GEOPARC Bletterbach: UNESCO World Heritage - Aldino

Nature has its own way of proving its superiority over anything that Man can produce. It does not have to prove anything to anybody. However it has to remind Man every now and then that nothing can beat its creation. Natural land formations like gorges, valleys and canyons are proof enough that there is something supernatural about the way Nature goes on with its job.

Formation of the natural rock formation:

Years of seismic and volcanic activity has caused the formation of beautiful gorges some of which are found in Aldino (English: Aldein) and Redagno (English: Radein) range in Italy. These natural rock formations have deposits of Dolomite all over the place which enhances the beauty of these natural rock formations. The Bletterbach stream cutting through the rocks makes for heavenly viewing. The area abounds in fossils dating to the pre-historic which has made Man realize the importance of conserving this natural heritage. Hence UNESCO has taken this place under their wings and has declared it as a heritage site known as “GEOPARC Bletterbach”.

History beckons:

This place has a rich history dating way back to the Ice-Age about 15000 years ago and has been witness to many different eras the earth has seen. Weathering and erosion has caused this gorge formation. This area is spread over a sprawling area of approximately 8 kilometres. Volcanic activity over the years has resulted in deposits of layer upon layer of dolomites. The best way to enjoy the natural beauty is to walk through it and soak in the history of the place. This journey through the gorge and around the Bletterbach geological park offers deep insights through millions of years of geological history.

Insight into the ancient eras:

There is a difference in the way the rock formation has taken place in the Bletterbach as compared to other parts of the Alpine Range. In a stark contrast to the complicated situation in parts of the Alps, the strata here is absolutely intact and provides valuable information about the creation, and how the climate and environment was about 250 million years ago. One can see the tracks of the pre-historic reptiles very clearly in the Groden sandstone strata.

UNESCO has taken it as part of their responsibility to maintain the uniqueness of the place. The impressions of the parts of the plants as well as the traces of animal activity provide vital information about the flora and fauna. One can see the fossils of animals such as mussels, snails and the cephalopods give tremendous insight into the nature of life in the tropical seas at that point of time in history.



What can one find at the Gorge?

In a gorge of this magnitude, volcanic and seismic activity has resulted in deposits of various formations of rock deposits. Rocks of every shape and size can be found here.

  • Bozen quartz porphyry: Hot ash and lava erupting out of volcanoes over 250 million years ago has created this magnificent mountain range on the North African continental plate also known as the Bozen Quartz porphyry plate. This rock formation is dark reddish gray in colour.
  • Groden Sansdtone: This type of stone has been formed by the hardening of rock and years of beatings from heat, wind as well as water. Torrential floods resulted in deposits of layer over layer of rock over the years resulted in this beautiful formations today. These rocks have different hues on account of the deposits of different minerals. One can also find traces of animals as well as plants from the pre-historic period giving us valuable insights into the history of life on the Earth.
  • Bellerophon Strata: This formation has been in progress since the last 250 million years. Sinking of the land and advancement of the seas in those times resulted in build ups of gypsum which ranges from white to deep red in colour.
  • Werfen Strata: This bears evidence to the early part of the Mesozoic era when the sea was supposedly spread out in the westerly direction. This area is rich in fossils.
  • Contrin Strata: This is a calcium carbonate (Dolomite) rock formation caused at the summit of the Weisshom mountain range.

Time when one can visit the Gorge:

The gorge is open from the 01st of May to the 31st of October every year. The length of a normal tour is about 3 and a half hours right through the gorge. Guided tours are arranged by the tourism department. One has to register for a visit to this UNESCO Heritage site.

The completion of the Geo-Path:

The Geo Path was completed in the year 2003 and comprises of a walk right through the Bletterbach gorge. This is a walking tour which is about 8 kms long and about 400 metres deep. People with a sense of history would enjoy the tour tremendously.