Useful information

Identity Card     

Geographical location
Eastern Pyrenees, between France (Ariège) and Spain (Catalonia).

Surface area
468 km2 · 8% urbanised and cultivated.
92% forests, lakes, rivers, mountains.

Capital
Andorra la Vella.

Population
84.082 inhabitants*

Average age
between 38 and 44*

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Administrative organisation     

The territory is structured into seven local administrative divisions.

The territory is structured into seven local administrative divisions known as parishes: Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, la Massana, Andorra la Vella, Sant Julià de Lòria and Escaldes- Engordany. They are represented and managed by the town halls (comuns).

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Religion     

Catholicism is the main religion of the state.

Catholicism is the main religion of the state, although the Constitution of Andorra establishes freedom of religion.

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Political system     

Parliamentary co-principality. The only country in the world with two heads of state.

A special feature resulting from the mediaeval document known as Pariatges and the historical evolution of the country. The co-princes, the Bishop of Urgell and the president of the French Republic, represent the people of Andorra jointly and indivisibly, personally and exclusively. At the present time they are his Excellency Mr. Joan Enric Vives i Sicília and his Excellency Mr. François Hollande. On 14th March 1993, the first written constitution of Andorra was signed and the Principality became a democratic, social state in law. The General Council (Consell General) exercises the legislative powers and its members, the councillors, are chosen by universal suffrage for four years.

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Economy     

Official currency
Euro, which was the successor of the Spanish peseta and the French franc, which coexisted in the country until the European currency came into force.

Trade and tourism (60%) and finance (16%) are the three motors behind the economy and, at the same time, the sectors which generate most jobs. Agriculture and stockbreeding, the two axes of the traditional economy until the arrival of tourism in the 1960s, now only account for 0.36% of the paid population.
 

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Historical Overview     

10.500 - 700 bC - From prehistoric times to the pre- Roman period: fi rst inhabitants of the territory of Andorra as in La Balma de La Margineda, El Cedre in Santa Coloma or l’Antuix in Escaldes-Engordany.
805 - The legend says that Charlemagne founded Andorra in recognition for the help given by its inhabitants against Saracens.
Mid-9th century - Consecration of the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Urgell, the fi rst document which mentions the parishes of Andorra as lands of the counts of Urgell.
1133 - The count of Urgell gives the Bishop of Urgell the rights he had over the valleys of Andorra.
13th century - Constant struggles between the counts of Foix and the Church of Urgell to undermine the rights of the bishops over Andorra.
1278 and 1288 - Signature of Pariatges between the Bishop of Urgell, Pere d’Urg, and the count of Foix, Roger Bernat III. The Pariatges establish the joint sovereignty of the Bishop of Urgell and the count of Foix over Andorra: and the Principality of Andorra is born.
1419 - Creation of the Consell de la Terra (Council of the Land) as the first Parliamentary form with representatives from all of the parishes to deal with the problems of the community.
1589 - Henry, King of Navarre, count of Foix, Viscount of Bearn and Lord of Andorra, becomes king of France, and unites the rights of joint Lordship of the counts of Foix with the French crown.
1793-1806 - The French Revolution breaks the bonds between Andorra and France, but Napoleon restores the feudal tradition and the rights of joint Lordship of France over the Principality of Andorra.
1866 - Approval of the New Reform, which brings substantial changes in the political and administrative arenas; a great sign of this was the attribution of the right to vote to all heads of households and the increased power of the General Council.
1933 - Male universal suffrage is established.
1970 - Female universal suffrage is established.
1978 - Escaldes-Engordany becomes the seventh parish of Andorra thanks to its rapid economic growth connected to the use of spa waters and the increase in commercial tourism.
1981 - Creation of the Executive Council, the Government of Andorra: the reforms begin which will culminate in the will of the people of Andorra to draw up a written constitution.
14th March 1993 - First Constitution of Andorra, which turns the Principality into an independent democratic and social state in law, and with the new definition of competencies for the institutions. With the historical and political evolution, Andorra continues to be a co-principality, with the Bishop of Urgell and the president of the French Republic as joint princes in person and in absolute equality.
1993 - Andorra joins the UN, which means international recognition of the country.
1994 - Andorra joins the Council of Europe.

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Geography, Climate, Nature     

The Andorran relief is mountainous, with 65 peaks, some over 2000 m high, which makes Andorra one of the highest countries in Europe.

The highest point in the territory is the Comapedrosa peak (2,942 m) and the lowest point is where the river Runer crosses the frontier with Spain (838 m). The average altitude is 1,996 m.
The quaternary origin of the Andorran land is revealed by the routes of the main river axes in the country: the Valira del Nord, the Valira d’Orient and the Gran Valira. These rivers are joined by other tributaries, where the main towns are located.
The lakes, mainly small and round, form part of the scenery of Andorra. Andorra has more than 70 lakes, the largest of which is the Juclar, which occupies an area of 29 ha, although other well-known lakes are Tristaina and Pessons, amongst others.
The Andorran climate is of Mediterranean mountainous type, with hot summers and cold winters and considerable snowfalls. The average minimum is -2ºC and the maximum 24ºC. Snowfalls are frequent and the rain is concentrated mainly in the months of October and May. Andorran biodiversity is very rich, with more than 1,500 species of fl ora and fauna spread mainly in the four zones: Mediterranean, montane, sub Alpine and Alpine.
Of all the vegetable species, one stands out, the Poet’s Daffodil (Narcissus poeticus), the emblematic fl ower of the Principality; amongst the fauna, the two most representative animals are the river trout and the chamois, which live at the highest points.
The fauna and fl ora of Andorra vary depending on the zone. Some of the most frequent animal species we find are: the marmot, the ‘pallaresa’ lizard, the squirrel, the boar and the birds of prey such as the bearded vulture.
Just like the fauna, the species which form part of the country’s fl ora are highly varied and we can fi nd from medicinal herbs (strawberry and ilex), wild mushrooms and flowers (narcissus) to a large number of trees and bushes (hazelnut and box).
The biological wealth of Andorra justifi es its preservation, and over the years different areas have been protected such as the hunting and fi shing grounds and the nature parks.
The Parc Natural Comunal de les Valls del Comapedrosa nature park and the Vall de Sorteny nature park are two protected areas created with a double intention: on the one hand the ecosystems are preserved and on the other a rational use is made of them. This is a fi rst step towards respect of the environment and the nature of the country. The Madriu- Perafi ta-Claror valley, declared World Heritage by Unesco in 2004 for its natural and cultural wealth, is in the south of the country and covers 10% of the territory.
Given the importance of this area, it is the only valley in the country in which vehicles may not enter. These protected areas and other valleys of the country, such as the Incles Valley, of glacial origin; the Enclar Valley, part of the Anella Verda (Green Ring) route; the Pessons cirque or the Camins dels oficis (Old trades route), offer a wide range of ecotourism trails which you can do in the company of professional guides who will help you to discover our natural heritage.

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Festivities     

Andorrapreserves the customs and traditions that our predecessors preserved century by century and which we have as a legacy today.

Festivals, traditions and celebrations
Andorran folklore is shown in the dances and the popular festivals which follow each other throughout the year, as well as the main religious celebrations such as the Canòlich procession in May and the feast of Our Lady of Meritxell, the patron saint of Andorra, on 8th September. These celebrations are a unique opportunity to see the great variety of fun and leisure activities and events in the country.
National festivals
Constitution Day: 14th March
Our Lady of Meritxell, patron saint of Andorra: 8th September

Annual Parish festivals
Canillo annual festival, the third Saturday in July and the following Sunday and Monday
Encamp annual festival, 15th and 16th August
Ordino annual festival, La Massana annual festival, 15th and 16th August
Andorrala Vella annual festival, the fi rst Saturday in August and the following Sunday and Monday
Sant Julià de Lòria annual festival, the last Sunday in July plus the two days before and the two days after
Escaldes–Engordany annual festival, 25th and 26th July

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Visa     

Andorra does not require visas for any nationality.

Access to Andorra: documentation and visas
However, as it is necessary to go either through Spain or France to get to Andorra, all nationals from countries not in the Schengen area must check at home whether they need a multiple entry visa to enter or leave the countries that form part of the Schengen area and be able to get to Andorra. The type of Visa will depend on the country of origin of the visitor, although the most common is usually the double or multiple entry visa. The documentation needed for entering the country will basically depend on whether the person is of legal age.

For people of legal age:
· Passport or current identity card.

For minors accompanied by parents:
· Valid passport or current identity card
· The family record book or similar is not a valid docu ment to travel in any instance
· Appearing on their parents’ passport

For unaccompanied minors:
· A permission to travel authorisation from their country (issued by the town hall or police station) and a valid passport or identity card

For people travelling with pets:
· A pet passport and up-to-date vaccination sheet.

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Currency, banks, exchange     

The currency used in Andorra is the euro.

You have money exchange and automatic cash machines in any bank. The use of international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express, amongst others is recommended. The banks in the country generally follow the same opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm nonstop.

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