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The majestic Alps are one of the largest and highest mountain ranges in the world. An impressive natural wonder, they are home to sensitive ecosystems, amazing plant and animal life, and awe-inspiring landscapes. The region is also a settlement area to more than 14,200,000 residents, and is a popular tourist destination. It stretches approximately 190,700 square kilometers across eight European countries, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed 70 million years ago when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates merged.