The local area is renowned in geology for Solnhofen limestone. This is a very fine-grained limestone from the Jurassic period which is renowned for its role as a Lagerstätte that preserves detailed fossil specimens. Alois Senefelder used specially prepared blocks of the fine Solnhofen limestone for the process of lithography which he invented in 1798. The quarrying of this lithographic limestone subsequently yielded spectacular finds, including Archaeopteryx, commemorated in the bird's full name Archaeopteryx lithographica. All 10 known specimens have come from the Solnhofen area.
The Sola Basilica dating from the Carolingian period is one of the finest architectural monuments in Germany.
As well as celebrating its role as the "hometown" of Archaeopteryx, Solnhofen also commemorates the work of Alois Senefelder with a statue of the inventor, that was created by Hippolyte Maindron.
The Bürgermeister Müller Museum in Solnhofen displays the history of lithography, the story of the limestone quarries, and the spectacular fossil finds from the area, including the most recently discovered Archaeopteryx specimen.