Belasica (Macedonian and Bulgarian: Беласица , also translit. Belasitsa or Belasitza, Ottoman Turkish: بلش Turkish: Beleş), Belles (Greek: Μπέλλες, Bélles) or Kerkini (Greek: Κερκίνη, Kerkíni;), is a mountain range in the region of Macedonia in Southeastern Europe, shared by northeastern Greece (about 45%), southeastern North Macedonia (35%) and southwestern Bulgaria (20%).
The mountain range is fault-block mountain about 60 km (37.28 mi) long and 7 to 9 km (4.35 to 5.59 mi) wide and is situated just northeast of Dojran Lake. The highest point is Radomir (Kalabaka) at 2,031 m, with elevation otherwise ranging between 300 and 1900 m above sea level. The borders of all three countries meet at Tumba Peak. The climate in the area shows strong Mediterranean influence.
The area of Belasica became a euroregion in 2003. Two football teams are named after the mountain range, PFC Belasitsa from the nearby Bulgarian town of Petrich and FC Belasica from Strumica in North Macedonia.
Since ancient times Greeks refer to the range as Ὄρβηλος (Modern Greek: ˈor.vi.los, Ancient Greek: ˈor.bɛː.los). According to the ancient authors it was a mountain range in the border area between Thrace and Macedonia. It is generally equated today with the modern Belasica. The name Órbēlos is probably derived from the ancient Thracian/Paionian toponym of the mountain, which means "shining mountain", from belos - "blazing" or "shining", and or - "mountain". It was known for its Dionysos cult.
Looking along the main ridge
One of many ruined watchtowers on the Bulgarian side of the ridge
View of Belasica mountain range from Lake Kerkini
View of Belasica from the Greek side during the winter
- Belasitsa. Tourist map, Sofia, 2006.
- Благоевъ, Т. А. Бѣласица. София, 1925.
- Динчев, Евг., Атанасов, П. Високите планини на Република Македония. Пътеводител, София, 1998, стр. 214–224.
- "Енциклопедия Пирински край". Том 1, Благоевград, 1995, стр. 78.