ANDORRA (/ænˈdɔːrə/ ( listen ); Catalan: , locally ),
officially the PRINCIPALITY OF ANDORRA (Catalan : Principat
d'Andorra), also called the PRINCIPALITY OF THE VALLEYS OF ANDORRA
(Catalan: Principat de les Valls d'Andorra), is a sovereign landlocked
microstate in Southwestern
Europe , located in the eastern Pyrenees
mountains and bordered by
France . Created under a charter
in 988, the present principality was formed in 1278. It is known as a
principality as it is a diarchy headed by two Co-Princes – the
Bishop of Urgell in Spain, and the President of
Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in
Europe , having an area of
468 km2 (181 sq mi) and a population of approximately 85,000. Andorra
is the 16th-smallest country in the world by land and 11th-smallest
country by population. Its capital
Andorra la Vella is the highest
capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 feet)
above sea level . The official language is Catalan , although
Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
Andorra\'s tourism services an estimated 10.2 million visitors
annually. It is not a member of the
European Union , but the euro is
the official currency. It has been a member of the United Nations
since 1993. In 2013, the people of
Andorra had the highest life
expectancy in the world at 81 years, according to
The Lancet .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 The Iberian and Roman
* 2.3 The Visigoths and Carolingians: the legend of
* 2.4 Medieval Age: The Paréages and the founding of the
* 2.5 16th to 18th centuries
* 2.6 19th century: the New Reform and the Andorran Question
* 2.7 20th century
* 3 Politics
* 4 Law and criminal justice
* 5 Foreign relations, defence, and security
* 5.1 Military
* 5.2 Police Corps
* 5.2.1 GIPA
* 5.3 Fire brigade
* 6 Geography
* 6.1 Parishes
* 6.2 Physical geography
* 6.3 Climate
* 7 Economy
* 8 Demographics
* 8.1 Population
* 8.2 Languages
* 8.3 Religion
* 9 Statistics
* 9.1 Largest cities
* 10 Education
* 10.1 Schools
* 10.2 University of
* 10.2.1 Virtual Studies Centre
* 11 Healthcare
* 12 Transport
* 13 Media and telecommunications
* 14 Culture
* 15 Sports
* 15.1 Major achievements
* 16 See also
* 17 References
* 18 External links
The origin of the word
Andorra is unknown, although several
hypotheses have been formulated. The oldest derivation of the word
Andorra is from the Greek historian
Polybius (The Histories III, 35,
1) who describes the Andosins, an Iberian Pre-Roman tribe , as
historically located in the valleys of
Andorra and facing the
Carthaginian army in its passage through the
Pyrenees during the Punic
Wars . The word Andosini or Andosins (Ἀνδοσίνους) may
derive from the Basque handia whose meaning is "big" or "giant". The
Andorran toponymy shows evidence of
Basque language in the area.
Another theory suggests that the word
Andorra may derive from the old
word Anorra that contains the Basque word ur (water).
Another theory suggests that
Andorra may derive from
meaning "The forest" (الدرة). When the
Moors colonized the
Iberian Peninsula , the valleys of the
Pyrenees were covered by large
tracts of forest, and other regions and towns, also administered by
Muslims, received this designation.
Other theories suggest that the term derives from the
Navarro-Aragonese andurrial, which means "land covered with bushes" or
The folk etymology holds that
Charlemagne had named the region as a
reference to the
Biblical Canaanite valley of Endor or Andor (where
Midianites had been defeated), a name also bestowed by his heir
Louis le Debonnaire after defeating the
Moors in the "wild
valleys of Hell".
History of Andorra
Roc de les Bruixes prehistorical sanctuary located in Canillo
Hannibal 's route (in red) during the Second Punic
War . The Iberian tribes (in green) fought against the Carthaginian
army in the Pyrenees.
La Balma de la Margineda found by archaeologists at Sant Julia de
Loria were the first temporal settled in 10,000 BC as a passing place
between the two sides of the Pyrenees. The seasonal camp was perfectly
located for hunting and fishing by the groups of hunter-gatherers from
Neolithic Age the group of humans moved to the Valley of
Madriu (nowaday Natural Parc located in
UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO World Heritage Site ) as a permanent camp in 6640 BC. The
population of the valley grew cereals, raised domestic livestock and
developed a commercial trade with people from the
Segre and Occitania
Other archaeological deposits include the Tombs of
and Feixa del Moro (Sant Julia de Loria) both dated in 4900–4300 BC
as an example of the Urn culture in Andorra. The model of small
settlements begin to evolved as a complex urbanism during the Bronze
Age . Metallurgical items of iron, ancient coins and relicaries can be
found in the ancient sanctuaries scattered around the country.
The sanctuary of Roc de les Bruixes (Stone of the Witches) is maybe
the most important archeological complex of this Age in Andorra,
located in the parish of
Canillo , about the rituals of funerals,
ancient scripture and engraved stone murals .
THE IBERIAN AND ROMAN ANDORRA
The inhabitants of the valleys were traditionally associated with the
Iberians and historically located in
Andorra as the Iberian tribe
Andosins or Andosini (Ἀνδοσίνους) during the VII and II
centuries BC. Influenced by Aquitanias , Basque and Iberian languages
the locals developed some current toponyms. Early writings and
documents relating this group of people goes back to the second
century BC by the Greek writer
Polybius in his Histories during the
Punic Wars .
Some of the most significant remains of this era are the Castle of
the Roc d'Enclar (part of the early
Marca Hispanica ), l'Anxiu in Les
Escaldes and Roc de L'Oral in
Encamp . It is known the presence of
Roman influence from the II century BC to the V century AD. The places
found with more Roman presence are in Camp Vermell (Red Field) in Sant
Julia de Loria and in some places in
Encamp as well as in the Roc
d'Enclar. People continued trading, mainly with wine and cereals, with
the Roman cities of
Urgellet (nowaday La Seu d\'Urgell ) and all
Segre through the Via Romana Strata Ceretana (also known as
THE VISIGOTHS AND CAROLINGIANS: THE LEGEND OF CHARLEMAGNE
Charlemagne instructing his son
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious
After the fall of the
Andorra was under the influence of
the Visigoths , not directly from the Kingdom of Toledo by distance,
but more particular from the
Diocese of Urgell . The Visigoths
remained during 200 years in the valleys, a period in which
Christianization takes place within the country. The fall of the
Visigoths came from the Muslim Empire and its conquest of the Iberian
Andorra remained away from these invasions by the Franks .
Tradition holds that Charles the Great (
Charlemagne ) granted a
charter to the Andorran people, under the command of Marc Almugaver
and an army of five thousand soldiers, in return for fighting against
Cerdanya ). The six old
parishes named by their patron saint as depicted in the Acta de
Consagració i Dotació de la Catedral de la Seu d'Urgell (839)
Andorra remained part of the
Marca Hispanica of the Frankish Empire
being overlordship of the territory the
Count of Urgell and eventually
by the bishop of the Diocese of Urgell. Also tradition holds that it
was guaranteed by the son of Charlemagne,
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , writing
the Carta de Poblament or a local municipal charter circa 805.
Borrell II , Count of Urgell, gave the Andorran valleys to
Diocese of Urgell in exchange for land in Cerdanya. Since then
the Bishop of Urgell, based in Seu d'Urgell, has been Co-prince of
The first document that mentions
Andorra as a territory is the Acta
de Consagració i Dotació de la Catedral de la Seu d'Urgell (Deed of
Consecration and Endowment of the Cathedral of La Seu d'Urgell). The
old document dated from 839 depicts the six old parishes of the
Andorran valleys and therefore the administrative division of the
MEDIEVAL AGE: THE PARéAGES AND THE FOUNDING OF THE CO-PRINCIPALITY
Sant Joan de Caselles
Sant Joan de Caselles church, dating from the 11th century, part
of the Andorran Romanesque heritage
Andorra did not have any type of military protection and
the Bishop of Urgell, who knew that the
Count of Urgell wanted to
reclaim the Andorran valleys, asked the
Lord of Caboet for help and
protection. In 1095 the
Lord of Caboet and the
Bishop of Urgell signed
under oath a declaration of their co-sovereignty over Andorra.
Arnalda, daughter of Arnau of Caboet, married the Viscount of
Castellbò and both became Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya. Years
later their daughter, Ermessenda, married Roger Bernat II , the
Count of Foix . They became Roger Bernat II and Ermessenda I,
Counts of Foix, Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya, and
Andorra (shared with the Bishop of Urgell).
In the 13th century, a military dispute arose between the Bishop of
Urgell and the
Count of Foix as aftermath of the
Cathar Crusade . The
conflict was resolved in 1278 with the mediation of the king of Aragon
, Pere II between the Bishop and the Count, by the signing of the
first paréage which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared
between the count of Foix (whose title would ultimately transfer to
the French head of state) and the Bishop of Urgell, in
This gave the principality its territory and political form.
Monument commemorating in 1978 the 700th anniversary of the Paréages,
Casa de la Vall
Casa de la Vall in the capital city of
Vella Apse fresco of Sant Miquel d\'Engolasters church painted
by Mestre de Santa Coloma during the 12th century.
A second paréage was signed in 1288 after a dispute when the Count
of Foix ordered the construction of a castle in Roc d'Enclar. The
document was ratified by the noble notary Jaume Orig of
the construction of military structures in the country was prohibited.
In 1364 the political organization of the country named the figure of
the syndic (now spokesman and president of the parliament) as
representative of the Andorrans to their co-princes making possible
the creation of local departments (comuns, quarts and veïnats). After
being ratified by the Bishop Francesc Tovia and the Count Jean I , the
Consell de la Terra or Consell General de les Valls (General Council
of the Valleys) was founded in 1419, the second oldest parliament in
Europe. The syndic Andreu d'Alàs and the General Council organized
the creation of the Justice Courts (La Cort de Justicia) in 1433 with
the Co-Princes and the collection of taxes like foc i lloc (literally
fire and site, a national tax active since then).
Although we can find remains of ecclesiastical works dating before
the 9th century (Sant Vicenç d'Enclar or
Església de Santa Coloma ),
Andorra developed an exquisite Romanesque Art during the 9th and 14th
centuries, as much in the construction of churches, bridges, religious
murals and statues of the
Virgin and Child (being the most important
Our Lady of Meritxell
Our Lady of Meritxell ). Nowadays, the Romanesque buildings that
form part of Andorra\'s cultural heritage stand out in a remarkable
way, with an emphasis on
Església de Sant Esteve , Sant Joan de
Caselles , Església de Sant Miquel d\'Engolasters , Sant Martí de la
Cortinada and the medieval bridges of Margineda and Escalls among many
While the Catalan
Pyrenees were embryonic of the
Catalan language at
the end of the 11th century
Andorra was influenced by the appearance
of that language where it was adopted by proximity and influence even
decades before it was expanded by the rest of the Kingdom of Aragon.
The local population based its economy during the Middle Ages in the
livestock and agriculture, as well as in furs and weavers. Later, at
the end of the 11th century, the first foundries of iron began to
appear in Northern Parishes like
Ordino , much appreciated by the
master artisans who developed the art of the forges, an important
economic activity in the country from the 15th century.
16TH TO 18TH CENTURIES
Main hall of Tribunal de Corts (High Court of Justice) inside
Casa de la Vall
Casa de la Vall , the central Judiciary Court of
In 1601 the Tribunal de Corts (High Court of Justice) was created as
a result of
Huguenot rebellions from France, Inquisition courts coming
Spain and indigenous witchcraft experienced in the country due to
Reformation and Counter-
Reformation . With the passage of
time, the co-title to
Andorra passed to the kings of Navarre . After
Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV of
France , he issued an edict
in 1607, that established the head of the French state and the Bishop
of Urgell as
Co-Princes of Andorra . During 1617 communal councils
form the sometent (popular militia or army) to deal with the rise of
bandolerisme (brigandage ) and the Consell de la Terra was defined and
structured in terms of its composition, organization and competences
current today .
Andorra continues with the same economic system that it had during
the 12th-14th centuries with a large production of metallurgy
(fargues, a system similar to Farga catalana) and with the
introduction of tobacco circa 1692 and import trade. The fair of
Andorra la Vella was ratified by the co-princes in 1371 and 1448 being
the most important annual national festival commercially ever since.
Manor house of Rossell family in
Casa Rossell , built
in 1611. The family owned in 1619 also the largest ironwork forges in
Andorra as Farga Rossell and Farga del Serrat.
The country had a unique and experienced guild of weavers, Confraria
de Paraires i Teixidors, located in
Escaldes-Engordany founded in 1604
taking advantage of the thermal waters of the area. By the time the
country constitutes the social system of prohoms (wealthy society) and
casalers (rest of the population with smaller economic acquisition),
deriving to the tradition of pubilla and hereu .
Three centuries after its foundation the Consell de la Terra locates
its headquarters and the Tribunal de Corts in
Casa de la Vall
Casa de la Vall in 1702.
The manor house built in 1580 served as a noble fortress of the
Busquets family. Inside the parliament was placed the Closet of the
six keys (Armari de les sis claus) representative of each Andorran
parish and where the
Andorran constitution and other documents and
laws were kept later on.
Guerra dels Segadors and Guerra de Sucesión Española
conflicts, the Andorran people (although with the statement neutral
country) supported the
Catalans who saw their rights reduced in 1716 .
The reaction was the promotion of Catalan writings in Andorra, with
cultural works such as the
Book of Privileges (Llibre de Privilegis de
1674), Manual Digest (1748) by Antoni Fiter i Rossell or the Polità
andorrà (1763) by Antoni Puig.
19TH CENTURY: THE NEW REFORM AND THE ANDORRAN QUESTION
Portrait of Guillem d\'Areny-Plandolit , nobleman and politician
who promoted the New Reform in 1866
After the French Revolution Napoleon I reestablished in 1809 the
Co-Principate and deleted the French medieval tithe. Although in
First French Empire
First French Empire annexed
Catalonia during the
Peninsular War (Guerra del francés) and divided it in four
départements , with
Andorra being made part of the district of
Puigcerdà (département of
Sègre ). In 1814 a royal decree
reestablished the independence and economy of Andorra.
Andorra retained its late medieval institutions and rural culture
largely unchanged during this period. In 1866 the syndic Guillem
d\'Areny-Plandolit lead the reformist group in a Council General of 24
members, elected by suffrage limited to heads of families, replaced
the aristocratic oligarchy that previously ruled the state. The New
Reform (Nova Reforma or Pla de Reforma) began after being ratified by
both Co-Princes and established the basis of the constitution and
symbols (such as the tricolor flag ) of Andorra. A new service economy
arise as a demand of the inhabitants of the valleys and began to build
infrastructures such as hotels, spa resorts, roads and telegraph
lines. Illustration of a scene from the streets of Canillo
during the Revolution of 1881.
The authorities of the Co-Princes (veguer) banned casinos and betting
houses throughout the country by establishing an economic conflict
with the demand of the Andorran people. The conflict led to the
so-called Revolution of 1881 or Troubles of Andorra, when
revolutionaries assaulted the house of the syndic during 8 December
1880 and established the Provisional Revolutionary Council led by Joan
Pla i Calvo and Pere Baró i Mas, who granted the construction of
casinos and spas to foreign companies. During 7 and 9 June 1881, the
Encamp reconquered the parishes of
Massana by establishing contact with the revolutionary forces in
Escaldes-Engordany . After a day of combat finally the Treaty of the
Bridge of Escalls was signed the 10 of June. The Council was
replaced and new elections were made but the economic situation
worsened with a divided society: the Qüestió d'
Andorra (the Andorran
Question in relation to the
Eastern Question ). The struggles
continued between pro-bishops, pro-French and nationalists who derived
the troubles of
Canillo in 1882 and 1885.
Andorra participated in the cultural movement of the Catalan
Renaixença . Between 1882 and 1887 the first academic schools were
formed where trilingualism coexists with the knowledge of the official
language, Catalan. Some romantic authors from both
France and Spain
reported the awakening of the national consciousness of the country.
Jacint Verdaguer lived in
Ordino during the 1880s where he wrote and
share works related to the
Renaixença with Joaquim de Riba , writer
Fromental Halévy , for his part, had already
premiered in 1848 the opera Le Val d\'Andorre of great success in
Europe, where the national consciousness of the valleys during the
Peninsular War was exposed in the romantic work.
Boris Skossyreff , briefly self-proclaimed "King of Andorra" in
Andorra declared war on
Imperial Germany during World War I, but did
not actually take part in the fighting. It remained in an official
state of belligerency until 1958 as it was not included in the Treaty
of Versailles .
Andorra following social unrest which
occurred before elections. On 12 July 1934, adventurer Boris
Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgell, declaring himself "Boris
I, King of Andorra", simultaneously declaring war on the Bishop of
Urgell. He was arrested by the Spanish authorities on 20 July and
ultimately expelled from
Spain . From 1936 until 1940, a French
military detachment was garrisoned in
Andorra to secure the
principality against disruption from the
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War and
Spain . Francoist troops reached the Andorran border in the
later stages of the war. During World War II,
Andorra remained neutral
and was an important smuggling route between Vichy
Given its relative isolation,
Andorra has existed outside the
mainstream of European history, with few ties to countries other than
Portugal . In recent times, however, its thriving
tourist industry along with developments in transport and
communications have removed the country from its isolation. Its
political system was modernised in 1993, when it became a member of
United Nations and the Council of
Politics of Andorra JOAN ENRIC VIVES I SICíLIA
– current episcopal Co-
Prince of Andorra since 12 May 2003
– current French Co-
Prince of Andorra since 14 May 2017
Andorra is a parliamentary co-principality with the President of
France and the Catholic
Bishop of Urgell (
Spain ) as
Co-Princes . This peculiarity makes the President of France, in his
Prince of Andorra , an elected reigning monarch, although
he is not elected by a popular vote of the Andorran people. The
Andorra take place in a framework of a parliamentary
representative democracy , whereby the Head of Government is the chief
executive , and of a pluriform multi-party system.
The current Head of Government is
Antoni Martí of the Democrats for
Executive power is exercised by the government.
Legislative power is vested in both government and parliament.
The Parliament of
Andorra is known as the General Council. The
General Council consists of between 28 and 42 Councillors. The
Councillors serve for four-year terms, and elections are held between
the 30th and 40th days following the dissolution of the previous
Half are elected in equal numbers by each of the seven administrative
parishes, and the other half of the Councillors are elected in a
single national constituency. Fifteen days after the election, the
Councillors hold their inauguration. During this session, the Syndic
General, who is the head of the General Council, and the Subsyndic
General, his assistant, are elected. Eight days later, the Council
convenes once more. During this session the Head of Government is
chosen from among the Councillors. Casa de la Vall, Andorran
Candidates can be proposed by a minimum of one-fifth of the
Councillors. The Council then elects the candidate with the absolute
majority of votes to be Head of Government. The
Syndic General then
notifies the Co-Princes, who in turn appoint the elected candidate as
the Head of Government of Andorra. The General Council is also
responsible for proposing and passing laws. Bills may be presented to
the Council as Private Members' Bills by three of the local Parish
Councils jointly or by at least one tenth of the citizens of Andorra.
The Council also approves the annual budget of the principality. The
government must submit the proposed budget for parliamentary approval
at least two months before the previous budget expires. If the budget
is not approved by the first day of the next year, the previous budget
is extended until a new one is approved. Once any bill is approved,
Syndic General is responsible for presenting it to the Co-Princes
so that they may sign and enact it.
If the Head of Government is not satisfied with the Council, he may
request that the Co-Princes dissolve the Council and order new
elections. In turn, the Councillors have the power to remove the Head
of Government from office. After a motion of censure is approved by at
least one-fifth of the Councillors, the Council will vote and if it
receives the absolute majority of votes, the Head of Government is
LAW AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The judiciary is composed of the Magistrates Court, the Criminal Law
Court, the High Court of Andorra, and the Constitutional Court. The
High Court of Justice is composed of five judges: one appointed by the
Head of Government, one each by the Co-Princes, one by the Syndic
General, and one by the Judges and Magistrates. It is presided over by
the member appointed by the
Syndic General and the judges hold office
for six-year terms.
The Magistrates and Judges are appointed by the High Court, as is the
President of the Criminal Law Court. The High Court also appoints
members of the Office of the Attorney General. The Constitutional
Court is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and reviewing
all appeals of unconstitutionality against laws and treaties. It is
composed of four judges, one appointed by each of the Co-Princes and
two by the General Council. They serve eight-year terms. The Court is
presided over by one of the Judges on a two-year rotation so that each
judge at one point will preside over the Court.
FOREIGN RELATIONS, DEFENCE, AND SECURITY
Foreign relations of Andorra The embassy of
Andorra does not have its own armed forces, although there is a
small ceremonial army. Responsibility for defending the nation rests
Spain . However, in case of emergencies or
natural disasters, the Sometent (an alarm) is called and all
able-bodied men between 21 and 60 of Andorran nationality must serve.
This is why all Andorrans, and especially the head of each house
(usually the eldest able-bodied man of a house) should, by law, keep a
rifle, even though the law also states that the police will offer a
firearm in case of need.
Andorra is a full member of the United
Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE), and has a special agreement with the
European Union (EU).
Andorra has a small army, which has historically been raised or
reconstituted at various dates, but has never in modern times amounted
to a standing army. The basic principle of Andorran defence is that
all able-bodied men are available to fight if called upon by the
sounding of the Sometent. Being a landlocked country ,
Andorra has no
World War I
World War I
Andorra maintained an armed force of about 600
part-time militiamen. This body was not liable for service outside the
principality and was commanded by two officials (viguiers) appointed
France and the Bishop of Urgell.
Despite not being involved in any fighting during the First World War
Andorra was technically the longest combatant, as the country was
left out of the
Versailles Peace Conference , technically remaining at
Germany from its original declaration of war in 1914 until 24
September 1958 when
Andorra officially declared peace with Germany.
In the modern era, the army has consisted of a very small body of
volunteers willing to undertake ceremonial duties. Uniforms were
handed down from generation to generation within families and
The army's role in internal security was largely taken over by the
formation of the
Police Corps of Andorra in 1931. Brief civil disorder
associated with the elections of 1933 led to assistance being sought
from the French
National Gendarmerie , with a detachment resident in
Andorra for two months under the command of René-Jules Baulard. The
Andorran Army was reformed in the following year, with eleven soldiers
appointed to supervisory roles. The force consisted of six Corporals
, one for each parish (although there are currently seven parishes,
there were only six until 1978), plus four junior staff officers to
co-ordinate action, and a commander with the rank of major. It was the
responsibility of the six corporals, each in his own parish, to be
able to raise a fighting force from among the able-bodied men of the
Today a small, twelve-man ceremonial unit remains the only permanent
section of the Andorran Army, but all able-bodied men remain
technically available for military service, with a requirement for
each family to have access to a firearm. The army has not fought for
more than 700 years, and its main responsibility is to present the
Andorra at official ceremonial functions. According to Marc
Forné Molné , Andorra's military budget is strictly from voluntary
donations, and the availability of full-time volunteers.
The myth that all members of the Andorran Army are ranked as officers
is popularly maintained in many works of reference. In reality, all
those serving in the permanent ceremonial reserve hold ranks as
officers , or non-commissioned officers , because the other ranks are
considered to be the rest of the able-bodied male population, who may
still be called upon by the Sometent to serve, although such a call
has not been made in modern times.
Police Corps of Andorra
Andorra maintains a small but modern and well-equipped internal
police force, with around 240 police officers supported by civilian
assistants. The principal services supplied by the corps are uniformed
community policing, criminal detection, border control, and traffic
policing. There are also small specialist units including police dogs,
mountain rescue, and a bomb disposal team.
The Grup d'Intervenció Policia d'
Andorra (GIPA) is a small special
forces unit trained in counter-terrorism , and hostage recovery tasks.
Although it is the closest in style to an active military force, it is
part of the Police Corps , and not the army . As terrorist and hostage
situations are a rare threat to the nation, the GIPA is commonly
assigned to prisoner escort duties, and at other times to routine
The Andorran Fire Brigade, with headquarters at Santa Coloma ,
operates from four modern fire stations, and has a staff of around 120
firefighters. The service is equipped with 16 heavy appliances (fire
tenders, turntable ladders, and specialist four-wheel drive vehicles),
four light support vehicles (cars and vans) and four ambulances.
Historically, the families of the six ancient parishes of Andorra
maintained local arrangements to assist each other in fighting fires.
The first fire pump purchased by the government was acquired in 1943.
Serious fires which lasted for two days in December 1959 led to calls
for a permanent fire service, and the Andorran Fire Brigade was formed
on 21 April 1961.
The fire service maintains full-time cover with five fire crews on
duty at any time – two at the brigade's headquarters in Santa
Coloma, and one crew at each of the other three fire stations.
Andorra with its seven parishes labelled Main articles:
Geography of Andorra and
Geology of Andorra
Parishes of Andorra
Andorra consists of seven parishes:
Andorra la Vella
Sant Julià de Lòria
Scenery of Andorran mountains Topographic map of
Due to its location in the eastern
Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra
consists predominantly of rugged mountains, the highest being the Coma
Pedrosa at 2,942 metres (9,652 ft), and the average elevation of
Andorra is 1,996 metres (6,549 ft). These are dissected by three
narrow valleys in a Y shape that combine into one as the main stream,
Gran Valira river, leaves the country for
Spain (at Andorra's
lowest point of 840 m or 2,756 ft). Andorra's land area is 468 km2
(181 sq mi).
Andorra belongs to the Atlantic European
province of the
Circumboreal Region within the
Boreal Kingdom .
According to the WWF , the territory of
Andorra belongs to the
Pyrenees conifer and mixed forests.
Andorra has an alpine climate and continental climate . Its higher
elevation means there is, on average, more snow in winter, lower
humidity, and it is slightly cooler in summer.
Economy of Andorra Exports in 2009
Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts
for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 10.2 million tourists visit
annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer
and winter resorts.
One of the main sources of income in
Andorra is tourism from ski
resorts which total over 175 km (109 mi) of ski ground. The sport
brings in over 7 million visitors and an estimated 340 million euros
per year, sustaining 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs at present.
The banking sector, with its tax haven status, also contributes
substantially to the economy (the financial and insurance sector
accounts for approximately 19% of GDP ). The financial system
comprises five banking groups, one specialised credit entity, 8
investment undertaking management entities, 3 asset management
companies and 29 insurance companies, 14 of which are branches of
foreign insurance companies authorised to operate in the principality.
Agricultural production is limited—only 2% of the land is
arable—and most food has to be imported. Some tobacco is grown
locally. The principal livestock activity is domestic sheep raising.
Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and
furniture. Andorra's natural resources include hydroelectric power,
mineral water, timber, iron ore, and lead.
Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but enjoys a special
relationship with it, such as being treated as an EU member for trade
in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for
Andorra lacked a currency of its own and used
French franc and the
Spanish peseta in banking transactions
until 31 December 1999, when both currencies were replaced by the EU's
single currency, the euro. Coins and notes of both the franc and the
peseta remained legal tender in
Andorra until 31 December 2002.
Andorra negotiated to issue its own euro coins, beginning in 2014.
Andorra has traditionally had one of the world's lowest unemployment
rates. In 2009 it stood at 2.9%.
Andorra has long benefited from its status as a tax haven, with
revenues raised exclusively through import tariffs. However, during
European sovereign-debt crisis of the 21st century, its tourist
economy suffered a decline, partly caused by a drop in the prices of
Spain , which undercut Andorran duty-free shopping . This led
to a growth in unemployment. On 1 January 2012, a business tax of 10%
was introduced, followed by a sales tax of 2% a year later, which
raised just over 14 million euros in its first quarter. On 31 May
2013, it was announced that
Andorra intended to legislate for the
introduction of an income tax by the end of June, against a background
of increasing dissatisfaction with the existence of tax havens among
EU members. The announcement was made following a meeting in Paris
between the Head of Government
Antoni Marti and the French President
and Prince of Andorra,
François Hollande . Hollande welcomed the move
as part of a process of
Andorra "bringing its taxation in line with
The town of Encamp, Andorra, as seen from the Vall dels Cortals
Demographics of Andorra
The population of
Andorra is estimated at 85,458 (2014). The
population has grown from 5,000 in 1900.
Two-thirds of residents lack Andorran nationality and do not have the
right to vote in communal elections. Moreover, they are not allowed to
be elected as president or to own more than 33% of the capital stock
of a privately held company.
Languages of Andorra
The historic and official language is Catalan , a
Romance language .
The Andorran government encourages the use of Catalan. It funds a
Commission for Catalan
Andorra (Catalan: la Comissió de
Toponímia d'Andorra), and provides free Catalan classes to assist
immigrants. Andorran television and radio stations use Catalan.
Because of immigration, historical links, and close geographic
proximity, Spanish , Portuguese and French are also commonly spoken.
Most Andorran residents can speak one or more of these, in addition to
Catalan. English is less commonly spoken among the general population,
though it is understood to varying degrees in the major tourist
Andorra is one of only four European countries (together with
France, Monaco, and Turkey) that have never signed the Council of
Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities .
According to the Observatori Social d'Andorra, the linguistic usage
Andorra is as follows:
2005 3 PoliticaLinguistica.pdf
The population of
Andorra is predominantly (88.2%) Catholic. Their
patron saint is
Our Lady of Meritxell
Our Lady of Meritxell . Though it is not an official
state religion, the constitution acknowledges a special relationship
with the Catholic Church, offering some special privileges to that
group. Other Christian denominations include the
Anglican Church , the
Unification Church , the
New Apostolic Church , and Jehovah\'s
Witnesses . The small Muslim community is primarily made up of North
African immigrants. There is a small community of Hindus and
Bahá\'ís and roughly 100 Jews live in Andorra. (See History of
the Jews in
List of cities in Andorra
Largest cities or towns in Andorra
PARISHES OF ANDORRA
Andorra la Vella 1
Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella
Sant Julià de Lòria
Sant Julià de Lòria
Sant Julià de Lòria
Andorra la Vella
El Pas de la Casa
Children between the ages of 6 and 16 are required by law to have
full-time education. Education up to secondary level is provided free
of charge by the government.
There are three systems of school—Andorran, French, and
Spanish—which use Catalan, French, and Spanish, respectively, as the
main language of instruction. Parents may choose which system their
children attend. All schools are built and maintained by Andorran
authorities, but teachers in the French and Spanish schools are paid
for the most part by
Spain . About 50% of Andorran children
attend the French primary schools, and the rest attend Spanish or
UNIVERSITY OF ANDORRA
The Universitat d\'
Andorra (UdA) is the state public university and
is the only university in Andorra. It was established in 1997. The
university provides first-level degrees in nursing, computer science,
business administration, and educational sciences, in addition to
higher professional education courses. The only two graduate schools
Andorra are the Nursing School and the School of Computer Science,
the latter having a PhD programme.
Virtual Studies Centre
The geographical complexity of the country as well as the small
number of students prevents the University of
Andorra from developing
a full academic programme, and it serves principally as a centre for
virtual studies, connected to Spanish and French universities. The
Virtual Studies Centre (Centre d’Estudis Virtuals) at the University
runs approximately twenty different academic degrees at both
undergraduate and postgraduate levels in fields including tourism,
law, Catalan philology, humanities, psychology, political sciences,
audiovisual communication, telecommunications engineering, and East
Asia studies. The Centre also runs various postgraduate programmes and
continuing-education courses for professionals.
Andorra is provided to all employed persons and their
families by the government-run social security system, Caixa Andorrana
de Seguretat Social (CASS), which is funded by employer and employee
contributions in respect of salaries. The cost of healthcare is
covered by CASS at rates of 75% for out-patient expenses such as
medicines and hospital visits, 90% for hospitalisation, and 100% for
work-related accidents. The remainder of the costs may be covered by
private health insurance. Other residents and tourists require full
private health insurance.
The main hospital, Meritxell, is in
Escaldes-Engordany . There are
also 12 primary health care centres in various locations around the
Transport in Andorra
Transport in Andorra See also: Andorra–La Seu
d\'Urgell Airport A train at
Latour-de-Carol (La Tor de Querol),
one of the two stations serving Andorra.
Andorra has no railways,
although the line connecting
Toulouse , which in
turn connects to France's TGVs at Toulouse, runs within two kilometres
(1.2 miles) of the Andorran border.
Until the 20th century,
Andorra had very limited transport links to
the outside world, and development of the country was affected by its
physical isolation. Even now, the nearest major airports at Toulouse
Barcelona are both three hours' drive from Andorra.
Andorra has a road network of 279 km (173 mi), of which 76 km (47 mi)
is unpaved. The two main roads out of
Andorra la Vella are the CG-1 to
the Spanish border, and the CG-2 to the French border via the Envalira
El Pas de la Casa . Bus services cover all metropolitan
areas and many rural communities, with services on most major routes
running half-hourly or more frequently during peak travel times. There
are frequent long-distance bus services from
Toulouse , plus a daily tour from the former city. Bus services are
mostly run by private companies, but some local ones are operated by
There are no airports for fixed-wing aircraft within Andorra's
borders but there are, however, heliports in La
Escaldes-Engordany with commercial helicopter
services and an airport located in the neighbouring Spanish comarca
Alt Urgell , 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) south of the
Andorran-Spanish border. Since July 2015, Andorra–La Seu d\'Urgell
Airport has operated commercial flights to Madrid and Palma de
Mallorca , and is the main hub for
Air Andorra and
Andorra Airlines .
Nearby airports located in
France provide access to
international flights for the principality. The nearest airports are
France (156 kilometres or 97 miles from Andorra) and
Spain (160 kilometres or 99 miles from Andorra). The largest
nearby airports are at
France (165 kilometres or 103 miles
from Andorra) and
Spain (215 kilometres or 134 miles from
Andorra). There are hourly bus services from both
Toulouse airports to Andorra.
The nearest railway station is L\'Hospitalet-près-l\'Andorre 10 km
(6 mi) east of
Andorra which is on the 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2
in)-gauge line from
Latour-de-Carol (25 km or 16 mi) southeast of
Toulouse and on to Paris by the French high-speed trains .
This line is operated by the
Latour-de-Carol has a scenic 1,000
mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge trainline to
Villefranche-de-Conflent , as well as the SNCF's 1,435 mm gauge line
Perpignan , and the RENFE\'s 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 21⁄32
in) -gauge line to
Barcelona . There are also direct Intercités de
Nuit trains between
L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre and Paris on certain
MEDIA AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Telecommunications in Andorra See also: Andorra
This section needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (November 2015)
In Andorra, mobile and fixed telephone and internet services are
operated exclusively by the Andorran national telecommunications
company, SOM, also known as
Andorra Telecom (STA). The same company
also manages the technical infrastructure for national broadcasting of
digital television and radio.
By the end of 2010, it was planned that every home in the country
would have fibre-to-the-home for internet access at a minimum speed of
100 Mbit/s, and the availability was complete in June 2012.
There is only one Andorran television station, Ràdio i Televisió
Andorra (RTVA). Radio Nacional d’
Andorra operates two radio
Radio Andorra and
Andorra Música. There are three national
newspapers, Diari d\'
Andorra , El Periòdic d\'
Andorra , and Bondia as
well as several local newspapers. There is also an amateur radio
society. Additional TV and radio stations from
available via digital terrestrial television and IPTV.
Culture of Andorra See also:
Music of Andorra
Andorran flag on balcony,
The official and historic language is Catalan. Thus the culture is
Catalan, with its own specificity.
Andorra is home to folk dances like the contrapàs and marratxa,
which survive in
Sant Julià de Lòria especially. Andorran folk music
has similarities to the music of its neighbours, but is especially
Catalan in character, especially in the presence of dances such as the
sardana . Other Andorran folk dances include contrapàs in
Vella and Saint Anne's dance in Escaldes-Engordany. Andorra's national
Our Lady of Meritxell
Our Lady of Meritxell Day, 8 September. American folk
Malvina Reynolds , intrigued by its defence budget of $4.90,
wrote a song "Andorra".
Pete Seeger added verses, and sang "Andorra"
on his 1962 album The Bitter and the Sweet.
Andorra is famous for the practice of
Winter Sports . Popular sports
Andorra include football , rugby union , basketball and
roller hockey .
In roller hockey
Andorra usually plays in CERH
Euro Cup and in FIRS
Roller Hockey World Cup . In 2011,
Andorra was the host country to the
2011 European League Final Eight . Estadi Comunal d\'
The country is represented in association football by the Andorra
national football team . However, the team has had little success
internationally because of Andorra's small population. Football is
Andorra by the
Andorran Football Federation founded in 1994,
it organizes the national competitions of association football
Primera Divisió ,
Copa Constitució and Supercopa ) and futsal . FC
Andorra , a club based in
Andorra la Vella founded in 1942, compete in
Spanish football league system .
Rugby is a traditional sport in Andorra, mainly influenced by the
popularity in southern France. The
Andorra national rugby union team ,
nicknamed "Els Isards", has impressed on the international stage in
rugby union and rugby sevens .
VPC Andorra XV is a rugby team based
Andorra la Vella actually playing in the French championship.
Basketball popularity has increased in the country since the 1990s,
when the Andorran team
BC Andorra played in the top league of Spain
Liga ACB ). After 18 years the club returned to the top league in
Other sports practised in
Andorra include cycling , volleyball, judo
Australian Rules football
Australian Rules football , handball , swimming, gymnastics, tennis
and motorsports . In 2012,
Andorra raised its first national cricket
team and played a home match against the Dutch Fellowship of Fairly
Cricket Club, the first match played in the history of
Andorra at an altitude of 1,300 metres (4,300 ft).
Andorra first participated at the
Olympic Games in 1976. The country
has also appeared in every Winter
Olympic Games since 1976. Andorra
competes in the Games of the Small States of
Europe being twice the
host country in 1991 and 2005 .
As part of the Catalan cultural ambit,
Andorra is home to a team of
castellers , or Catalan human tower builders. The Castellers
d\'Andorra, based in the town of Santa Coloma d\'
Andorra , are
recognized by the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya, the
governing body of castells.
Ariadna Tudel Cuberes and
Sophie Dusautoir Bertrand earned the bronze
medal in the women's team competition at the 2009 European
Championship of Ski Mountaineering .
Joan Verdu Sanchez earned a
bronze medal in Alpine Skiing at the
2012 Winter Youth Olympics . In
Marc Oliveras earned a silver medal in Alpine Skiing at the 2015
Winter Universiade , while Carmina Pallas earned a silver and a bronze
medal in the same competition.
* Catalan-speaking countries portal
Index of Andorra-related articles
Outline of Andorra
Outline of Andorra
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