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The Pirin mountains are named after Perun, the Slavic thunder god who reputedly dwelt on Mt. Vihren (2914m asl.) only 7 kilometres from Banya and which is the highest summit in the Pirin. The Pirin are the most wild and rugged of Bulgaria's mountains and the northern area has a truly alpine appearance with sharp, jagged peaks and crests, and many cirques and valleys formed through glaciation. The Pirin are situated in the southwest corner of Bulgaria, encompass 2585 square kilometres, and stretch southeastwards for 80 kilometres. They have an average height of 1033m asl., but have an incredible 60 majestic peaks each rising above 2500m asl., and three that rise to over 2900m asl. The Pirin are separated by the Predel Pass (1142m asl.) from the Rila mountains to the north, by the Paril Saddle (1170m asl.) from the Slavyanka mountains to the south, and to the west and east are bordered by the Struma river valley and the Mesta river, respectively.
The Pirin have three zones with the northern zone being the largest encompassing 75% of the total area of the Pirin Mountains and running for over half the length of the mountain range. All of the high peaks are situated in this zone, including Mt Viheren, the second highest peak in Bulgaria. The southern zone (19%) situated between the Popovi Livadi and Paril saddles, is the lowest area of the Pirin with the highest peak being Mt Sveshtnik at 1973m asl. The central zone (6%) is the smallest lying between the Todorova Polyana and Popovi Livadi saddles with Mt. Orelek (2099m asl.) being the highest peak. Scattered throughout the Pirin there are 150 mountain lakes and numerous mountain streams.