#AtoZChallenge: April 4, 2013 ~ Dolomites

Dolomites ~ Dolomiti ~ Dolomiten

 The Dolomites are an alpine mountain range of North-Eastern Italy, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.  It is said that part of the Dolomites are the last genuine wilderness left in Western Europe.  The North-Western part of the range lies in the autonomous province of Bolzano-South Tirol, itself part of the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige-Südtirol.  The Dolomites’s people have a long history and diversity of cultures and languages: besides the Italian and Germanic (Austrian) influences and traditions, the historic linguistic minority Ladin population, in a majority in some small communes of Val Badia, maintains a tradition and culture with roots in pre-Roman and Roman times.

The province of South-Tirol (capital Bolzano, or Bozen) exhibits a linguistic and cultural diversity unique in the European Union.  After WWII and a period of unrest and sometime violent protest, the province won its autonomy, enshrined in the Italian constitution, through an exemplary case of culturally sensitive negotiated compromise on the part of the Italian and Austrian governments.

The Dolomites, whose high peaks tend to be around 3,000m, host some of the best, and vertiginous, rock climbing routes of the Alps.  In winter there is a variety of skiing options, from beautiful off-the-track skiing to world-class descente and slalom pistes.  In Val Badia (Gadertal) Corvara hosts the annual Mens’ Slalom World Cup.

My Summer pics of Südtirol!