PEAKS OF THE DOLOMITES
The Dolomites are among the most rugged mountain chains in the world. They can be found in Northern Italy and are known as an area of outstanding natural beauty but also a rich cultural heritage. Three different languages are spoken in the valleys: German, Ladin and Italian. The Ladins are a small ethnic group just living in the Dolomites, their roots are linked to the Celtic-Roman inhabitants of the Alps during the Roman Empire.
On many photos of the Dolomites you will see villages, churches and meadows since often photographers don't leave the easy accessible valleys when taking their shots between these mountains. But in my opinion it's necessary to get close to the rock walls and towers to experience the real spirit of those mountains. Different to many other mountain changes the Dolomites are dominated by vertical rock sculptures. Like a petrified forest. The breath-taking artwork of endless years of erosion and other geological processes.
But so repellent the rock spires appear, so fascinating they are to humans. Already in the 19th century climbers started to conquer these peaks. Many of the early mountaineers also died in Dolomites. Cause in Worl War I the majestic mountains became the front line between Austria and Italy. Even the most inaccessible rock towers were fortified and thousands of Soldiers lost their lives. Very many also due to natural hazards like avalanches, death from cold or falling rocks. So the Dolomites are littered with barbed wires, ruins of military sheds and war tunnels still today - reminding us that those beautiful mountains were not always as peaceful as they seem to be today.