Monte San Giorgio – UNESCO World Heritage

Highlights Ticino

The imposing Monte San Giorgio rises to an altitude of 1097 m between the two southern arms of Lake Lugano. This pyramid-shaped mountain is home to one of the world’s most important sites for marine fossils from the Middle Triassic, which dates back some 245 to 230 million years. The rich diversity of fossils led to the area being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

The Monte San Giorgio in the south of the canton of Ticino is covered in dense forest, which gives the mountain a picturesque backdrop. This natural landscape is home to numerous rare plant species, making the area an important ecological habitat. There are also various hidden caves to discover inside the mountain, revealing further mysterious facets of Monte San Giorgio.

Monte San Giorgio is therefore not only an impressive natural phenomenon, but also a treasure trove of the earth’s history. The combination of scenic beauty and scientific significance makes the mountain a fascinating destination for nature lovers, researchers and adventurers.

San Giorgio UNESCO World Heritage

Monte San Giorgio has been attracting fossil researchers since the 19th century. Numerous palaeontologists have already unearthed thousands of fossilized fish and marine dinosaurs here, some of which are up to six metres long. The reason for this lies in a sea basin that existed between 243 and 239 million years ago and was 100 meters deep. When the Alps formed around 90 million years ago, the seabed in the area of today’s Monte San Giorgio was pushed upwards and formed a mountain. Today, the mountain rises like a pyramid at the southern end of Lake Lugano and its interior is rich in fossils of all kinds.

Around 80 different species of fish and 30 species of marine and terrestrial reptiles were discovered at the numerous excavation sites. The researchers also found hundreds of fossilized invertebrate species and plants from the Middle Triassic period between 243 and 239 million years ago.

The fossil museum in Meride, which was rebuilt and extended by Ticino architect Mario Botta, presents a selection of fossilized animals and plants from the unique UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte San Giorgio. Illustrations, virtual animations and models vividly depict this long-gone world.

In addition to an excursion to Monte San Giorgio, it is worth taking a walk along the southern slopes of the wooded hill through the vineyards, exploring idyllic Meride or indulging in culinary delights in the grotti of the Mendrisiotto. There are many ways to discover the beauty and diversity of this region.

Video Live from the summit of Monte San Giorgio

Nature at Your Door goes on the road. Monte San Giorgio is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for the most important Triassic marine fossil bed in the world. It was a 7 mile round trip hike for me from Capolago train station and 2860 feet of elevation gain. View over Lugano Lake in the Italian speaking Canton of Ticino in Switzerland.

Live from the summit of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland :a UNESCO World Heritage site!

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