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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Andorra


Detailed Andorra mapAndorra wavy flag — WikiProject Nuvola, in the public domainOfficially known as Principat d'Andorra in the Catalan language, ANDORRA is located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula (Península Ibèrica). This small and wealthy country borders Spain and its Catalonia autonomous community to the south and France and its Occitanie region to the north. The fact that the longest length of Andorra is only about 18 miles and 29 kilometers reveals the country's small areal size! In 1278, a paréage (feudal treaty) established Andorra as a principality led by co-princes from France and Spain. In fact, Andorra's tricolor flag combines the blue color of France's flag, Spanish flag's yellow color, and both countries' red color. The currency is the Euro, which has been used since 2002. Its ISO 4217 currency code is EUR. Andorra previous had its own currency (Andorran Diner), but this was only used to issue commemorative coins for global distribution and collectibility. The French Franc and Spanish Peseta were once used as legal tender.

People and Places
Population statistics found on the Internet and literature are conflicting. However, the principality's official Departament d'Estadística (Statistics Department) website (↗) reveals the estimated population of Andorra: 73,105 in 2016. This figure is a 3,347 and 2.34% increase from 69,758 in 2012. 100% of the Andorran population is literate. With a 2016 population of 19,230, Andorra la Vella is the nation-state's capital. Other major communities throughout Andorra include Aldosa, Arinsal, Canillo, Encamp, Escaldes-Engordany, La Massana, Les Bons, Ordino, Pas de la Casa, Sant Julià de Lòria, and Santa Coloma.

Despite Andorra's small geographic size, TripAdvisor lists over 480 "Things to Do" in Andorra as of April 2017. The Casa de la Vall [House of the Valley] (Andorra la Vella), Grandvalira Ski Resort (Andorra la Vella), El Tartar and Soldeu ski resort villages, Estany d'Engolasters [Lake Engolasters] (Encamp), Estanys de Tristaina [Tristaina Lakes] (El Serrat), Miniature Museum (Ordino), National Automobile Museum (Encamp), and Tobotronc (Sant Julià de Lòria) theme park are some popular sights and attractions for residents and tourists alike. Seven parishes (parròquies) comprise the administrative divisions of Andorra (↗).

Catalan is the official language of Andorra. French, Portuguese, and Spanish are also widely used for communication — not a surprise considering that France, Portugal, and Spain are three countries in close proximity. Native Andorrans comprise almost half of the population, followed by Spanish (25%), Portuguese (15%), and French (4%) people. Over 90% of Andorrans are Roman Catholic Christians, followed by Muslims (0.7%), Hindus (0.45%), Jewish (0.34%) people, and Bahá'ísts (0.15%). Public holidays celebrated in Andorra include but are not limited to New Year's Day, Constitution Day (March 14th), Easter, Our Lady of Meritxell (Virgin Mary) feast day (September 8th), and Christmas. Parades are hosted and fireworks are lit on New Year's Day, and Andorrans celebrate Saint John's Eve (Midsummer; June 23rd) with festivals and large bonfires.

Land Features
The Pyrenees (Pirineus) mountain range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the European mainland and crosses through Andorra. The landscape generally features mountain valleys with minor streams, the waters of which flow into the northeast-to-southwest Valira river. Streams include Arinsal (northwest), Coma (northeast), Incles (northeast), Madriu (south), Ós (southwest), Perafita (south), Rialb (northwest), Tristaina (northwest), Valira del Nord (North Valira), and Valira d'Orient (East Valira). For its breathtaking landscapes and local people's environmentally-friendly lifestyles, the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (↗) in 2004.

Many areas have elevations higher than 7,000 feet (~2,000 meters). The country's highest point lies near the trinational border point in northwest Andorra. This mountain is Coma Pedrosa, standing at 2,946 meters and 9,665 feet tall in elevation. Comprised of compact and loose iron-red rocks, Coma Pedrosa is topped by a cairn (human-made rock pile) and even a bare flag pole to attach your nationality's flag. Mountain passes along the border include Coll d'Aquell, Coll de Finestres ("neck of windows"), Port de l'Arbella, Port de Baiau (near Coma Pedrosa), Port de Cabùs, Port de l’Estany Esbalçat, Port d'Incles-de Fontargent, and Port de Rat.

Post was updated with a new map on January 16th, 2015.
Additional information was added on April 27th, 2017.


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