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The Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage is part of the Southern Alps and is characterised by the unique light Dolomite rock, which will instantly fascinate you on your holiday at our family hotel in Val Pusteria/Pustertal. It consists of fossilised coral reefs from the Triassic Age, which were formed about 250 million years ago. These reefs were formed by organisms and sediments in the tropical primeval Tethys Ocean.

The collision of the Adriatic and Eurasian plates pushed the entire Alpine region upwards, turning the Dolomites into mountains.

What is interesting is the different forms of rock formations in the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site, which you can admire up-close during your time out at Hotel Windschar, our wellness hotel in Val Pusteria/Pustertal. The Sciliar/Schlern and Sella massifs have the shape of table mountains, between which extensive plateaus like the Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm extend. In contrast to this are the extremely rugged massifs, such as the Three Peaks and the Catinaccio/Rosengarten. The reason for this is that parts of the rock are of volcanic origin. They weather more easily, creating fissures and rounded levels.

The Name

The name of the Dolomites and the name of the Dolomite rock derive from that of the French geologist Déodat de Dolomieu (1750-1801), who was the first to describe the characteristic rock. Before that, the name Monti Pallidi (Pale Mountains) was widely used. The actual "dolomite" described by Dolomieu is a mineral, a calcium-magnesium carbonate, which is contained in varying proportions in the whitish grey limestone sediments of today's Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site’s rocks.

The Language

In the once very inaccessible valleys of the Dolomite UNESCO World Heritage Site, a unique language has been preserved to this day: Ladin. It is a Rhaeto-Romanic language that developed from Vulgar Latin. Centuries ago it was widespread in the Alpine region, but today there are just a few Rhaeto-Romanic linguistic enclaves (Dolomites, Grisons).

The language border between German and Italian also runs in the Dolomite UNESCO World Heritage Site area, as you will see and hear during your summer holiday in the Dolomites or winter holiday in Val Pusteria/Pustertal. All three languages are therefore spoken in the South Tyrol’s Val Badia/Gadertal and Val Gardena/Gröden valleys.

The History

The Austrian-Italian border passed through what is now the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site between 1866 and 1918. South Tyrol, Trentino, Buchenstein and Cortina were Austrian. The mountain front ran here during the First World War (1915-1918), when Italy was on the side of the Entente. Traces of war can still be seen in many places, like the galleries driven into the mountains. The summit of Col di Lana is known to have collapsed due to blasting.

Today the Dolomite UNESCO World Heritage Site is located entirely on Italian territory, in roughly equal parts in the provinces of South Tyrol, Trient/Trento and Belluno, and equally enchants locals and guests at the Hotel Windschar, our wellness hotel in Val Pusteria/Pustertal, day in day out.


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