The mountain was considerably better known (by the name Hemus) in the ancient times than it is today. It has been a kind of border to the “known” world for the ancient Greeks for a long time.
Stara Planina stretches in the shape of a rainbow from the western (the Timok River) to the eastern direction (Emine Cape on the Black Sea). It is 20km wide in its western part and 35km wide in the eastern. Its average altitude is 722m above sea level. There are several peaks higher than 2,000m in the main ridge, the highest being Mount Botev – 2,376m.
Stara Planina is an important climatic barrier.It stops the northern winds and greatly influences the temperature and rainfall to the north and to the south of it. Stara Planina is the mountain with the biggest amount of fogs and strong winds. The average temperature around Mount Botev is -8,9°C in January and 7,9°C in July. The biggest amount of rainfall is in May and June and the smallest (except on Mount Botev) in February. The snow cover is rather unevenly distributed with different melting periods. Stara Planina is rich in oak and beech trees (38,2% of all deciduous forests in Bulgaria) and pastures. It is a source for anthracite coal, black and brown coal, barytes, iron-ore, etc.