hidden europe 62

What's in a name: the Sudety story

by hidden europe

Picture above: The Beskid Mountains along the Czech-Polish border. Earlier atlases show this upland region as the Sudety Mountains (photo © hidden europe).


Sometimes the name of a mountain range or a region may endure for centuries, only then to be corrupted by politics. This is how it was with the Sudety Mountains which in the 1930s became conflated with the Sudetenland.

When did you last hear of the Sudety Mountains? Could you even begin to place them on a map?

There are some mountain ranges which are easily defined. The Sudety Mountains are not among them. The great arc of the Alps, sweeping from the Riviera north through Savoy into Switzerland and east through Austria almost to the Danube, lends itself to neat cartographic depiction. Much the same applies to the Pyrenees. We could all probably sketch in the location of the Alps and the Pyrenees on an outline map of Europe.

But other mountain ranges are more complex. The Eastern Ghats in India are patchy and discontinuous. The Drakensberg in southern Africa, more a mighty escarpment than a true mountain range, is not everywhere as mighty as it might be.

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