shutman and the region north of Vraca. The ski resort of Brezovica, with an elevation of 900 m (2,953 ft) to 2,524 m (8,281 ft) above sea level, is located north-east of the mountains.

The mountain range in Kosovo is divided into three main zones:The zone of Ljuboten and Brezovica, the central zone of Prizren and the zone of Opoja and Gora.

The mountains border the Kosovo Plain to the north-east and the Dukagjini Valley in the northwest. Kosovo consists of the most eastern tip and the most northern part of the mountain ridge.

The Ljuboten peak and the mountain of Skopska Crna Gora create the Kačanik Gorge in Kosovo. The Šar Mountains are split from the Nerodimka Mountain by the Sirinić Valley. The Šar National Park is located in Kosovo. Villages and towns that are found near the mountain are:

Lakes in the Kosovo part of the Šar Mountains are:

National Park[edit]

Šar Mountains National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Ljuboten peak, Šar Mountains, view from the Uroševac.jpg
Šar Mountains National Park landscape.
Area 390 km2 (150 sq mi)
Established 1986

The Šar Mountains National Park is in the territory of Kosovo and covers 390 km2 (151 sq mi), on the northern slopes of the Šar Mountains as well as the mountains of Ošljak and Jezerce. The National Park "Šar-Planina Mt." was proclaimed in 1993 within the temporary boundaries of 228.05 km2 (88.05 sq mi),[7][8] and opened in 1995.[9] The final boundaries of the Park are expected to enclose an area of around 970 km2 (370 sq mi).

The park occupies the northwest sections of the mountain's main massif, including the highest peak, Bistra, an spreads over the sections of Prevalac, Ošljak, Ostrovica and Kodža Balkan. The park encompasses several different types of topographic relief: glacial (cirques,moraines and glacial lakes), periglacial (snow cirques, sliding blocks, "tundra mosaic" type of micro-shapes in the deposits of silt), karstic and fluvial. There are numerous rivers, springs, creeks, bogs and lakes.[8]

The park includes the endemic relict Macedonian Pine[8] and white-bark pine,[8] as well as the mugo pine[8] and Alpine rose. Other perennial plants include Kings Alexander yarrow (Achillea alexandri-regis), Nikolić's silene (Heliosperma nikolicii), Bornmuellera dieckii and Šar carnation (Dianthus scardicus Wettst.).[8]

As for wildlife, this is a habitat of the lynx, bear, chamois, wolf, roe deer, wild boar and other species including many bird species. The national park contains 720 chamois while the Opoja and Gora region contains 600 chamois. The National Park is administrated by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (MESP) of Kosovo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ Sir William Smith (1872). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: Isabadius-Zymethus. 1857. John Murray. p. 928. 
  2. ^ Veselinović, Andrija; Radoš Ljušić (2001). Srpske dinastije (in Serbian). Novi Sad. ISBN 86-83639-01-0. 
  3. ^ Rista Nikolić (1912). Glacijacija Šar Planine i Koraba (in Serbian). Beograd. 
  4. ^ Živko Stefanovski. Šar Planina (in Macedonian). Tetovo: Napredok. 
  5. ^ "National Park Šar-Mountain". brezovica-ski.com. 
  6. ^ Official portal of the city of Skopje: City symbols. – Retrieved on 13 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Zakon o nacionalnim parkovima (National parks law)" (in Serbian). 5 October 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Aleksandra Mijalković (18 June 2017), "O očuvanju naše prirodne baštine: najbolja zaštita u naconalnim parkovima", Politika-Magazin (in Serbian), pp. 3–6 
  9. ^ Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning(in Albanian)

External links[edit]

Media related to Šar Mountain at Wikimedia Commons