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Most mountainous country in Europe ?

Discussion in 'Geography' started by Geekie, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Hello - MFL interloper here.

    I'm trying to find out the most mountainous countries in Europe for a competition I'm organsing at school for Europe Day.

    When I was at school my Spanish teacher always used to say that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland. Some google hits support this theory. However, other websites say things like Greece is the third most mountainous country after Albania and Norway !!

    So I thought who better to ask than geography teachers !

    Anyone know ?
  2. hmm well I'm sure I don't know, Geekie ;)
  3. This is one of those questions that geographers hate because its a meaningless question!

    The first major problem is that different counties have different definitions of what a mountain is - and some counties don't even have a definition! Even in the UK, England has a definition used by DEFRA as 600 metres (roughly 2,000ft) whilst officially in Scotland there is no definition at all, although the Munro Tables list all the "mountains" in Scotland over 3,000ft (910 metres).

    In many parts of Europe 600 metres is a small bump and certainly wouldn't register as a hill let alone a mountain!

    I suppose you could look at the average height of the land above sea level in the whole country - but land that is high up could be a plateau and although high would not undulate enough to be called mountainous or even hilly!

    Its one of that type of question in Trivial Pursuit that drives geographers to want to murder question setters...!
  4. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Sorry for asking a meaningless question....
  5. I'm not so sure this is a meaningless question. As has rightly been pointed out it's a question of definition. If Geography is about making sense of the world then any logical starting point would be to define and categorise.
    This would make for an interesting excercise for any group of students.
    Then do we look at number of peaks over a certain height or percentage of land area that is mountainous or upland?
    If the latter I'm guessing somewhere like Monaco or San Marino would be top of the list...
  6. Andorra?
  7. I quite agree that knowing if a place is mountainous or not is a perfectly useful area of geographical enquiry, Chris - what is meaningless, is the strange desire to find the "most" in this case.
    Why have a rank order of mountainousness?
    Does it matter that the answer is Andorra, Norway, Switzerland or Rockall?

    What is important from a geographers perspective is surely the impact of the physical geography on the human geography of any place. That won't change if the answer to the "most" question is Spain or Austria or whatever...
  8. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    The reason I like the fact is that if Spain IS second most mountainous (or whatever) it challenges the preconceptions that British children have of Spain as a sunshine and beach country.
  9. I taught year 5 geog in Spain years ago and do remember something about Spain being one of the highest countries above sea level. It has a lot of high plateaus but not peaks as someone has mentioned.
    Most of Spain is actually quite freezing and only the far south-south east (only July-August) you could call sunny Spain.
  10. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Ah yes. My year in the Picos in NE Spain is the coldest I've ever been. It was quite normal for the big thermometer in the town centre to say -10 degrees at midday in February, and it snowed in May.
  11. I know this is nothing to do with your original question but just out of curiosity were you in Teruel-Huesca and were you on the BC-MEC bilingual project?
  12. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    No. I was a foreign language assistant in Soria 1990-1991.
  13. Hey!! Im in Soria. Cheers.
  14. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    ¿Dónde exactamente?

    I was FLA in Magisterio and we did a Comenius project a while ago with IES Machado.

    I lived up in Po. de la Florida.
  15. I live in front of the 'bomberos' near the bus station, off Avda de Valladolid. You probably wouldnt recognise that part of Soria now. Its all built up.
    I teach at CP Infantes de Lara on the mec-bc-bilingual project.
    My son went to Machado.
    Where are you now? If you are interested in a link school in Soria I could talk to the people at IE Virgin del Espino which has a bilingual section. Comenius programmes are too much hard work but I suppose the money and the trips are good. Did you come to Soria when you were working on the commenius with IE Machado?
    This is proabably getting a bit too personal for this forum.

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