The tree line in the mountains lies at the height of 1800–2300 m.
The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, , in the Rila mountain range, Bulgaria. The concept of the Balkan Peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea.
The concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea.
During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers...
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel ("Southeasterneuropean peninsula").
The term acquired political nationalistic connotations far from its initial geographic meaning, arising from political changes from the late 19th century to the creation of post–World War I Yugoslavia (initially the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918).
It is more or less identical to the region known as Southeast Europe. From 1920 until World War II, Italy included Istria and some Dalmatian areas (like Zara, today's Zadar) that are within the general definition of the Balkan Peninsula.
Turkey, often including its European territory, is also included in Western or Southwestern Asia. ===Western Balkans=== Western Balkans is a political neologism coined to refer to Albania and the territory of the former Yugoslavia, except Slovenia, since the early 1990s.
Croatia, considered part of the Western Balkans, joined the EU in July 2013. ===Criticism of the geographical definition=== The term is criticized for having a geopolitical, rather than a geographical meaning and definition, as a multiethnic and political area in the southeastern part of Europe.
In 2018, President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović stated that the use of the term "Western Balkans" should be avoided because it does not imply only a geographic area, but also negative connotations, and instead must be perceived as and called Southeast Europe because it is part of Europe. As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek put it, ==Nature and natural resources== Most of the area is covered by mountain ranges running from the northwest to southeast.
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