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Pieniny Mountains
Trzy Korony i Facimiech a1.jpg
View of Trzy Korony and Łysina Mountains
Highest point
Peak Wysoka
Elevation 1,050 m (3,440 ft)
Coordinates 49°22′49″N20°33′20″E / 49.38028°N 20.55556°E / 49.38028; 20.55556 Coordinates: 49°22′49″N20°33′20″E / 49.38028°N 20.55556°E / 49.38028; 20.55556
Native namePieniny
Vnejsi Zapadni Karpaty, h3.svg
Location of the Pieniny Mountains, marked in red color and labeled as h3
Country Poland and Slovakia
Region Lesser Poland Voivodeship and Prešov Region
Settlement Krościenko nad Dunajcem, Szczawnica
Parent range Western Beskids
Borders onWestern Carpathian range
View of the nearby Pieniny from the summit of Three Crowns. Panorama Pieniny from Trzy Korony.jpg
View of the nearby Pieniny from the summit of Three Crowns.
Szczawnica in Pieniny 1939 Szczawnica in Poland 1939.jpg
Szczawnica in Pieniny 1939

The Pieniny (sometimes also the Pienins [1] [2] or the Pienin Mountains, [1] [3] Hungarian : Pieninek) is a mountain range in the south of Poland and the north of Slovakia. It is classified within the eastern section of the Western Beskids.


The Pieniny mountain range is divided into three parts Pieniny Spiskie (Slovak : Spišské Pieniny) and Pieniny Właściwe (Slovak: Centrálne Pieniny) in Poland; and, Małe Pieniny (English: Lesser or Little Pieniny; Slovak : Malé Pieniny) in Poland and Slovakia. The Pieniny mountains consist mainly of beds of limestone and dolomite. The most famous peak, Trzy Korony (Three Crowns), is 982 metres high. It is also the summit of the Three Crowns Massif. Pieniny's highest peak Wysoka (Polish); Vysoké Skalky (Slovak) reaches 1,050 metres above sea level.

Pieniny mountains formed at the bottom of the sea in several geological epochs. They were folded and raised in Upper Cretaceous. At the beginning of the Paleogene geologic period a second wave of tectonic movements took place causing a further shift. The third wave of movements during the Paleogene and Neogene resulted in a more complex tectonic structure. At the same time erosion resulted in stripping of the outer mantle rocks and further modeling of terrain. Peaks were built from weather resistant Jurassic rocks, mainly limestone. Valleys and passes were created from softer and more susceptible to weathering rocks of Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. Caves are few and rather small. By contrast, rivers and streams are often deeply indented in the rock, creating approximately 15 ravines and gorges. The most famous gorges of the Pieniny mountains are the Dunajec River Gorge in Pieniny National Park and the Homole Ravine (Polish : Wąwóz Homole). Hills along the northern border of Pieniny are of volcanic origin.

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Canyon Deep ravine between cliffs

A canyon or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic time scales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces, eventually wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will gradually reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains. The processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river's headwaters and estuary are at significantly different elevations, particularly through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering.


The Dunajec is a river running through northeastern Slovakia and southern Poland. It is a right tributary of the Vistula River. It begins in Nowy Targ at the junction of two short mountain rivers, Czarny Dunajec and Biały Dunajec. Dunajec forms the border between Poland and Slovakia for 17 kilometers in the Pieniny Środkowe range, east of the Czorsztyn reservoir.

Babia Góra

Babia Góra, or Babia hora, literally Old Wives' or Witches' Mountain, is a massif situated on the border between Poland and Slovakia in the Western Beskid Mountains. The name is also applied to the culmination of the massif, Diablak, which is also the highest peak of this part of the Carpathian Mountains, at 1,725 metres (5,659 ft) above sea level.

Pieniny National Park (Poland) National park of Poland

Pieniny National Park is a protected area located in the heart of Pieniny Mountains in the southernmost part of Poland. Administratively, the Park lies in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship on the border with Slovakia. Its head office is in Krościenko nad Dunajcem.

Pieniny National Park (Slovakia)

Pieniny National Park is a national park in northern Slovakia. The park is located in the eastern Pieniny Mountains on the border with Poland. It is the smallest national park in Slovakia with an area of 37.49 km² (14.48 mi²) and a buffer zone of 224.44 km² (86.66 mi²). The park is located in the Slovak districts of Kežmarok and Stará Ľubovňa in the Prešov Region.

Červený Kláštor Village in Slovakia

Červený Kláštor is a small village and municipality in the far north Kežmarok District in the Prešov Region of northern Slovakia, near the Polish border, in the Zamagurie region.

Czorsztyn Place in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Czorsztyn is a village in Poland, in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Nowy Targ County. The village lies in Pieniny, the mountain range on the current Polish-Slovak border. It is famous for the ruins of a 14th-17th-century castle, which was the scene of the Kostka-Napierski Uprising in 1651.


Zamagurie is an area in the north of the Spiš region, between the Spišská Magura in the south, the Dunajec river in the north and the Białka river in the west. It is divided between the Prešov Region of Slovakia and the Lesser Poland Voivodeship of Poland and is further divided between the Slovak districts of Stará Ľubovňa and Kežmarok and Polish gminas of Bukowina Tatrzańska, Nowy Targ and Łapsze Niżne. The centre of the region is the Slovak town Spišská Stará Ves, which is just near the border. The region also used to be one of the official tourist regions of Slovakia until 2004.

Dunajec River Gorge

The Dunajec River Gorge runs through the Pieniny Mountains in the south of Poland and the north of Slovakia. The gorge is characterized by some of the most interesting geological and geomorphological structures and area-specific natural ecosystems with little anthropogenic influence. It is featured on UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in Poland.

Niedzica Place in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Niedzica, is a resort town in Nowy Targ County of Lesser Poland province, Poland, located on the banks of Lake Czorsztyn. It is famous for Niedzica Castle, also known as Dunajec Castle, an important centre of Polish-Hungarian relations built between the years 1320 and 1326 on foundations of a prehistoric roost. Originally, the village almost exclusively inhabited by the Slovak ethnic group was in 1920 and again in 1945 affiliated to Poland. The town lies approximately 6 kilometres (4 mi) north-east of Łapsze Niżne, 21 km (13 mi) east of Nowy Targ, and 75 km (47 mi) south of the regional capital Kraków.

Niedzica Castle Castle in Poland

Niedzica Castle also known as Dunajec Castle, is located in the southernmost part of Poland in Niedzica. It was erected between the years 1320 and 1326 by Kokos of Brezovica on the site of an ancient stronghold surrounded by earthen walls in the Pieniny mountains. The Niedzica Castle stands at an altitude of 566 m, on a hill 300 metres (980 ft) upstream from the Dunajec River mouth, measured from the center of the dam on Lake Czorsztyn. The outline of Niedzica Castle can best be viewed from the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle on the other side of the lake. It is known as one of the most picturesque castles in the country and adorns the covers of many books.

Krościenko nad Dunajcem Place in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Krościenko nad Dunajcem is a village in southern Poland situated in the Nowy Targ County in Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999. it is approximately 31 kilometres (19 mi) east of Nowy Targ and 78 km (48 mi) south-east of the regional capital Kraków. Town rights were given to Krościenko by Kazimierz Wielki in 1348.

Pieniny Klippen Belt Zone in the Western Carpathians, with a very complex geological structure

The Pieniny Klippen Belt is in geology a tectonically and orographically remarkable zone in the Western Carpathians, with a very complex geological structure. It is a narrow and extremely long north banded zone of extreme shortening and sub-vertical strike-slip fault zone, with complex geological history, where only fragments of individual strata and facies are preserved. The Pieniny Klippen Belt is considered one of the main tectonic sutures of the Carpathians and forms the boundary between the Outer and Central Western Carpathians.

Geology of the Western Carpathians

The Western Carpathians are an arc-shaped mountain range, the northern branch of the Alpine-Himalayan fold and thrust system called the Alpide belt, which evolved during the Alpine orogeny. In particular, their pre-Cenozoic evolution is very similar to that of the Eastern Alps, and they constitute a transition between the Eastern Alps and the Eastern Carpathians.

Trzy Korony Mountain in Poland

Trzy Korony is the summit of the Three Crowns Massif, an independent portion of a range called Pieniny Mountains in the south of Poland. Trzy Korony forms the central part of a compact group of connected mountains known as Pieniny Środkowe, consisting mainly of the limestone and dolomite rock strata. Trzy Korony is located within the Pieniny National Park in Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

Poprad River Gorge

The Poprad River Gorge runs through the Western Carpathian Mountain Range in the southernmost part of Poland. It is formed by the river Poprad, the only large river flowing north from Slovakia into Poland, the tributary of Dunajec near Stary Sącz, in Lesser Poland Voivodeship. The Gorge is located within the Poprad Landscape Park which is the biggest protected area in the country. It marks the frontier between Poland and Slovakia in the area.

The Dunajec river castles is a chain of thirteen medieval castles, built in southern Lesser Poland, along the Dunajec river. The castles protected the border between the Kingdom of Poland and the Kingdom of Hungary, as well as a very important international trade route, which went along the Dunajec and the Poprad all the way down to the Danube river. Most of the castles are in ruins now, and some have disappeared. Their history dates back to the period known as the Fragmentation of Poland in the early 12th century, when, according to his will, known as the Testament of Bolesław III Wrymouth, the country was divided into several provinces. The Dunajec river castles were located on the territory of two castellanies, Wojnicz and Nowy Sącz, in the extreme south of the Seniorate Province.

Beskid Sądecki

Beskid Sądecki is a mountain range in the eastern section of the Western Beskids, within the Outer Western Carpathians. It is located in the border region between Poland and Slovakia. On the Polish side, it stretches in the area of 670 km², between the Dunajec river in the West and the valleys of the Kamienica Nawojowska river, Mochnaczka, Muszynka, Przełęcz Tylicka in the East. The highest peak of the mountain range is Radziejowa at 1262 metres. The mountains are built from flysch rocks.


The Kotuńka Rock is a prominent rock found in the centre of the current of the river Dunajec just before the entry into Szczawnica. Built from limestone the rock is well seen from the road and is a characteristic landmark in the area. Just above the rock the Grajcarek flows into the Dunajec. On from the rock is a bridge, after which begins the Pieniny Trail Road which heads to a border crossing.

Geology of Slovakia

The geology of Slovakia is structurally complex, with a highly varied array of mountain ranges and belts largely formed during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.


  1. 1 2 Szafer, Władysław. 2013. The Vegetation of Poland: International Series of Monographs in Pure and Applied Biology. Warsaw: Pergamon Press, pp. 156, 388.
  2. Tkáč, Vladimír, et al. 1994. Slovakia: Country of Cultural Treasures. Opava: Edition Museon, p. 182.
  3. Griffiths, Graham C. D. 1976. Studies on Boreal Agromyzidae (Diptera). XII. Phytomyza and Chromatomyia miners on Astereae (Compositae).Quaestiones Entomologicae 12: 239–275, p. 255.