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Geography


Terrain

Terrain in Montenegro ranges from high mountains in the northern part of the country, through karst segment in central and western part, to a narrow coastal plain. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovcen and other mountain ranges plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor. The coastal region is noted for active seismicity.
Montenegro´s section of the karst lies generally at elevations of 900m (3,000 ft) above sea level-although some areas rise to 1800m (6,000 ft). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which flows at an elevation of 450m (1,500 ft). The river occupies the centre of Niksic field, a flat-floored, elongated depression typical of karstic regions. The underlying rock is predominantly limestone, which dissolves to form sinkholes and underground caves.
The Zeta River Valley, or Bjelopavlici plain, merges in the southeast with the second significant flat lowland in Montenegro, the Zeta plain. Zeta plain stretches north of the Lake Scutari at elevation of 40m (130ft). The two plains are today the most densely populated areas of Montenegro, housing two Montenegrin biggest cities, Podgorica and Niksic.
The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. They average more than 2000m (7,000 ft) in elevation. Among notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountain, which reaches 2,523m (8,278 ft). The Montenegrin mountains were the most ice-eroded section of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.


The Coast

The coast of Montenegro is 294 km long. Unlike its northern neighbour Croatia, Montenegro has no large inhabited islands along the coast. A notable feature of the Montenegrin coast is Bay of Kotor, a fjord-like gulf, which is in fact a submerged river canyon. The Bay of Kotor is surrounded by mountains up to 1000m high, which plunge alsmost vertically into the sea.
To the south of the Bay of Kotor, there is a narrow coastal plain, no more that 4km wide, which is guarded from the north by high mountains. The plain provided space for noumerous small coastal settlements.

Hydrology

Montenegro´s surface runoff in the north is carried away by the Lim and Tara river systems, which enter the Danube via the Drina River of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In southern Montenegro, streams flow toward the Adriatic Sea. Much of the drainage of the karstic region is not on the surface but travels in underground channels.

The largest lake in Montenegro and the Balkans is Lake Scutari. Known in Montenegro as Skadarsko Jezero, it lies near the coast and extends across the international border into northern Albania. It is 50km (25 miles) long and 16km (10 miles) wide, with a total surface area of 370 km² (142.9 sq mi). Some 60 percent lies within Montenegrin territory. The water body occupies a karstic polje depression that has a floor lying below sea level.
Montenegro´s mountainous regions are noted for their numerous lakes.

Climate

Montenegro´s lower areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate, having dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Temperature varies greatly with elevation. Podgorica, lying near sea level, is noted for having the warmest July temperatures in Montnegro, averaging 27 °C (81 °F).
Cetinje, in the karst at an elevation of 670m (2,200 ft), has a temperature 5 °C (10 °F) lower. January temperatures range from 8 °C (46 °F) at Bar on the southern coast to -3 °C (27 °F) in the northern mountains.

Montenegro´s mountainous regions receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in Europe. Annual precipitation at Crkvice, in the Karst above the Bay of Kotor, is 4,928 millimetres (194 inches) . Like most areas along the Mediterranean Sea, precipitation occurs principally during the cold part of the year, but in the higher mountains a secondary summer maximum is present. Snow cover is rare along the Montenegrin coast. It averages 10 days in karstic polje depressions and increases to 120 days in the higher mountains.



Geographic coordinates: 42°30′N 19°18′E / 42.5°N 19.3°E
Total area: 14,026 km²
Land area: 13,812 km²
Water area: 214 km²
Population: 620,145 (2003 census); 630,548 (2004 estimate)
Length of the coast (coastline): 293.5 km
Length of the international borders: 625 km (total)
With Croatia: 14 km or 25 km
With Bosnia and Herzegovina: 225 km
With Serbia: 124 km
With Albania: 172 km
Land under cultivation: 517,153 ha
Land use:
arable land: 13.7%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 85.3%
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut

Points

Lowest point Adriatic Sea - 0 m
Highest point Zla Kolata - 2,534 m
Northernmost point: Mocevici, Pljevlja municipality - 43°32′N 18°58′E / 43.533°N 18.967°E
Southernmost point: Mala Ada, Ulcinj municipality - 42°50′N 19°22′E / 42.833°N 19.367°E
Easternmost point: Jablanica, Ro?aje municipality - 42°53′N 20°21′E / 42.883°N 20.35°E
Westernmost point: Prijevor, Herceg Novi municipality - 42°29′N 18°26′E