The Dolomites, symbol of South Tyrol
Dolomite enthusiasts are enchanted by the amazing effects of the light on our mountains; at dawn they shimmer with light, and when the sun sets they turn bright red! At our offices, you can pick up information on the most famous massifs of the Dolomites, such as the Rosengarten, the Latemar, the Schlern, the Sella, the Langkofel, the Geisler, or the Fanes. Furthermore, in the Bletterbach gorge you can learn about how the mountains were formed and their history. The Dolomites are also known as the pale mountains as their colour is paler and brighter than the other mountains of the Alpine range!
The Dolomites –UNESCO world heritage site
In June, 2009, the Dolomites were claimed a world heritage sight by UNESCO. The protected mountains are the Drei Zinnen, the Schlern, the Seiser Alm, the Rosengarten, the Fanes-Sennes-Prags group, the Geisler group and the Bletterbach gorge. The reason given by UNESCO was the Dolomites’ “extraordinary and unique beauty”. The Dolomites are unique in their appearance and their geological history. They are a dream come true for Alpinists and nature lovers and a perfect biotope for wild animals and rare plant species.
The Dolomites – Homeland of the Ladins
Protected from external influences, the Ladins have survived to the present day in the Dolomite valleys. Their language is a blend of Rhaeto-Romance and popular Latin and is still spoken today. The Ladins live mainly in the four valleys of the Sella, namely Gröden, Fassa, Buchenstein, and Gad valley.
Origins of the Dolomites
The Dolomites are part of the eastern Alps. They are different from the rest of the Alps, as their rock composition comprises a particular and light mineral called “dolomite”. The entire Alpine arch, including the Dolomites, was formed by the clash of the Adriatic and the Eurasian plates, which caused the emersion of the mountain ranges. The diversity of the Dolomite rock formations is interesting to see. The Sella and Schlern massifs are large tablelands characterized by expansive plateaus, such as the Seiser Alm. In contrast with the tablelands are jagged massifs such as the Drei Zinnen and the Rosengarten, consisting of volcanic rock. Here, the rock is very brittle and exposes deep cracks and rounded surfaces.
A world of myths and legends: King Laurin and his kingdom
The legend of King Laurin, the legendary monarch of the dwarfs of Rosengarten, who was defeated in battle by Dietrich von Bern, belongs to the folk tales of the Alps. Tradition has it that in the “Gartl”, a deep gorge in the rocks, the king cultivated a marvellous rose garden. One day the king of the Etsch decided to marry off his daughter, Similde, and therefore invited all the nobles living in the area to take part in the May promenade. Only Laurin was not invited. He thus decided to don his magic cape, which made him invisible, and go to the venue just the same. When he saw the beautiful Similde he fell hopelessly in love with her and got onto his horse and kidnapped her. The knights immediately chased after him to save Similde. They were headed by Dietrich von Bern and his armourer, Idelbrando, and ended up at the foot of the Rosengarten.
King Laurin put on his magic belt, which gave him the strength of twelve men, and confronted the knights. But, when he realized that he was losing the battle he once again donned the cape which made him invisible and made his way through the rose garden. He was convinced that no one would see him, but the movement of the rose bushes betrayed his movements, and the knights tackled him, took his magic belt, and tied him up to take him to prison. Laurin then turned once more towards his rose garden, or “Rosengarten” in German, guilty of having betrayed him, and launched a curse: “May human eyes never see you again, neither by day nor by night”. But, he forgot to mention dawn and dusk, and for this reason the Rosengarten blossoms with the colour of the roses every evening and every morning.
Experience the Dolomites
Explore the fantastic world of the Dolomites by bicycle, Nordic walking, or by hiking along the many trails.