DOLOMITES, THE, a mountain district in the South Tirolese Alps, though sometimes it is erroneously considered to form part of some other chain than the Alps. The distinguishing feature of this district is that it is composed of magnesian limestone, which rises in peaks of a most singular degree of sharpness and streaked by veins of the most startling colours. Nowadays it has become well known to tourists, who, however, keep mainly to a few great centres, though most of the more striking peaks were first ascended in the late sixties and early seventies of the 19th century by English mountaineers. Roughly speaking the Dolomite region lies between the Brenner railway from Franzensfeste to Trent (W.) and the road over the Monte Croce Pass from Innichen in the Drave valley by way of the Sexten glen and the Piave valley to Belluno and Feltre (E.). On the north it is limited by the railway line from Innichen to Franzensfeste, and on the south by the railway and road from Trent to Feltre. The highest summit is the Marmolata (10,972 ft.), but far more typical are the Sorapiss, the Cimon della Pala, the Langkofel, the Pelmo, the Drei Zinnen, the Sass Maor and the Rosengarten (see Alps). Among the chief tourist resorts are St Ulrich (in the Gröden valley), San Martino di Castrozza (near Primiero), Caprile and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Besides the Dolomites included in the above region there are several other Dolomite groups (though less extensive) in the Alps. N.W. of Trent rises the Tosa group, while in Switzerland there are the Piz d'Aela group, S.W. of Bergün on the Albula Pass route, and the curious little group N. of the village of Splügen, besides other isolated peaks between the St Gotthard and Lukmanier Passes. In Dauphiné itself (the home of the geologist Dolomieu) the mountain districts of the Royannais, of the Vercors, and of the Dévoluy (all S.W. of Grenoble) are more or less Dolomitic in character.
See J. Gilbert and G. C. Churchill, The Dolomite Mountains (London, 1864); Miss L. Tuckett, Zigzagging among Dolomites (London, 1871); P. Grohmann, Wanderungen in den Dolomiten (Vienna, 1877); L. Sinigaglia, Climbing Reminiscences of the Dolomites (London, 1896); The Climbs of Norman-Neruda (London, 1899); V. Wolf von Glanvell, Dolomitenfuhrer (Vienna, 1898); J. Ball, Western Alps (new ed., London, 1898, section 9, Rte. P. French Dolomites).
(W. A. B. C.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)