Balkans, Bulg. Stara Planina stäˈrä pläˌnēnäˈ, major mountain range of the Balkan Peninsula and Bulgaria, extending c.350 mi (560 km) from E Serbia through central Bulgaria to the Black Sea. It rises to 7,794 ft (2,376 m) at Botev, the highest peak. The Balkans are a continuation of the Carpathian Mts. The forested range is sparsely populated and rich in a variety of minerals.