Musala (Bulgarian: Мусала; from Arabic through Ottoman Turkish: Musalla, "near God" or "place for prayer" is the highest peak in the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 m (9,596 ft). The summit of the Rila mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria, Musala is the highest peak between the Alps and the Caucasus and the highest in Eastern Europe bar the Caucasus. With a prominence of 2473 m, Musala is the seventh most prominent mountain peak in Europe.

Musala is situated within the Rila National Park, which is noted for its rich flora, including species such as Macedonian Pine and Bulgarian Fir in the forests on its middle slopes, and fauna; it is one of the easiest places in Europe to see the wallcreeper. All major mountain ranges of Bulgaria can be seen from the top; these include Vitosha to the northwest, Sredna Gora towards the northeast, the Balkan Mountains along most of the northern horizon behind Vitosha and Sredna Gora, the Rhodope Mountains to the southeast, Pirin to the south, Osogovo and Ruy Mountain to the west, and of course Rila.

A Cosmic Ray Station was built on the peak in 1960 with cooperation from the Hungarian Academy of Science. The station conducted scientific experiments using a muon telescope. The station was destroyed by an electrical fire on October 29, 1983.

With an average annual temperature of -2.3 °C Musala is the coldest place in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula. Temperatures stay below 0 °C for about 8 months each year. Due to this about 45 percent of the annual precipitation on Musala is snow, and snow cover lasts for about 200 days (more than six months). Three of the main rivers of Bulgaria, the Iskar, Maritsa and Mesta have their sources near Musala.

The next highest peaks in the vicinity of Musala are Little Musala (2,902 m) and Irechek (2,852 m).

Climate

Peak Musala has an alpine climate with cold, long winters and short, cool summers. Usually, through winter, the temperatures don't exceed the freezing point for months. Snow cover lasts for about 8–9 months. Through the summer, temperatures rarely go above 14-15C. The summer season only lasts for 2 months, and snowfalls are possible. For the period 1931-2013, the highest recorded temperature was 20.0 °C (68.0 °F), and the lowest - −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F). The average annual temperature is −2.5 °C (27.5 °F), which makes the peak the coldest place in Bulgaria.

Climate data for Musala Peak (2000-2013)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)7.0
(44.6)
8.0
(46.4)
12.1
(53.8)
13.7
(56.7)
12.6
(54.7)
16.5
(61.7)
20.0
(68)
18.7
(65.7)
16.4
(61.5)
14.2
(57.6)
9.6
(49.3)
6.8
(44.2)
20.0
(68)
Average high °C (°F)−8.2
(17.2)
−7.6
(18.3)
−5.6
(21.9)
−1.2
(29.8)
2.7
(36.9)
7.0
(44.6)
10.1
(50.2)
10.2
(50.4)
6.2
(43.2)
2.0
(35.6)
−1.8
(28.8)
−6.1
(21)
0.7
(33.3)
Daily mean °C (°F)−11.0
(12.2)
−10.6
(12.9)
−8.6
(16.5)
−4.1
(24.6)
−0.2
(31.6)
4.3
(39.7)
6.9
(44.4)
7.2
(45)
3.3
(37.9)
−0.7
(30.7)
−4.4
(24.1)
−8.6
(16.5)
−2.2
(28)
Average low °C (°F)−13.8
(7.2)
−13.6
(7.5)
−11.6
(11.1)
−7.0
(19.4)
−3.2
(26.2)
1.5
(34.7)
3.7
(38.7)
4.2
(39.6)
0.4
(32.7)
−3.3
(26.1)
−6.9
(19.6)
−11.0
(12.2)
−5.0
(23)
Record low °C (°F)−30.6
(−23.1)
−29.8
(−21.6)
−26.8
(−16.2)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−15.6
(3.9)
−12
(10)
−8
(18)
−9.8
(14.4)
−14
(7)
−17.5
(0.5)
−27.4
(−17.3)
−31.2
(−24.2)
−31.2
(−24.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches)126
(4.96)
110
(4.33)
130
(5.12)
128
(5.04)
119
(4.69)
105
(4.13)
80
(3.15)
56
(2.2)
47
(1.85)
72
(2.83)
88
(3.46)
115
(4.53)
1,176
(46.3)
Average rainy days10004897631039
Average snowy days1314171814521481315124
Mean monthly sunshine hours1141121401271681812502501821691281041,925
Source: Stringmeteo.com

Honour

Musala Glacier on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Musala Peak.