The Taamras or Taamra Range (Karolian: Taamrasais) are a range of mountains in Archanta covering the area including western Karolia, Meridonia, and eastern AR018. The range runs approximately 600km north-south and up to 200km wide, and form a Y-shape with Kiisjärlvi lake separating the two branches. The highest peak is Raadavarli (4802m) with several other peaks in the 3000-4000m range. The area is popular for winter sports and hosts the annual Karolian Mountain Games.
The Taamras range is the result of gradual tectonic activity in the continent of Archanta, pushing the northern and southern halves of the continent together and throwing up several mountain ranges. The fault line that created the Taamras is now dormant and continues south under the sea between Arnolein and Tunin. Glacial erosion over millennia has created both the lake areas centered around Kiisjärlvi and also reduced the height of the southern part of the range (although this area still contains several peaks approaching 3000m).
The foothills extend to Fontjana and the layer of hard rock that forms the Santjana-Osmila peninsula.
The range exhibits an alpine climate, with moderately warm summers and cold winters. Snow lies on the ground in medium-high lying areas from October-March and in high areas all year round. In winter most smaller rivers freeze and larger ones can be full of ice floes.
Several species of mountain goats are unique to the range, as well as other small mammals. In areas close to water the White Fish Eagle can sometimes be seen; although endangered, recent conservation efforts have managed to keep the population stable.
Culture and Tourism
The Taamras are a very popular area for winter sports and the majority of ski runs are usable nearly all year round. Over the last centuries the main resorts at Pekkamu, Raats-Szentmaa and Polha have grown from small villages to medium-sized towns, which has caused controversy over the rate of building works, pressures on infrastructure particularly during the Mountain Games (see below) and encroachment on alpine pastures. The main activity is skiing, although in summer many visitors also arrive to see the spectacular landscapes, walk the mountain trails and visit the historical castles and railways in the region.
Karolian Mountain Games
The Karolian Mountain Games have been held every year since 1968 in one of the main resorts in the region and include all main disciplines of downhill and cross-country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, curling, paragliding, bobsled, skating, fell running and white-water canoeing. The events are open to competitors of all nationalities. Due to the lack of a venue in the area, skating events are usually held in Vasantan or Gorjee where there are ice rinks.
Travel through the region was historically difficult and most long-distance journies avoided the area, instead going by sea. The local mining and mineral exports that began to develop around the mid-eighteenth century used the existing rivers to transport goods by barge, otherwise pack animals were employed to reach remoter areas. The ports of Samacja and Gorjee grew as a result of this trade, although Fontjana still relied mainly on wool exports.
Today there are several motorways and railways running through the area. The construction of the Vasantan-Gorjee rail line via a 15km tunnel in 1956 created the technology to allow subsequent tunnels to be dug between Gorjee-Polha and Polha-Riispere, the A6 (1981) and A26 (1995) motorway links and the concurrent A2 and Samacja bypass line (1999-2002). KR now run high-speed services to many destinations close to the ski resorts.
The Saisraud narrow-gauge railway from Riispere to Goslan is considered one of the great engineering feats of all time and facilitated the growth of both mineral trade and tourism in the area. The line took six years to complete, with the loss of 56 workers during the project, and contains 147 tunnels, 54 bridges, 7 360° loops including two double loops, and a 800m change in elevation between the highest and lowest parts of the line.