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Tatra Mountains

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The Tatra Mountains are the highest part of the Carpathian range and Poland's southernmost border. Today they are shared with Slovakia, but in the past it was Hungary and the dreaded Ottoman empire who frequently threatened to invade Poland. The mountains cover 300 sq miles (785 sq km) but three-quarters of this is in Slovakia. The Polish part was declared a national park in 1955. The dramatic mountains are perfect for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. For skiers there is a cable car and chair lift on Kasprowy Wierch Peak; for hikers, around 155 miles (250 km) of trails ranging from easy to difficult. There are wild flowers, animals and views galore. And if you don't see any of the shy mountain animals, then find them stuffed in the Tatra Museum where they can't run and hide! There are also caves, six of which are open to the public in the Koscieliska valley. These were once home to wild mountain bandits. And of course there are lakes, the most famous of which is Morskie Oko.