Carpatii Orientali
The Eastern Carpathians extend from the Ukrainian frontier to the Prahova River valley and reach their maximum height in the Rodna Mountains, with Pietrosu rising to 7,556 feet (2,303 metres). They are made up of a series of parallel crests that are oriented in a more or less north-south direction. Within these mountains is a central core that is made up of hard, crystalline rocks and has a bold and rugged relief. Rivers have cut narrow gorges here (known locally as chei)--in, for example, Cheile Bistritei and Bicazului--and these offer some magnificent scenery. This portion of the Carpathians is bounded on the eastern side by a zone of softer flysch. For some 250 miles on the western fringe, the volcanic ranges Oas and Harghita, with a concentration of volcanic necks and cones, some with craters still preserved, lend character to the landscape. Sfânta Ana (St. Ana) Lake--the only crater lake in Romania--is also found here. The volcanic crescent provides rich mineral resources (notably copper, lead, and zinc) as well as the mineral-water springs on which are founded several health resorts. The Carpathian range proper is made up in large part of easily weathered limestones and conglomerates, which again provide some striking scenery. The Maramures, Giurgiu, Ciuc, and Bârsei depressions further break up the mountainous relief.

Carpatii Meridionali

or the Transylvanian Alps, also called Southern Carpathians, Romanian Carpatii Meridionali, mountainous region of south-central Romania. It consists of that section of the Carpathian Mountain arc from the Prahova River valley (east) to the gap in which flow the Timis and Cerna rivers.

Average elevation in the Transylvanian Alps is 4,920-5,740 feet (1,500-1,750 m). The highest point in Romania, Mount Moldoveanu (8,346 feet [2,544 m]), is in the Fagaras Range, southeast of the city of Sibiu. The total length is about 155 miles (250 km). The Transylvanian Alps include three groups of ranges. They are a higher, more continuous, and more impassable section of the Carpathians than the eastern and western segments and are broken only by four passes. There is one major intermontane depression, the Petrosani. The Carpathian ranges, formed in Tertiary times, are part of the Alpine-Himalayan system and of the eastern arm of the European Alpine fold chain.

Carpatii Occidentali
The Western Carpathians extend for about 220 miles between the Danube and Somes rivers. Unlike the other divisions of the Carpathians, these do not form a continuous range but rather a cluster of massifs around a north-south axis. Separating the massifs is a series of deeply penetrating structural depressions. Historically, these depressions have functioned as easily defended "gates," as is reflected in their names: the Iron Gate of Transylvania (at Bistra); the Eastern Gate, or Poarta Orientala (at Timis-Cerna); and, most famous, the Iron Gate on the Danube. Among the massifs themselves, the Banat and Poiana Ruscai mountains contain a rich variety of mineral resources and are the site of two of the country's three largest metallurgical complexes, at Resita and Hunedoara. The marble of Ruschita is well known. To the north lie the Apuseni Mountains, centred on the Bihor Massif, from which emerge fingerlike protrusions of lower relief. On the east the Bihor Mountains merge into the limestone tableland of Cetatile Ponorului, where the erosive action of water along joints in the rocks has created a fine example of the rugged karst type of scenery. To the west lie the parallel mountain ranges of Zarand, Codru-Moma, and Padurea Craiului; on the south, along the Mures River, the Metaliferi and Trascau mountains contain a great variety of metallic and other ores, with traces of ancient Roman mine workings still visible.

The Western Carpathians generally are less forested than other parts of the range, and human settlement reaches to the highest altitudes. The population maintains many traditional features in architecture, costumes, and social mores, and the old market centres, or nedei, are still important. Mining, livestock raising, and agriculture are the main economic activities, the last named being characterized by terrace cultivation on the mountain slopes, a survival from Roman times.