THE DOLOMITES – UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD
True beauty, so they say, lies in the eye of the beholder. Since time began, this incredible landscape with its pale mountains has always attracted admiring gazes. Whether magnificent rock faces or bizarre rock towers – the varied shapes of the Dolomites have an almost hypnotic charm which alters with the time of day and captivates visitors time and again. The Enrosadira or alpenglow that occurs every evening at dusk is a particularly dramatic spectacle: It happens when reflection of the sun’s final rays causes all the rock faces and summits to take on a spellbinding reddish hue.
“They may not be the highest mountains in the world, but they are the most beautiful” says mountaineering icon Reinhold Messner. A South Tyrolean by birth, he has conquered the world’s highest and most difficult summits over the course of his career, yet as a son of the Dolomites he cannot escape their fascination.
Reinhold Messner is not the Dolomites’ only admirer, however. When the sport of modern mountain climbing was born at the end of the 18th century, Paul Grohmann introduced the Dolomites to an international audience. Hailing from Vienna, he was the first ascensionist of the Langkofel in Val Gardena and of the Three Peaks in the Sesto Dolomites. He dedicated several books to the mountains he so loved. The ‘Pale Mountains’ became even more famous thanks to the films by and starring Luis Trenker, who was also a devotee of his homeland. Born in Val Gardena, Trenker was an architect, alpinist, actor, and film director. Even Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture, agreed with the renowned mountaineers: He described the Dolomites as “the most beautiful natural architecture in the world.”
DISCOVER THE DOLOMITES ON TWO WHEELS
You don’t need to be an experienced mountaineer or adventurer to discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites: road bikes, mountain bikes, and e-bikes also provide a wonderful means of doing this. This is because as soon as the snow melts from the legendary pale mountains, compelling bike tours await in the high passes of the Dolomites for all levels of ability and riding styles. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site on specifically-signposted trails and experience the majestic scenery of the Dolomites around Val Gardena by bike.
The beauty of the Dolomites has now also been officially confirmed: in 2009, this natural paradise was recognised by the United Nations as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a great honour for the five involved provinces of South Tyrol, Trentino, Belluno, Udine, and Pordenone. As such, the Dolomites are now recognised as one of the 199 most beautiful and precious landscapes in the entire world. The task now is to preserve and protect this heritage for generations to come.