More than mountains: The UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site of the Dolomites.

For generations – if not for centuries – the Dolomites have held a special fascination unlike that of any other mountains. The legend of the Dwarf-King Laurin in the Rose Garden – part of the Old German Siegfried Epic – or the tragic stories of the War in the Dolomites between 1915 and 1918: The limestone mountains have had a profound impact upon the region, the inhabitants, and their history since time immemorial. In 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Nature Heritage Site. You can experience the wonder and the glory of the Dolomites in a variety of ways: You can take part in expeditions to the snowy summits, retrace the routes of legendary bicycle races along the Sellaronda, or delve into the history of the formation of the Dolomites at the spectacular MessnerMountainMuseum.   

The history of the formation of the Dolomites

The Dolomites are a range of mountains belonging to the southern Limestone Alps in Italy. The Marmolata (3,342 meters above sea-level) is the highest summit of the Dolomites. Other well-known summits or massifs include the Three Pinnacles, the Sella, the Rose Garden, the Schlern / Sciliar , and the Geisler Group – directly visible from the La Majun. The abrupt change from gently rolling alpine meadows and the steep reefs consisting of limestone and dolomite upon which they rest is characteristic. This characteristic is due to the pronounced layering of sedimentary stone and the lifting and sinking of giant blocks of stone over the course of geological eras. These massive blocks of stone were also flooded time and again by the ancient sea that existed in this area. This is why one can find layers of fossilized coral reefs – this mineral is referred to as dolomite. The name of the mountains and also of this mineral comes from the name of the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu (1750–1801). Until then, the Dolomites were simply called the "Monti pallidi" (i.e., pale mountains).

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