The Tatra Mountains, Tatras or Tatra (Tatry either in Polish and in Slovak – plurale tantum), are a mountain range that form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. They are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. The Tatras should be distinguished from the Low Tatras, Slovak: Nízke Tatry, which are located south of the Tatra mountains in Slovakia.
The Tatra mountains occupy an area of 785 square kilometres (303 sq mi), of which about 610 square kilometres (236 sq mi) (77.7%) lie within the Slovakian border and about 175 square kilometres (68 sq mi) (22.3%) on the territory of Poland. The highest peak called Gerlach, at 2,655 m (8710 ft) is located north of Poprad. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m (8200 ft) is located south of Zakopane. The Tatras are protected by law by the establishment of TPN and TANAP in their territory, with membership in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.
The Mountains have a diverse variety of plant life. They are home to more than 1,000 species of vascular plants, about 450 mosses, 200 liverworts, 700lichens, 900 fungi, and 70 slime moulds. There are five climatic-vegetation belts in the Tatras.
The distribution of plants depends on altitude:
up to 1,300 m: Carpathian beech forest; almost no shrub layer, herb layer occupies most of the forest floor
to 1,550 m: Spruce forest; shrub layer poorly developed, mosses are a major component
to 1,800 m: Mountain Pine, numerous herbs
to 2,300 m: high altitude grasslands
from 2,300 m up: Subnivean – bare rock and almost no vegetation (mostly lichens)
The Tatra Mountains are home to many species of animals: 54 tardigrades, 22 turbellarians, 100 rotifers, 22 copepods, 162 spiders, 81 molluscs, 43 mammals, 200 birds, 7 amphibians and 2 reptiles.
The most notable mammals are the Tatra chamois, marmot, snow vole, brown bear, wolf, Eurasian lynx, red deer, roe deer, and wild boar. Notable fish include the brook trout and alpine bullhead. The endemic arthropod species include a caddis fly, spider Xysticus alpicola and a springtail.
Orla Per? it is considered the most difficult and dangerous public path in the entire Tatras, a suitable destination only for experienced tourists and climbers. It lies exclusively within the Polish part of Tatras and was conceived in 1901 by Franciszek Nowicki, a Polish poet and mountain guide. More than one hundred individuals have lost their lives on the route since it was first established. The path is marked with red signs. The highest point in the Tatra Mountains with access by labeled trails is Rysy