Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Andorra la Vella

According to abbreviationfinder, Andorra la Vella is the capital of the Principality of Andorra, 1,029 m above sea level, in the valley of the Gran Valira, (2019) 19,400 residents; Banking center, winter sports resort.

In the city center are the church of Sant Esteve (12th century, redesigned several times; inside baroque altarpiece) and the Casa de la Val (16th century, today seat of parliament); A popular photo motif is the sculpture “La Noblesse du Temps” by S. Dalí . To the south of the city is the church of Santa Coloma (10th and 12th centuries) with a round tower (11th century), to the northwest of the city in Pal the Romanesque church of Sant Climent.

In the Valira Valley near Encamp are the chapel of Sant Romà de les Bons (consecrated in 1163) with a triumphal arch decorated with frescoes, the ruins of the castle of the Counts of Foix and the Santuari de Meritxell, the religious center of Andorra (destroyed by fire in 1972, new building according to plans by R. Bofill, 1974-78), further up the valley near Canillo is the church of Sant Joan de Caselles (12th / 13th century; with retable, around 1525, and wall painting with stucco relief, 12th century). – Since the Counts of Foix and the Bishop of Seu d’Urgell shared rule over Andorra (history) (1278), Andorra la Vella has effectively acted as the capital, and since the constitution of 1993 also officially as the seat of government and capital of Andorra.


With an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of (2014) 35,786 euros per resident, Andorra is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. The most important industries are tourism and finance, which generate almost 80% of GDP. As a duty-free shopping paradise for luxury items (jewelry, leather goods, clothing, cosmetics) and the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees, Andorra attracts around 8 million tourists annually (mainly transit travelers and day-trippers). Another important source of income for the state, which largely grants its citizens tax exemption, is the banking system.

Only 0.5% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Due to the altitude, alpine farming with cattle and sheep farming predominates. Only 6% of the area is used for arable farming. The main crops are potatoes and tobacco. The construction industry employs around 9% of the workforce. In industrial production (4% of employees), tobacco and wood processing as well as the pharmaceutical and optical industries dominate. A hydropower plant covers around 16% of the domestic electricity requirement. The most important trading partners for goods imports (2015: 1.16 billion euros) and goods exports (80.6 million euros) are the neighboring countries of Spain and France.


Since Andorra is away from rail and air connections, the transport system is dependent on the road network (320 km). A new road connection to France was created with the 2.8 km long Envalira road tunnel completed in 2002. The nearest airport is in the Spanish city of Seu d’Urgell.


In the 8th century the Moors conquered the Andorran area, from which they were ousted by Charlemagne. Andorra, already mentioned in a Carolingian document in 805, was the subject of a dispute for centuries between the Spanish bishops of Urgell and the French noble family Castelbon (whose claims were passed on to the Count of Foix in 1206); a Paréage treaty concluded on September 8, 1278 (confirmed by the Pope) established a common rule. In the 16th century the rights of the Counts of Foix passed to the House of Albret (kings of Navarre) and in 1607 to France, which renounced them in 1793; Napoleon I. restored it in 1806. As part of a reform movement (1866–68), the General Council was introduced (the right to vote for heads of families, and only since 1970 for women). The paréage system, now divided between the Bishop of Urgell and the President of the French Republic, continued. The attempt of the Russian émigré Boris von Skossyrev when Boris I.Establishing an independent monarchy in 1934 failed due to mutual resistance from France and Spain. In 1981 state and administrative reform was initiated. With the entry into force of a democratic constitution in 1993, Andorra officially received its state sovereignty; on July 28, 1993 it became a member of the UN and in November 1994 of the Council of Europe. The head of government (Cap de Govern) Oscar Ribas Reig (* 1936), who was already in office from 1982–84 and again from 1990–94, was replaced in office in 1994 by Marc Forné (* 1946) from the Partit Liberal d’Andorra (PLA) (re-election 2001); In 2005 Albert Pintat (* 1943; PLA) became head of government. The April 2009 elections were decided by the Social Democratic Party (PS) among its top candidate Jaume Bartumeu Cassany (* 1954) for himself. He took up the post of head of government on June 5, 2009. His government failed in 2011 with its budget in parliament. After early elections on April 3, 2011, the DA politician Antoni Martí Petit (* 1963) became the new Cap de Govern. On January 20, 2012, an information agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany relating to tax matters came into force. In the parliamentary elections on March 1, 2015, the ruling DA party suffered losses, but won an absolute majority in the parliament with 15 out of 28 seats.

Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror (World Heritage)

The Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror allows a glimpse into life in the country’s past. It shows the different economic methods, ways of life and cultural traditions that have been adapted to nature, but also the climatic changes over the last millennia.

Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror: facts

Official title: Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror
Cultural monument: Cultural landscape with a total area of ​​around 42.5 km² (approx. Nine percent of the total area of ​​Andorra), located in the mountains, only accessible on foot; including houses, terraced fields, accommodation for mountain farmers and shepherds; Traces of iron smelting
Continent: Europe
Country: Andorra
Location: South Andorra
Appointment: 2004, extension 2006
Meaning: Exceptional testimony to the ways of life, economics, cultural traditions and climatic changes in the High Pyrenees since the 13th century.

Vall del Madriu-Perafita-Claror (World Heritage)