Ardennes

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The Ardennes (pronounced /ɑrˈdɛn/; Dutch: Ardennen) is a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and ridges formed within the Givetian (Devonian) Ardennes mountain range[1], primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching into France (lending its name to the Ardennes département and the Champagne-Ardenne région), and geologically into the Eifel. In Wallonia, the word 'Ardenne' in the singular is commonly used for the Belgian part of the region and in the plural for the French one. Ardenne is the origin of the great industrial period of Wallonia, the second of the world (18th, 19th and 20th centuries). In France, the word 'Ardennes' in the plural, together with the definite article, is commonly used to refer to the French Department of that name.

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Geography

Much of the Ardennes is covered in dense forests, with the mountains averaging around 350–500 m (1,148-1,640 ft) in height but rising to over 650 m (2,132 ft) in the boggy moors of the Hautes Fagnes (Hohes Venn) region of north-eastern Belgium. The region is typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers, the most prominent of which is the Meuse. Its most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium and Charleville-Mézières in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants. The Ardennes is otherwise relatively sparsely populated, with few of the cities exceeding 10,000 inhabitants with a few exceptions like Eupen or Bastogne.

The Eifel range in Germany adjoins the Ardennes and is part of the same geological formation, although they are conventionally regarded as being two distinct areas.

Geology

L' Ardenne (Wallonian spelling), is an old mountain formed during the Hercynian orogeny; in France similar formations are the Armorican Massif, the Massif Central and the Vosges. The low interior of such old mountains often contain coal, iron, zinc, and other metals in the sub-soil. This geologic fact explains the greatest part of the geography of Wallonia and its history. In the North and West of the Ardennes lie the valleys of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, forming an arc (Sillon industriel) going across the most industrial provinces of Wallonia, for example Hainaut, along the river Haine (the etymology of Hainaut); the Borinage, the Centre and Charleroi along the river Sambre; Liège along the river Meuse.

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