Retezat Mountains

Retezat Mountains are the largest from the western group of the Southern Carpathians, with heights exceeding 2500 m. They present an extraordinary alpine landscape of lofty peaks and ridges, glacial valleys, spectacular steep slopes and huge areas of detritus, wide fields of junipers and dozens of glacial lakes. They are among the most appreciated and beloved mountains in Romania.

Retezat Mountains were declared a National Park, in 1935, and a Biosphere Reservation, in 1979.

To the north Retezat Mountains are bordered by Hateg Depression, to the east and south by the Petrosani Depression and to the west Rau Mare River separates them from Tarcu and Godeanu Mountains.

Made from granite and crystalline rocks and shaped by the glaciers, the relief of Retezat Mountains is the most complex in the Carpathians.

They have the shape of a huge H, consisting in two main ridges, which are almost parallel, orientated from south-west to north-east, linked in the middle by another sharp ridge. The highest peaks of the massif are Peleaga (2509 m), Papusa (2508 m) and Retezat (2482 m).

Retezat Mountains have the largest number of glacial lakes in the Carpathians, which are one of the main attractions for tourists. More than 50 permanent lakes are spread all over the glacial basins. The largest is Lake Bucura (9 ha), which holds the record among glacial lakes in Romanian Carpathians, the second being Zanoaga, (6, 5 ha) and also the deepest glacial lake in Romania (29 m).

Retezat Mountains have rich and diversified vegetation disposed on layers, from the foot of the mountain to the high crests, a common feature for the entire chain of the Carpathians. The layers of forests ascend, in general, up to 1750 m. The forests are mixed up to 800 m, beech forests can be found between 800 and 1400 m and above them, the conifer forests up to 1600 – 1750 m. Between 1750 and 2300 m the mountain is covered by junipers, bilberry bushes and alpine pastures. In the Retezat Mountains there are a lot of species of rare and endemic plants.

Among of most important species that form the fauna we mention the chamois, the brown bear, the stag, the wolf, the marmot, the wild boar, the eagle, the owl and the common viper.