The Vihorlat Mountains (Slovak: Vihorlatské vrchy) are the easternmost of Slovakia’s volcanically formed mountains. The Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area (PLA) was created in 1973. Although not large in terms of their area and height above sea level, the Vihorlat Mountains are impressive. The dominant rock is andesite, and in many places there are rock cliffs formed by ancient lava flows. The Vihorlat Mountains are one of the most forested mountain ranges in Slovakia, with 80% of their area covered by forest ecosystems. These include areas of primeval forest that are largely untouched by human activity. A highlight of the mountains is Morské oko lake, one of the largest non-karst lakes in the Carpathians. When viewed from Sninský kameň hill, it has the shape of an irregular five-pointed star. Straddling the border between the Pannonian and Carpathian bioregions, the Vihorlat PLA features around 400 species of fungi, 60 lichens, 110 bryophytes and 600 species of higher plants. The local fauna is also diverse, with around 100 species of birds nesting in the area and various carnivorous mammals inhabiting its dense forests.
The obverse depicts a European tree frog and dragonfly among water reeds. At the bottom right of the design is the Slovak coat of arms, with the year of issuance ‘2023’ positioned directly above it. The name of the issuing country ‘SLOVENSKO’ is inscribed along the upper right. At the bottom edge is the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint (Mincovňa Kremnica), consisting of the letters ‘MK’ placed between two dies, and to the left of it are the stylised letters ‘RL’, referring to the coin’s designer Roman Lugár.
The reverse shows a deer drinking at Morské oko lake and the resulting ripples on the water’s surface, all set against a mountain backdrop framed within a semicircular line. The coin’s denomination and currency ‘20 EURO’ are inscribed above the mountains. The words CHRÁNENÁ KRAJINNÁ OBLASŤ VIHORLAT (Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area) appear along the edge of the upper half of the coin, above the semicircular line.
|Composition:||.925 silver, .75 copper|
|Edge:||OCHRANA PRÍRODY A KRAJINY; a stylised flower separates the start and end of the text
(Nature and countryside conservation)
|Issuing volume:||3,200 coins in brilliant uncirculated quality
6,900 coins in proof quality
|Issuing date:||5 September 2023|