Andorra la Vella

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Andorra la Vella
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
Flag of Andorra la Vella
Flag
Official seal of Andorra la Vella
Seal
Position of Andorra la Vella parish in Andorra
Position of Andorra la Vella parish in Andorra
Andorra la Vella is located in Andorra
Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella
Location within Andorra
Coordinates: 42°30′N 01°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E / 42.500; 1.500
Country Andorra
ParishesAndorra la Vella
VillagesLa Margineda, Santa Coloma
Government
 • Cònsol MajorMaria Rosa Ferrer Obiols
Area
 • Total30 km2 (10 sq mi)
Elevation1,023 m (3,356 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total63,574[1]
 • Density741.87/km2 (1,921.4/sq mi)
DemonymAndorran
andorrà, andorrana (ca)
WebsiteOfficial site
 
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Andorra la Vella
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
Flag of Andorra la Vella
Flag
Official seal of Andorra la Vella
Seal
Position of Andorra la Vella parish in Andorra
Position of Andorra la Vella parish in Andorra
Andorra la Vella is located in Andorra
Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella
Location within Andorra
Coordinates: 42°30′N 01°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E / 42.500; 1.500
Country Andorra
ParishesAndorra la Vella
VillagesLa Margineda, Santa Coloma
Government
 • Cònsol MajorMaria Rosa Ferrer Obiols
Area
 • Total30 km2 (10 sq mi)
Elevation1,023 m (3,356 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total63,574[1]
 • Density741.87/km2 (1,921.4/sq mi)
DemonymAndorran
andorrà, andorrana (ca)
WebsiteOfficial site

Andorra la Vella (Catalan pronunciation: [ənˈdorə ɫə ˈβeʎə], locally: [anˈdɔra la ˈβeʎa]) is the capital of the Principality of Andorra, and is located high in the east Pyrenees between France and Spain. It is also the name of the parish that surrounds the capital.

As of 2011, the city has a population of 22,256, and the urban area, which includes Escaldes-Engordany plus satellite villages, has over 40,000 inhabitants.

The principal industry is tourism, although the country also earns foreign income from being a tax haven. Furniture and brandies are local products. Being at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 ft), it is the highest capital city in Europe and a popular ski resort.

History[edit]

Sant Andreu Church

The site of Andorra la Vella (literally, "Andorra the City", not "Andorra the Old" as is often misunderstood) has been settled since prior to the Christian era—notably by the Andosin tribe from the late Neolithic. The state is one of the Marca Hispanica created and protected by Charlemagne in the eighth century as a buffer from the Moorish settlers in the Iberian Peninsula.[2]

The settlement of Andorra la Vella has been the principal city of Andorra since 1278 when the French and the Episcopal co-princes agreed to joint suzerainty. Andorra la Vella's old town—the Barri Antic—includes streets and buildings dating from this time. Its most notable building is the Casa de la Vall—constructed in the early sixteenth century—which has been the state's parliamentary house since 1702. Andorra la Vella was, during this period, the capital of a largely isolated and feudal state, which retained its independence due to this principle of co-sovereignty.

Well into the twentieth century, the area around Andorra la Vella remained largely forgotten; indeed the state was not part of the Treaty of Versailles, simply because it was not noticed. After political turmoil in the 1930s and an attempted coup by Boris Skossyreff, an informal democracy developed.

In 1993, the country's first constitution formalised this parliamentary democracy with executive, legislative, and judicial branches located in Andorra la Vella.

During this period, Andorra also developed as a tax haven, resulting in the construction of modern banking offices in Andorra La Vella. The city also developed its skiing facilities, to the extent that Andorra la Vella was Andorra's applicant city for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, the 2010 Winter Olympics. However, Andorra la Vella was not selected by the IOC as a candidate city, following the evaluation report of an IOC commission. It also hosted both the 1991 and 2005 Games of the Small States of Europe.

Geography[edit]

Andorra la Vella is located in the south west of Andorra, at 42°30′N 1°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E / 42.500; 1.500,[3] at the confluence of two mountain streams, the Valira del Nord (Northern Valira) and the Valira de l'Orient (Eastern Valira), which join to form the Gran Valira. It adjoins the urban area of Escaldes-Engordany. The city is at 1,023 metres (3,356 ft) above sea level.

Climate[edit]

Andorra la Vella has an oceanic climate (Cfb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with mild summers and chilly to cold, snowy winters. The average annual precipitation is 899 mm (35 in).

Climate data for Andorra la Vella
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)5.7
(42.3)
7.1
(44.8)
9.8
(49.6)
12.2
(54)
16.0
(60.8)
20.1
(68.2)
23.3
(73.9)
23.0
(73.4)
19.7
(67.5)
14.7
(58.5)
9.7
(49.5)
5.7
(42.3)
13.92
(57.07)
Daily mean °C (°F)2.3
(36.1)
3.1
(37.6)
5.5
(41.9)
7.6
(45.7)
11.3
(52.3)
15.2
(59.4)
18.1
(64.6)
18.0
(64.4)
15.2
(59.4)
10.6
(51.1)
6.0
(42.8)
2.8
(37)
9.64
(49.36)
Average low °C (°F)−1.1
(30)
−0.8
(30.6)
1.2
(34.2)
3.0
(37.4)
6.6
(43.9)
10.3
(50.5)
13.0
(55.4)
13.0
(55.4)
10.8
(51.4)
6.5
(43.7)
2.3
(36.1)
0.0
(32)
5.4
(41.72)
Precipitation mm (inches)51
(2.01)
54
(2.13)
66
(2.6)
74
(2.91)
102
(4.02)
101
(3.98)
65
(2.56)
89
(3.5)
83
(3.27)
74
(2.91)
72
(2.83)
68
(2.68)
899
(35.4)
Source: Climate-data.org[4]

Subdivisions[edit]

View of Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany

The parish of Andorra la Vella is divided into the villages of Andorra la Vella itself, La Margineda and Santa Coloma.

Transportation[edit]

As a result of its population size and highly mountainous terrain, Andorra la Vella has no airport of its own, but has a heliport and is a three hour drive from the nearest airports at Toulouse (Tolosa), Girona, Perpignan and Barcelona.[5] It also has no train station, although there are bus shuttle services linking the capital to train stations at L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (France) and Lleida in Spain. There are also a shuttle bus from Barcelona, Girona and Reus' airports to Andorra la Vella.[6]

Demographics and language[edit]

Native Andorrans, who are ethnically Catalan, account for only a third (33%) of the population, with the plurality being Spanish (43%), and notable minorities of Portuguese (11%) and French (7%). Catalan is the official language, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also spoken. Most of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, with a high life expectancy of over 80 years.[7]

Sights and culture[edit]

Sant Esteve Church

The city's old town is characterized by old stone streets and houses. The central Església de Sant Esteve (Saint Stephen) church is part of the area that guidebooks often label as a picturesque part of the city.[8] This was built in a Romanesque style in the eleventh century. As mentioned earlier, the old town also includes the country's historic parliament building. Probably the oldest building in the city is another church, dating from the ninth century, of Santa Coloma.[9]

The city is the country's cultural centre, with the Government Exhibition Hall acting as a main theatre and museum. The piazza outside the parliament building is also the location of a number of events, and the town hosts a music festival every winter.

Economy[edit]

Andorra la Vella is the country's commercial centre. In the country as a whole, 80% of the GDP is derived from the 10 million tourists who visit annually.[10] The city is also the centre for the many banks and businesses that thrive from its tax haven status. The state is not a member of the European Union, but has a customs arrangement with the EU, and uses the euro.

Andorra la Vella high street

Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Andorra la Vella is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities[11] from October 12, 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:

References[edit]

  1. ^ PopulationData.net – Andorra
  2. ^ "History of the Principality of Andorra". Andorramania.com. 1997-12-11. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  3. ^ "NGA: Country Files". Earth-info.nga.mil. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Climate: Andorra la Vella". Climate-data.org. 
  5. ^ How to get to Andorra by Plane
  6. ^ How to get to Andorra by Bus
  7. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Andorra
  8. ^ "The beautiful Andorra la Vella". Eslteachersboard.com. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Andorra la vella travel guide". World66.com. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  10. ^ "CruisesOnly - About Cruising - Cruise Advice". Nlgsolutions.com. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  11. ^ "Declaración de Hermanamiento múltiple y solidario de todas las Capitales de Iberoamérica (12-10-82)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°30′00″N 1°30′00″E / 42.50000°N 1.50000°E / 42.50000; 1.50000