The history of the Schlernhaus
At the end of the 19th century, the German and Austrian Alpenverein (Alpine Club) (DuÖAV) had no interest in the buildings on the Schlern built for the “new tourists” (partly with women!). They were purists! At the same time luxury hotels were already being built in other places for this class of tourist. Santner-Hans (the first person to climb the Santnerspitze and its eponym and the first owner of the Schlernhaus) was also interested only in a hut for alpinists. He had not interest in any “tourist” objectives. He got his Santnerhanshütte that was completed and opened in 1885 (s. photo no. 1). It had a kitchen, two dormitories as well as an annexe for animals used for riding, bearers and guides. Altogether the hut offered accommodation for 50 people.
In 1896, the Kreuzwirt Christl Masoner from Völs (he also accommodated guests in Völs) built what came to be known as the Masonerhaus (no. 2) for the upper class of tourist. In 1897, the Bozen section of the DÖAV extended the Santnerhütte. (no. 3). For that reason, people often also spoke and still speak of the Schlernhäuser (Schlern Houses). In 1903, the DÖAV bought the Masonerhaus because of disputes and for health reasons. Out of the proceeds Christl Masoner bought his wife a farm in Völs. The Schlernhaus was finally completed in 1908 with the last additions (dining room, etc.)
In 1914 the Schlernhaus had to be closed because of the First World War. In 1918 the Bozen section broke away from the DuÖAV, set up the Alpenverein Bozen and continued to administer the hut. In 1923 Fascist Italy disbanded the Alpenverein. In 1924 its entire property, including the Schlernhäuser, was expropriated without any compensation. Since then, the Schlernhaus is owned by the CAI section of Bolzano and is under management.
The legend of the Rosengarten
Whoever has already once seen the Rosengarten glowing in the fading sunlight shortly before the cliff faces and pinnacles turn a pale grey, whoever knows this unique reddish sheen immediately believes the story that has been passed down in the vernacular! In the times when giants and dwarfs dwelt in the Dolomite Mountains, the Rosengarten was ruled by the dwarf King Laurin, whose numerous subjects were digging inside the mountain searching for gemstones and valuable ores. He had immense treasures hidden in the interior of the mountain. There was also a magic cap there that made him invisible and a belt decorated with gemstones that gave him the strength of twelve men. In front of his rock castle he fostered and tended a wonderful garden, encompassed by a golden silk thread, in which roses bloomed all year round. They exuded an enchanting fragrance that made everyone in their vicinity happy. Woe betide whoever dared to enter the garden or pick a rose!
One day he heard that the king of the river Etsch was thinking of marrying off his beautiful daughter Simild (or Simhilde). As many others, he wooed for her hand. He did not receive an invitation to the tournament. He therefore decided to go to the king’s castle protected by his magic cap and when he saw the beautiful princess Simild he was overcome by a great love for her. Unnoticed he approached her and abducted her to his castle while the other knights were busy with the tournament. She now lived in his underground crystal castle in the midst of immeasurable treasures, but she was sad and very homesick.
So it came about that the winners of the tournament, Hartwig and Wittich, asked the king of the Goths, Dietrich von Bern, for help. The latter rode to the Rosengarten with his men. They tore the golden thread and trampled the roses under foot. King Laurin dashed up in a rage on his little white horse in order to confront the wrongdoers. With the help of his magic cap and belt he was able to turn the battle in his favour to begin with, but when Dietrich tore away his cap and belt, Laurin lay helpless on the ground. He was led in handcuffs to Dietrich’s kingdom. Simild however was freed from prison. Without their king the dwarf people retreated to the corridors and caves of the mountain and were never seen again. But Laurin, knowing very well that he would never see his beloved Rosengarten again, pronounced a horrible curse that should eradicate the splendour of the roses forever! The Rosengarten should be turned to stone and should never be seen again, either by bright daylight or the dark night.
However Laurin had forgotten the twilight when casting his spell. And so sometimes at twilight the whole mountain group is covered with the colour of roses before the broaching night turns them again into the pale mountains.