Nothing twice, all things but once behold
Ever onward – ne’er back o’er tracks gone cold.


To conclude this Carpathian account, I have appended a few more precise and useful lines on the Romanian side of the Carpathian arc. As far as I know, this marks the first attempt in Czech to clearly, though somewhat schematically, classify individual Romanian Carpathian mountain ranges. Though this is but a simple summary, it was no easy task mainly due to the varying opinions of Romanian cartographers and publications, of which I have read many and in which I always encountered greater or lesser deviations. I drew from the following titles to great extent: ROŞU, A. – Geografia fizică a României, Bucureşti, 1973; COTEŢ, P. – Geomorfologia României, ibid., 1973; ONCESCU, N. – Geologia României, ibid. 1965 (3rd edition).

Of the entire Carpathian arc which is commonly divided into either three parts (the Northern or Western Carpathians found in Czechoslovakia and Poland, reaching as far as Dukla Pass; the Central or Wooded Carpathians from Dukla Pass onward in a line connecting the headwaters of the Tisa and Prut rivers; the Southern or Romanian Carpathians found primarily in Romanian), or two (the Northwestern Carpathians and the Southeastern Carpathians, where the boundary is formed by an imaginary line between the Carpatho-Ruthenian (Zakarpattian) cities of Mukachevo and Stryi), only the third, or if you like, the second arm of the arc stretches into Romania, though by area it is the largest. The geological genesis of the Carpathians has been dealt with sufficiently in geology textbooks.

The Romanian Carpathians are traditionally divided into three larger groups: the Eastern, Southern and Western Carpathians. There is, however, considerable difference of opinion among experts regarding where the respective borders of these Carpathian groups lie. The old border between Eastern and Southern Carpathians – the Prahova River Valley – is rarely used today. Geomorphologists have moved the boundary further westward to the Dâmbovița River Valley and Rucăr-Bran fissure (a designation I have kept to as well), and geologists go even further to the west considering Piatra Craiului to be a nappe of the Eastern Carpathians, while regarding a shoulder of the Perşani Mountains as part of the Southern Carpathians. Geologists count what are sometimes called the Banat Mountains to be part of the Southern Carpathians, while geomorphologists claim they belong to the Western Carpathians.

I have incorporated the geological perspective into the map by arranging individual mountain ranges according to their formation. This has proved especially useful as it pertains to the much more geologically complex Eastern Carpathians, which can be roughly divided into volcanic, Crystalline-Mesozoic and flysch zones. The Southern and Western Carpathians are geologically simpler, formed, broadly speaking, of bedrock. These divisions roughly correspond to the Czechoslovak Carpathians, though they are naturally not overly precise since some ranges (Perşani, Bodoc massifs among others) are not geologically monolithic.

For that reason, I have divided the Romanian Carpathians into 71 different ranges. Several of them (nos. 9, 12, 27, 29, 36, 40, 55, 56, etc.) are distinguished only in scholarly literature, and their distinctions are insignificant to the visitor. There is no definitive or uniform number of ranges since different maps and sources designate the boundaries at various places. In addition, the ranges have often been divided into individual massifs, even ridges, so orienting in mountain systems and their synonyms can prove very difficult.

The highest peak in the Romanian Carpathians is located among the Făgăraş Mountains (Moldoveanu 2,543 m.a.s.l.) while the overall highest Carpathian peak, Gerlachovský štít, lies in the Slovak High Tatras. Fifteen Romanian summits reach an altitude of more than 2,000 meters (nos. 5, 11, 20, 21, 39, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52) while four stretch above 2500 meters (20, 42, 48, 50). The Hăşmaş Mountains are regarded as the area’s main watershed, a “confinium triplex” or triple divide (similar to Králický Sněžník on the Czech – Polish border, except that all Romanian rivers flow into the same sea.)

For the visitor and reader of Romanian maps and guidebooks, I offer a few lines on the proper use of Romanian grammar in nomenclature. There is little difference in using the definite and indefinite forms (Făgăraş or Făgăraşul, Retezat or Retezatul, etc.), though the first is more common. However, using the bare genitive (2nd case) for which Romanian has masculine and feminine endings, -ui and -ei respectively, e.g. Făgăraşului, Retezatului or Rodnei, Bistriţei, is incorrect without adding the word “munţii” or “mountains.” Thus we can use either the nominative (1st case) – Făgăraş, Rodna, munţii Făgăraş, munţii Rodna – or the genitive – munţii Făgăraşului, munţii Rodnei – which translates directly as “mountains of Făgăraş” and “mountains of Rodna.”

In the last decade, Romanian spelling has undergone some changes. For example, in place of the somewhat old-fashioned “î” they have begun using “â” (except in certain instances like at the beginning of proper nouns). But since this book was first written under the old rules, I have left the original spellings unchanged.

It is interesting to note that Romanian has only used the Latin alphabet since 1860. Before that, the Cyrillic alphabet (a Greco-Slavic script created at the turn of the 9th century) was used for writing and printing and is still used in countries like Serbia, Bulgaria, and Russia.

In conclusion, a few words on Romanian pronunciation so you can ask your way if you need to, little brother. Shepherds in the Şurean Mountains could not tell you how to get to the town of Cugir until you pronounced it “Koojeer.” They simply would not understand, and no doubt you would lose your way.

Romanian pronunciation is actually quite simple: Ᾰ is simply the short “a” in “around;” Â and Î are pronounced identically and amount roughly to the “u” sound in the word “burn” or the “eux” sound in the French word “deux;” CE and CI are pronounced “-che-” and “-chi-” respectively, otherwise C is pronounced as “-k-.” The same is true for GE and GI the pronunciation being “-je-” and “-ji-“ while in all other situations, G is simply -“g-” as in “girl;” the letter J sounds like the “j” in “Jacque”; consonants Ş and Ţ are “-sh-“ and “-ts-” respectively.

And that is really all you need to know to read names on Romanian maps and find your way through the land.



1 Munţii Oaş
2 Munţii Gutîi
3 Munţii Ţibleş

4 Munţii Bîrgau
5 Munţii Căliman
6 Munţii Gurghiu

7 Munţii Harghita


8 Munţii Maramureş
9 Munţii Ţibau
10 Munţii Obcina Mestecaniş
11 Munţii Rodna
12 Munţii Suhard

13 Munţii Giumalău-Rarău
14 Munţii Bistriţei
15 Munţii Giurgeu
16 Munţii Hăghimaş ( = M. Hăşmaş)
17 Munţii Perşani

Munţii Bîrsei (18-19):
18 Munţii Postavarul
19 Munţii Piatra Mare
20 Munţii Bucegi
21 Munţii Leaota


22 Munţii Obcina Feredeu
23 Munţii Obcina Mare
24 Munţii Stînişoarei
25 Munţii Ceahlău
26 Munţii Tercău (= M. Tarhaus + M. Goşman/Geamăna)
27 Munţii Berzunţ (= M. Tazlău)
28 Munţii Ciuc

29 Munţii Nemira ( + M. Oituz)
30 Munţii Bodoc
31 Munţii Baraolt
32 Munţii Vrancea
Munţii Buzăului (33-35):
33 Munţii Penteleu
34 Munţii Podu Calului
35 Munţii Siriu

36 Munţii Întorsurii
Munţii Doftanu (37-38):
37 Munţii Ciucaş (+ M. Teleajen, M. Grohotişu)
38 Munţii Gîrbovei (= M. Baiu)


39 Munţii Piatra Craiului
40 Munţii Ţaga
41 Munţii Iezer-Papuşa
42 Munţii Făgăraş
43 Munţii Cozia
44 Munţii Căpăţînii

45 Munţii Lotru ( = M. Ştefleşti)
46 Munţii Cindrel (= M. Cibin, M. Sibiului)
47 Munţii Şurean (= M. Sebeşului, M. Oraştiei)
48 Munţii Parîng (+ M. Latoriţei)

49 Munţii Vîlcan
50 Munţii Retezat
51 Munţii Godeanu
52 Munţii Ţarcu
53 Munţii Cernei
54 Munţii Mehedinţi


Munţii Apuseni (Western mountains, 55-65):
55  Munţii Meseş
56  Munţii Şes (= M. Plopiş)
57  Munţii Padurea Craiului
58 Munţii Codra Moma
59 Munţii Vlădeasa

60  Munţii Bihor
61 Munţii Gilău
62 Munţii Muntele Mare
63  Munţii Trascău
64 Munţii Metaliferi
65 Munţii Zărand
66  Munţii Poiana Ruscă

Munţii Banatului (Banat Mountains, 67-71):
67  Munţii Dognecea
68  Munţii Semenic
69  Munţii Aninei
70  Munţii Locva
71  Munţii Almaj