Musala

Musala (Bulgarian: Мусала [mosɐˈɫa]); from Arabic through Ottoman Turkish: from Musalla, "near God" or "place for prayer" [1][2] is the highest peak in the Rila Mountains, as well as in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula (as well as of the former Soviet bloc outside of the USSR), standing at 2,925 metres (9,596 ft). With a topographic prominence of 2,473 metres (8,114 ft), Musala is also the 6th highest peak by topographic prominence in mainland Europe.[3] Musala is also the 3rd most topographically isolated major peak in Continental Europe.[4]

Musala
Мусала
Musala seen from the south
Highest point
Elevation2,925.4 m (9,598 ft)
Prominence2,473 m (8,114 ft)
Isolation881 km (547 mi) 
ListingCountry high point
Ultra
Coordinates42°10′47″N 23°35′12″E
Geography
Musala
Musala in Bulgaria
LocationSofia Region, Bulgaria
Parent rangeRila
Climbing
Easiest routeGondola lift from Borovets, then hike

Musala is situated within the Rila National Park, which is noted for its rich flora, including species such as Macedonian Pine and Bulgarian Fir in the forests on its middle slopes, and fauna; it is one of the easiest places in Europe to see the wallcreeper. All major mountain ranges of Bulgaria can be seen from the top; these include Vitosha to the northwest, Sredna Gora towards the northeast, the Balkan Mountains along most of the northern horizon behind Vitosha and Sredna Gora, the Rhodope Mountains to the southeast, Pirin to the south, Osogovo and Ruy Mountain to the west, and of course, the rest of Rila.

A cosmic ray station was built on the peak in 1960 with cooperation from the Hungarian Academy of Science. The station conducted scientific experiments using a muon telescope. The station was destroyed by an electrical fire on October 29, 1983.[5]

With an average annual temperature of -2.3 °C Musala is the coldest place in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula. Temperatures stay below 0 °C for about 8 months each year. Due to this about 45% of the annual precipitation on Musala is snow, and snow cover lasts for about 200 days (more than six months). Three of the main rivers of Bulgaria, the Iskar, Maritsa and Mesta have their sources near Musala.

The next highest peaks in the vicinity of Musala are Malka (Little) Musala (2,902 metres (9,521 ft)) and Irechek (2,852 metres (9,357 ft)).

Climate

Peak Musala has an alpine climate with cold, long winters and short, cool summers. Usually, through winter, the temperatures don't exceed the freezing point for months. Snow cover lasts for about 8–9 months. Through the summer, temperatures rarely go above 14-15C. The summer season only lasts for 2 months, and snowfalls are possible. For the period 1931-2013, the highest recorded temperature was 20.0 °C (68.0 °F), and the lowest - −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F). The average annual temperature is −2.5 °C (27.5 °F), which makes the peak the coldest place in Bulgaria.

Climate data for Musala Peak (2000-2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
8.0
(46.4)
12.1
(53.8)
13.7
(56.7)
12.6
(54.7)
18.0
(64.4)
20.0
(68.0)
18.7
(65.7)
16.4
(61.5)
14.2
(57.6)
9.6
(49.3)
6.8
(44.2)
20.0
(68.0)
Average high °C (°F) −8.2
(17.2)
−7.6
(18.3)
−5.6
(21.9)
−1.2
(29.8)
2.7
(36.9)
7.1
(44.8)
10.1
(50.2)
10.2
(50.4)
6.3
(43.3)
2.2
(36.0)
−1.8
(28.8)
−6.1
(21.0)
0.7
(33.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.0
(12.2)
−10.6
(12.9)
−8.6
(16.5)
−4.1
(24.6)
−0.1
(31.8)
4.4
(39.9)
6.9
(44.4)
7.2
(45.0)
3.4
(38.1)
−0.6
(30.9)
−4.4
(24.1)
−8.6
(16.5)
−2.1
(28.2)
Average low °C (°F) −13.8
(7.2)
−13.6
(7.5)
−11.6
(11.1)
−7.0
(19.4)
−3.1
(26.4)
1.6
(34.9)
3.7
(38.7)
4.2
(39.6)
0.5
(32.9)
−3.1
(26.4)
−6.9
(19.6)
−11.0
(12.2)
−4.9
(23.2)
Record low °C (°F) −30.6
(−23.1)
−29.8
(−21.6)
−26.8
(−16.2)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−15.6
(3.9)
−12
(10)
−8
(18)
−9.8
(14.4)
−14
(7)
−17.5
(0.5)
−27.4
(−17.3)
−31.2
(−24.2)
−31.2
(−24.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 126
(5.0)
110
(4.3)
130
(5.1)
128
(5.0)
119
(4.7)
105
(4.1)
80
(3.1)
56
(2.2)
47
(1.9)
72
(2.8)
88
(3.5)
115
(4.5)
1,176
(46.3)
Average rainy days 1 0 0 0 4 8 9 7 6 3 1 0 39
Average snowy days 13 14 17 18 14 5 2 1 4 8 13 15 124
Mean monthly sunshine hours 114 112 140 127 168 181 250 250 182 169 128 104 1,925
Source: Stringmeteo.com

Honour

Musala Glacier on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Musala Peak.

See also

  • Rila
  • Malyovitsa
  • Rila National Park
  • List of mountains in Bulgaria
  • Geography of Bulgaria
  • List of mountains of the Balkans
  • List of European ultra-prominent peaks
  • List of the highest European ultra-prominent peaks
  • Most isolated major summits of Europe
  • List of mountain ranges
  • List of World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria

References

  1. Известия на българското географско дружество, 1964 г. стр. 197.
  2. Bŭlgarski ezik, Volume 19,Institut za bŭlgarski ezik (Bŭlgarska akademii͡a na naukite), 1969, str. 573.
  3. "Europe Ultra-Prominences". Peaklist. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  4. Kavlakov, S. (2009-11-16). "Cosmic Ray investigations on peak Musala in Bulgaria: A memoir". Advances in Space Research. Cosmic Rays From Past to Present. 44 (10): 1178–1182. doi:10.1016/j.asr.2008.10.040.
  • "Мусала". Българска енциклопедия А-Я (in Bulgarian). БАН, Труд, Сирма. 2002. ISBN 978-954-8104-08-1. OCLC 163361648.
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