The Balkan Peninsula, popularly referred to as the Balkans, is a geographical region of Southeast Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the east of Serbia to the Black Sea at the east of Bulgaria. The region is inhabited by Albanians, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Croats, Gorani, Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, Slovenes, Romanians, Aromanians, Turks, and other ethnic groups which present minorities in certain countries like the Romani and Ashkali. The largest religion on the Balkans is Orthodox Christianity, followed by Catholic Christianity and Islam. The total area of the Balkans is 257,400 square miles (666,700 square km) and the population is 59,297,000 (est. 2002). The Balkans meets the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea on the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The highest point of the Balkans is mount Musala on the Rila mountain range in Bulgaria. The Balkans have been inhabited since the Paleolithic and are the route by which farming from the Middle East spread to Europe during the Neolithic (7th millennium BC). The Balkans are also the location of Europe’s first advanced civilizations, beginning with the Bronze Age in Greece around 3200 BC.