Munṭii Apuseni

Western Mountains

The Munṭii Apuseni (Apuseni Mountains) are the westernmost of the three mountain ridges of Romania. This is the left arm of the U shaped mountain ridge, running south from Oradea towards Danube river.

This mountain ridge is also called Romanian Western Carpathians or simply Western Mountains. There is sometimes some confusion about this, as there is a mountain ridge from Austria through Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to Ukraine, which is called Western Carpathians. So this is the western branch of the Romanian Carpathians. There are different definitions of the Romanian Western Carpathians. Some include the Poiana Ruscă Mountains and the Banat Mountains, others do not.

The Munṭii Apuseni are not an Alpine mountain ridge, the highest peak, Cucurbăta Mare, is "only" 1,849 m asl. Most mountains are covered by forest, shrubs or grasland, most of them are used for grazing sheep. The geology is nevertheless very complicated, with many uplifts, shears and many different kinds of rock. The whole mountain range is spreckled with patches of limestones and other soluble rocks, which are karstified. This area contains most of the Romanian caves, including the longest (Wind Cave, 45km) and the second longest (Humpleu Cave, 35km).

The nortwestern end of the mountain ridge is called Munții Pădurea Craiului (Pădurea Craiului Mountains), which means "The Forest of the King". This area with a size of 1150 km² is rich in caves.