The High Tatras
The High Tatras are small mountains in the northest part of Slovakia, on the Slovak-Polish frontiers.They are said to be the smallest mountains in the world. The mountains are the highest and the northest part of about 1200 km long Carpathian vault, but they occupy the area of only 220 sq kilometres.
The High Tatras can be divided into three main parts: The Western Tatras, The High Tatras and the Belianske Tatras. They differ in their heights and their geological structure. The High Tatras are composed of granites and crystaline slades. The Belianske Tatras are created by dolomites and limestones. The Western Tatras are of the similar composition as the High Tatras.
The High Tatras are the most attractive region of Slovakia thanks to their national beauties and climatic conditions.They provide excellent conditions both for winter sports and summer tourism as well as for treatment of some diseases of upper respiratory tract.
The main Tatra ridge is only 26 km long, but you can find here many natural beauties. In Tatra valleys and basins there are about 6100 mountain lakes celled tarns. The largest and the deepest Tatra tarn on the Slovak part is the Veľké Hincovo pleso (Great Hincovo tarn). The higgest elevated Tatra tarn is Modré pleso (Blue tarn) and lowest is situated Rakytovské pleso (Rakytovské tarn). Not less beautiful are also Tatra waterfalls. The most famous of them are Obrovský vodopád and waterfall Skok.
The High Tatras are the only mountains in Slovakia of an alpine character- narrow rocky ridges fall steeply to the glacier cut valleys. Tourists who visit High Tatras can admire numerous peaks and there are six of them which measure more than 2600m. The highest Tatra peak is the Gerlachovský štít which is 2655m high.
In the High Tatras we can also find a lot of different and unique plants and animals. The most known from the Tatra animals are chamois and marmot, but they are very rare. More often you can see there bears, fox, wild cat, deer, lynx or wild boar. Very interesting are also Tatra birds- hawk and eagle. In Tatras there are also very rare kinds of flowers - edelweiss and saffron. All these plants, flowers and animals are protected by law. That´s why, in year 1948, there was established the Tatra National Park ( TANAP ) which has protected the area of about 70000 hectares. In the mountains there are built tourists paths with total lenght about 300 km.
The inhabitants of the High Tatras live in the settelmements situated along the so called „Cesta slobody“ (the road of freedom), which joins Western, High and Belianske Tatras together. The most important winter resort as well as the higgest elevated settlement in the High Tatras is Štrbské Pleso with its sport center FIS, hotels (Panorama,Patria, Baník ) and spa centre Helios. The centre of administration is Starý Smokovec with good hotel services and perfect conditions for skiing. It is a starting point for mountain-climbers as well as for tourists. Tatranská Lomnica is a seetlement with very rich sport traditions, golf and tenis centes, figure skating, sledging etc. It provides connection with a famous ski resort Skalnaté Pleso, from where you can take a rope railway to Lomnický štít. Tatranská Lomnica is also the centre of the TANAP administration. Tatra settlements such as Vyšné Hágy, Tatranská Polianka, Tatranská Lesná, Tatranské Matliare, Tatranská Kotlina dispose of thousands of beds and good facilities for their visitors.
In the net of the High Tatras hotels there are regular scientific congreses, international sport events, cultural and musical festivals. In the area of the High Tatras there are two express railway stations and an airport which are about 10 km far from Tatra settlements. All Tatra settlements are connectet by Tatra electric railway.
The High Tatras are also world known because of their candidature for holding the Winter Olympic Games in year 2002 and 2006, but the projects haven´t been succesful yet. Opinions about organizing such a big event as WOG are, are very contadictional especially from the side of protectors of nature and polititians.