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How the Rosengarten got its name

· 1 review · Report · Alpe di Siusi · March 19, 2019
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  • Photo: Erika Spengler, Outdooractive Editors

“Greetings from the Rosengarten” (German for rose garden) – If you send a postcard from your hiking trip in South Tyrol and use these words, the recipient might end up confused as the front of the card does not picture a nice rose garden. Instead, it shows an impressive and jagged mountain. Whenever people talk about the Rosengarten in South Tyrol, they talk about a mountain massif in the dolomites. But how did an alpine rock end up with such a beautiful and yet rather unfitting name?

The legend of King Laurin

A long time ago, a dwarf king lived at the foot of the grey mountain and ruled his people with an iron fist. He lived in an underground palace and his biggest pride was a magnificent rose garden that was surrounded by a silken thread instead of a fence. Woe unto those who tore the silken thread as he threatened to chop off a hand and a foot. The only thing missing from his fortune was a wife.

One day, the dwarf king heard that the “King of the River Etsch” wanted to marry off his beautiful daughter Similde and initiated a tournament for her admirers. Whoever would end up winning the tournament would get to marry Similde. King Laurin, however, did not receive an invitation. Thus, he decided to put on his invisibility cap to watch the tournament in secret.

After numerous diaphoretic fights, the two knights Hartwig and Wittich remained to fight for the hand of Similde. But before the last fight began, the daughter of the king had vanished. It did not take long until people suspected the dwarf king. Hartwig, Wittich and the infamous Dietrich of Bern, as well as a few brave men, set out to rescue Similde.

Der Laurin-Brunnen in Bozen: Dietrich von Bern im Kampf mit König Laurin
Der Laurin-Brunnen in Bozen: Dietrich von Bern im Kampf mit König Laurin

At the rose garden, Wittich could no longer contain his anger and angrily tore up the silken thread and trampled down a few roses. Enraged, King Laurin appeared to carry out the punishment, but Dietrich intervened. The king, however, wasn’t just wearing his invisibility cap, but also a belt that gave him the strength of twelve men. This aggravated the fight for Dietrich, but he realized that the moving roses showed him where Laurin was. He managed to remove the belt and the cap from Laurin and capture the dwarf king.

Thereupon, a giant gate in the mountain opened and the beautiful Similde appeared. She thanked the brave knights for freeing her, but she also told them to make peace with the king as he had treated her well. The knights followed her request and Laurin invited them to step inside his mountain palace. They were feasted splendidly, played songs and games. Late into the night, the dwarfs ambushed the knights, captivated them and locked them inside a dungeon. The knights, however, freed themselves and once again captivated the dwarfs.

Hartwig freed Similde and returned her to her overjoyed father, who immediately married them. Dietrich and the others rode back to Bern and took Laurin with them as a prisoner. As he took one last look at his rose garden, the dwarf exclaimed: “If those roses had not been, the knights would never have found me!” He cursed them so that from now on nobody would ever get to see them again –not during day or night. But he forgot twilight. And thus to this day, the rose garden “blossoms” during every twilight and the rocks shine in a rosy light that reminds people of King Laurin and his “Rosengarten”, which gave the massif its name.

Out and about in the Rosengarten

While searching for the blossoming rose garden of the dwarf king, you get to discover and get to know the impressive mountain landscape. Even while you might not encounter roses, the numerous tours speak for themselves. Hikes with breathtaking views, mountain tours via solitary paths and demanding via ferrata – there are many active nature enthusiasts in the Rosengarten. What is more exciting than a day in the mountains?

By the way, there is another linguistic approach to explain the origin of the name: It could derive from the old word “ruza”, which means scree. That, of course, sounds plausible, but it just does not sound as thrilling as the story of a dwarf and his magnificent rose garden.

Profile picture of Anne Habermeier
Anne Habermeier
Update: March 19, 2019

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Lena Wiesler
February 11, 2016 · Outdooractive Editors
Interessante Sage zu einem wunderschönen Gebirgsmassiv! Besonders bei Sonnenuntergang findet ein absolutes Naturschauspiel statt. Die Berge werden in herrlich rötliches Licht getaucht!
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