Balkans, a ridge or series of ridges of mountains in south-eastern Europe (anc. Hœmus; Balkan is Turkish for 'mountain'). They form the boundary between Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia, extending from Timok, SE. of Sophia, eastward to the Black Sea, and accordingly are the backbone of the joint principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia. The watershed between the Danube and the Aegean, they have a steep slope southwards, but northwards incline gradually towards the Danube. They are highest in the west, where the mean height is 6500 feet. The ridge is crossed by some 30 passes, of which the Shipka, between Kezanlik and Tirnova, and 4290 feet high, is the most noted in history - especially as the scene of severe fighting in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. - The term Balkan Peninsula, frequently occurring in connection with the evergreen ' Eastern Question,' is a usual name for the peninsula in South-eastern Europe running southwards between the Adriatic and the Aegean. The most convenient northern boundary is the Save and the Lower Danube; though historically and politically Roumania and some parts of the Austrian dominions are closely associated with the regions south of the Danube. Greece is a peninsula upon a peninsula, but is not usually accounted one of the Balkan States. In a general way the Balkan Peninsula and Balkan States cover the area of Turkey in Europe and the non-Turkish States either now or lately under Turkish suzerainty, with the exception of Roumania and Greece. See the articles Turkey, Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.