Outstanding Universal Value


Few places on the planet offer the chance to read the last 250 million years of the Earth’s history with the rich detail, precision and continuity of information provided by the Dolomites. Fossilized in the rocks of these mountains, it is possible to recognise the different geological eras that followed one another here, including arid plains, tropical atolls, volcanoes and marine abysses. This has drawn academics and researchers from all around the world to the Dolomites since the dawn of geological science.

The Dolomites are of international significance for geomorphology, as the classic site for the development of mountains in dolomitic limestone. The area presents a wide range of landforms related to erosion, tectonism and glaciation. The quantity and concentration of extremely varied limestone formations is extraordinary in a global context, including peaks, towers, pinnacles and some of the highest vertical rock walls in the world. The geological values are also of international significance, notably the evidence of Mesozoic carbonate platforms, or “fossilized atolls”, particularly in terms of the evidence they provide of the evolution of the bio-constructors after the Permian/Triassic boundary, and the preservation of the relationships between the reefs they constructed and their surrounding basins. The Dolomites also include several internationally important type sections for the stratigraphy of the Triassic Period. The scientific values of the property are also supported by the evidence of a long history of study and recognition at the international level. Taken together, the combination of geomorphological and geological values creates a property of global significance.

Comments on recognition of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Dolomites for Criterion VIII “to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features”, as expressed in the Seville Declaration (Final Decisions of the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee – Seville, 2009, p. 187)
Monte Pelmo at sunset