The Stara Planina ("Old Mountain") or Balkan mountain range is an extension of the Carpathian mountain range, separated from it by the Danube River. This range runs 560km from eastern Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea. Sometimes included in term Balkan, but not Stara Planina, are the Rila and Pirin ranges in South-Western Bulgaria.
The highest peak on the Balkan peninsula is Musala in the Rila mountains near Sofija (Rila range) with 2,925 m, closely followed by Mount Olympus in Greece and Vihren (Pirin range).
The highest peaks of the Stara Planina itself are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev (2,376m), located in the Central Balkan National Park (established 1991). Dairy products, such as Kashkaval are produced here, as well as wine, plum and grape brandy known as Rakia. Close to it is Kalofer, the birth place of Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian poet and national hero who died in the Western Stara Planina near Vratsa in 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Also close to Botev peak is the Shipka ("rosehip") Pass, the scene of the four battles in Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78 which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans. Close to the pass in the village of Shipka there is a Russian Orthodox church, built to commemorate Bulgarian bravery during pass defence.
Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna. The most beautiful Bulgarian mountain flower Edelweiss grows there on peak Koziata stena.
There are many roads crossing Stara Planina (listed from west to east):
Petrokhan: Sofia - Montana
Iskarsko defile (Iskar gorge): Sofia - Vratsa
Hemus highway, Vitinya: Sofia - Varna
Beklemeto: Troyan - Karnare
Shipka: Gabrovo - Kazanlak
Prokhod na republicata (Pass of the Republic): Veliko Tarnovo - Gurkovo
Kotelski prokhod (Kotel pass): Kotel - Petolachka crossroad
Varbishki prokhod (Varbitsa pass): Shumen - Petolachka crossroad
Rizhki prokhod (Rish pass): Karnobat - Madara
Dyulinski prokhod (Dyulino pass): Varna - Aitos
Obzorski prokhod (Obzor pass): Varna - Burgas
TRIUMPH Village is located nearest to the "Obzor pass" of the Stara Planina Mountain. This is a wooded area of the mountain and is considered very favourable for those suffering from lung ailments