The Dolomites (Italian: Dolomiti; German: Dolomiten) are a section of the Alps. They are located in equal parts in the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano-Bozen, and Trento (all in northern Italy) and extend from the Adige River in the west to the Pieve valley (Pieve di Cadore) in the east. The northern and southern borders are defined by the Puster Valley (Val Pusteria) and the Sugana Valley (Val Sugana).
The region is commonly divided into the Western and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Val Badia- Campolongo Pass- Cordevole valley (Agordino) axis. The range includes more than forty glaciers.
A tourist mecca, the Dolomites are famous for skiing and mountain climbing. The main centres include Aprons, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Arabba, Ortisei and San Martino di Castrozza.
During the First World War the line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the Dolomites. There are open air war museums at 5 Torri and Mount Lagazuoi. Many people visit the Dolomites to climb the Via ferrata. These are protected paths which were first created in the Dolomites during the First World War. A number of long distance footpaths run across the Dolomites; including the Alta Via 1.
The name "Dolomites" is derived from the famous French mineralogist Deodat Gratet de Dolomieu who was the first to describe the rock, dolomite, a type of carbonate rock which is responsible for the characteristic shapes and colour of these mountains.
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