Monday, June 29, 2009

Dolomites: UNESCO World Heritage Site

On Saturday, these fabulous and revered mountains were distinguished as a World Heritage area by UNESCO. It took the commission less than an hour to weigh the decision.

These rose-colored mountains cross five provinces including Trento, Bolzano, Belluno, Udine e Pordenone. Now various cities are jockeying to host the UNESCO offices for this disinction, which will guarantee more tourism for their area, most likely. Will Cortina in the province of Belluno win, home to the 1956 Winter Olympics Games?

Some spokesmen, such as Reinhold Messner, are worried that the new flurry of activity will bring tourists who are just interested in the "post card" aspect of this natural treasure. These potential tourists/intruders may contribute to hurting the ecosystem and rock formations. I would like to hope that the new status brings extra respect and funding for all aspects of its safe-keeping.

Pictured here is one of the most famous sights nestled in the mountain chain: Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The Dolomites are the second park area to receive UNESCO's title in Italy, after the Eolie islands of Sicily and their naming officially places Italy in first place for the number of World Heritage treasures in one country. Naturally, the others are all cultural treasures, as in Venice and the city center of Florence.

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