Stara Planina (The Balkan Mountains) runs from Black sea eastwards to the border with Serbia and Macedonia westwards. Their length is 555 km. It extends along the entire length of Bulgaria and thus divides the country into two parts - North Bulgaria and South Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev (2,376 m), located in the Central Balkan National Park.
Stara Planina is divided into three sections - Western-, Central-, and Eastern Stara Planina. There are reserves of coal, iron ore copper, marble, limestone, barite, and basalt.
Stara Planina is the primary climate barrier and a natural boundary of Bulgaria. It stops the cold and dry winds coming from the North and warm air masses - from the South.
A lot of Bulgarian rivers take their sourse from Stara Planina - Ogosta, Vit, Osam, Yantra, Tundzha, Kamtchia, Stryama, Lom. Stara Planina forms a water divide between the rivers flowing to the Danube in the north and those flowing to the Aegean Sea in the south.
Stara Planina is a part of the 100 National Tourist Objects. It played an enormous role in the history of Bulgaria and the development of the Bulgarian nation and people. It was a natural fortress of the Bulgarian Empire for centuries. Close to the highest summit, Botev Peak, 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 Pass, the scene of the four battles in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78, which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans.
South of Stara Planina are located two lower mountain ranges - Sredna Gora and Sarnena Gora which are divided by the valley of the upper reaches of Tundzha River (also known as "the valley of roses" - famous with its plantation of roses used for extraction of rose oil.