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Andorra [Country Flag of Andorra]


Andorra is a welcoming country between France and Spain, small in size but great on resources. Its attraction goes beyond highly appealing offers for skiing or adventure sports. Andorra also stands for culture and traditions and contact with its people who love their environment and healthy life Andorra is the Land of the Pyrenees!

Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, Andorra is a small state in the great frontier zone formed by the mountains. It has a surface area of 468 square kilometers. It has a population of 64, 479 inhabitants.

Climatic conditions have had a decisive influence in shaping the economic development of the country which began with animal husbandry and then turned to a textile industry which took advantage of the thermal waters. Now, it specializes in retail trade and the tourist activities which hold a special place in the Andorran economy.

Legend has it that Andorra was founded by Charlemagne in gratitude to the inhabitants of the valley who guided his army in the struggle against the Arabs. But actually, the 9th century deed of consecration of the cathedral at Seu d'Urgell already contains a list of the Andorran Parishes and indicates that they belong to the counts of Urgell.

The current political organization of Andorra dates from the 16th century. Over the years nothing, except the French Revolution, managed to change the situation of the Co-principality which was apparently established in 1159.

Travel Information

The Parishes of Andorra
The country is divided up into seven territorial entities called Parishes. All seven are well differentiated and each has its own Com˙ or municipal council. As they have grown economically and geographically, they have unique resources and possibilities. The seven Parishes are: Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana, Ordino, Sant JuliÓ de L˛ria.

Andorra la Vella
With 21,630 inhabitants, it is the most populous Parish and also the capital of the Principality. This is where the institutional and administrative buildings of the country are to be found. It is also the nodal centre for communications within Andorra and, of course, the centre for the commerce, services and culture of the country.

This parish is the one with the greatest surface area: 121 out of the 468 square kilometres which make up Andorra. It consists of the villages of Canillo, Soldeu, El Tarter, Sant Pere, Ransol, Els Plans, El Vilar, L'Aldosa, El Forn, Prats, Meritxell i Molleres. Canillo contains the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Meritxell, patron saint of the Principality, and also the famous Ice Palace of Andorra with a surface area of 8000 sq.m. and an Olympic size ice rink.

Soldeu-El Tarter is one of the largest ski resorts in the whole of Andorra with a tranquil, harmonious landscape and guaranteed snow throughout the season.

Encamp is the second largest Parish in Andorra by surface area and includes sizeable built up centres such as El Tremat, Vila, La Mosquera and El Pas de la Casa, the latter with a well known ski resort.

Until 1978, Escaldes-Engordany and Andorra la Vella formed a single Parish. The commercial centre of the Principality is a single road which bears two names: Avinguda Meritxell in Andorra la Vella and Avinguda Carlemany in the part located in Escaldes-Engordany.

Again it was a specific tourist product which made Escaldes-Engordany into an independent Parish: the spa waters which today still gush from public fountains at over 60 degrees centigrade. Taking advantage of this natural source of wealth, a great spa centre, Caldea, has been created and earned prestige worldwide.

La Massana
This Parish contains the highest point in Andorra: the peak of Comapedrosa at an altitude of 2947 metres above sea level. La Massana is also rich in rivers as it is crossed by the Northern Valira, the rivers of Arinsal, Pal, Montaner and a whole series of streams and affluents.

Pal, Arinsal, Erts, Sispony, L'Aldosa, Anyˇs and La Massana are the population centres in this Parish which also contains many pools and lakes, the richest mountain woods and the most notable flora and fauna in the country.

If Andorra la Vella or Escaldes-Engordany are the most lively and turbulent Parishes, Ordino is their tranquil and serene opposite, a haven of peace. Ordino contains five "quarts" or villages: SornÓs, Ansalonga, La Cortinada, Llorts and Ordino itself. This village was one of the most important frontier points in Andorra.

Sant JuliÓ de L˛ria
When you reach Andorra crossing the Spanish frontier, your first contact with the Principality is the Parish of Sant JuliÓ de L˛ria. There are great landscapes to be found and a striking series of churches and small chapels, in particular, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Can˛lich.

Historically Sant JuliÓ has been the centre of the tobacco industry, one of the most important in the country, and it contains the population centres of Sant JuliÓ de L˛ria itself, Bissisarri, Aixovall, Certers, Llumeneres, Nagol, Aixirivall, AuvinyÓ, Juberri and Fontaneda.

Perhaps this Parish has been the most zealous in maintaining its folklore. On the day of the Village Fete they dance the "Ball de la Marratxa" in which two men wearing top hats ornamented with multicoloured ribbons dance together with three ladies each. It has not been proved that the dance represents the two Coprinces dancing with the six Parishes (until 1978 Escaldes-Engordany an Andorra la Vella formed a single Parish), but that is what everyone believes.


Location: Southwestern Europe, between France and Spain

Area-comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Climate: temperate; snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers

Terrain: rugged mountains dissected by narrow valleys

Natural resources: hydropower, mineral water, timber, iron ore, lead


Population: 65,939 (July 1999 est.)

noun: Andorran(s)
adjective: Andorran

Ethnic groups: Spanish 61%, Andorran 30%, French 6%, other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic (predominant)

Languages: Catalan (official), French, Castilian


Country name:
conventional long form: Principality of Andorra
conventional short form: Andorra
local long form: d'Andorra
local short form: Andorra

Government type: parliamentary democracy (since March 1993) that retains as its heads of state a coprincipality; the two princes are the president of France and bishop of Seo de Urgel, Spain, who are represented locally by officials called veguers

Capital: Andorra la Vella

National Holiday: Mare de Deu de Meritxell, 8 September

Constitution: Andorra's first written constitution was drafted in 1991; adopted 14 March 1993

Legal system: based on French and Spanish civil codes; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Juli MINOVES-TRIQUELL (also Permanent Representative to the UN)
chancery: 2 United Nations Plaza, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 750-8064
FAX: [1] (212) 750-6630

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Andorra; the US Ambassador to Spain is accredited to Andorra; US interests in Andorra are represented by the Consulate General's office in Barcelona (Spain)
mailing address: Paseo Reina Elisenda, 23, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
telephone: (3493) 280-2227
FAX: (3493) 205-7705
note: Consul General Douglas R. SMITH makes periodic visits to Andorra

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red with the national coat of arms centered in the yellow band; the coat of arms features a quartered shield; similar to the flags of Chad and Romania that do not have a national coat of arms in the center


Economy—overview: Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 10 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of neighboring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited by a scarcity of arable land, and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.

Industries: tourism (particularly skiing), sheep, timber, tobacco, banking

Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes; 1 peseta (Pta) = 100 centimos; the French and Spanish currencies are used


Telephone system:
domestic: modern system with microwave radio relay connections between exchanges
international: landline circuits to France and Spain


total: 269 km
paved: 198 km
unpaved: 71 km (1991 est.)


Military branches: defense is the responsibility of France and Spain

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