Andorra - a small country situated in the heart of the Pyrenees between France and Spain, during the year receives a huge number of tourists, and in the period from early December to mid-April skiers from around the world. This tiny country has five excellent ski centers - 277 km of slopes, distributed on resorts Ordino Arcalis, Pal-Arinsal-setur, Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig-, Soldeu el Tarter and resort to practice cross-country skiing La Rabassa . Everyone can find the route of your choice! The special charm Andorra give originality traditions and customs, harmoniously combining the culture of France and Spain.
Andorra is located in the south-west of Europe, on the eastern slopes of the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Andorran territory is mountainous, dissected by several high mountain valleys, much of the country is not the height of over 900 m. Above sea level. From the north-east to south-west of the country crossed by the river Valeera and Ariege and hillsides dotted with many small glacial lakes and sources of mineral and thermal waters.
The highest point in the country - the top Coma Pedrossa (2942 m.) In the north-west. Country's total area of only 450 square meters. km, which exceeds in size only to Monaco, San Marino and Liechtenstein, Andorra and makes one of the smallest countries in the world.
The capital of Andorra la Vella.
Andorra - a very old country - the first mention of Andorran found in the Latin chronicles of the II. BC. e. The country can not boast of a large number of landmarks, although in sufficient quantity and preserved Roman bridges, the ruins of an Arab castle and medieval churches, but high-altitude resorts in the country in terms of service and environmental conditions are among the best ski areas in Europe. The main thing that attracts tourists to Andorra from around the world, it is her mountain slopes.
Capital of the country - Andorra la Vella, is surrounded by high mountains in a picturesque valley. In this, which is based at the beginning of the IX., A city of particular interest to tourists are the Church of St.. Armenola (XI c.), The seat of government "House Valleys" (XVI c.), Many buildings in the medieval style and handicraft workshops. Heart of the city - the area Barry Antique (Old Quarter), which lies at the very spot where previously there was an ancient village from which rose and Andorra la Vella. Pride of the district - colorful buildings of the Casa de la Vall ("House of the Valley"), constructed as parliamentary palace country back in 1702 (the bottom three floors built in 1580 as the private home of a wealthy family, and then the building was reconstructed several times and 1761 began to carry out governmental functions).
Around the palace are located Sala de la Dzhustisia - the only court building in the country, the building of the Parliament - the Sala del Konsell in the upper floors of which is a beautiful Philatelic Museum, and castle-like house Seth Panis ("Chest on Seven castles "), where he once held the most important state documents Andorra. Cultural center of the city, the site of numerous ceremonies and popular gathering place for locals in the evening - the Plaza la Poble, which are also the State Theatre and the Academy of Music. Nearby is also the largest in the capital city (and country) mall - Pirenees. Be sure to visit the church of Santa Coloma (IX-X centuries., One of the oldest churches in the country), the church of Santuario de Meritsel and the largest medieval bridge in the country in the town of La Margineda, near the capital.
The main shops of the capital focused on Charlemagne Avenue and Avenue Meritsel where there are outlets of almost all the leading companies in the world, due to special, highly favorable to the import tax conditions of the country.
The main attraction of the capital - health complex Kaldea in the eastern suburbs of the capital - Les Escaldes, the largest thermal complex in Western Europe. Under a glass dome on an area of about 600 square meters. m. located dozens of pools with thermal water (+ 30-52 C), with or without the passage, jacuzzi and waterfalls, caves and waterfalls, ultra-modern balneology resorts, dozens of baths and saunas of all kinds and the most exotic architecture, using local thermal mineral waters are strongly , solariums and geysers. The complex also includes a variety of massage rooms, VIP-club, bars and restaurants, playgrounds, tennis courts and a shopping center.
In Encamp (5 km. Away from the capital) is also interesting is one of the few museums in Andorra - National Automobile Museum, exhibition more than a very rare car and a lot of old (since 1898), motorcycles, bicycles and other vehicles. Also in the city you can visit a large sports complex Encamp Multiaporta Centro Esglesiya church of San Roma de les Bons (XII century.), It also appears most of the routes to the neighboring ski centers, including unique in its kind ropeway "Funicamp "length of more than 6 km.
In addition to downhill ski in Andorra can be practiced and many other sports, in particular, are very popular hiking tours on the sled dogs, horse riding and clay pigeon shooting, in which the Andorran considered great specialists. The tiny village of Llorts (permanent population of only 100 people) is among the fields of tobacco, surrounded by ancient mountains. This is one of the most pristine places in the country (and in Western Europe), and a very popular place for walking. In a 3-hour walk through the valley to the west of the village, is a popular tourist area - a group of picturesque mountain lakes Estanys del Angonella. From Mount Borda de Sorteny (1970 m.) Trail continues to the lakes Estany del Estany and 2915-meter mountain, known as Peak del Estany. Not far away and tiny Romanesque church Esglesiya de Saint-Martin, famous for its frescoes XII-th century in remarkably good condition. Also interested in the unusual architecture of the church of San Juan de Kazelles, Saint-Martin-de-la Cortinada San Clemente de Pal, Saint Miguel d`Engolasters and Saint-Czerny-de-heads, as well as arched stone bridge of Saint Anthony.
Obtaining the permission of the tourism organization, you can try your luck at catching trout. As one of the world centers of tourism, Andorra also has a well-developed infrastructure of leisure - theaters, concert halls, restaurants, dance halls, sports facilities for various sports, and so on. D. Andorra rich sources of mineral and thermal waters, which are used as medicinal purposes as well as natural heating plants for heating homes.
The Spanish city of Seo de Urzhel, though is far beyond Andorra, called by locals "The Spanish gateway to Andorra" and often with a sense of humor, is considered one of the Andorran cities. Since IX century, "La Seo", as the locals call it, was the residence of bishops and counts Urzhelskih - Spanish princes, co-rulers of Andorra. The city is famous for its old buildings - XII century cathedral Catedral de Santa Maria on the south side of the central Plaza del Oms - this is one of the most prominent buildings of the Romanesque style in Catalonia. Despite the fact that the church has repeatedly been subjected to various renovations and alterations, it has remained a sufficiently high level unchanged since it was built. Inside the cathedral is a unique "Museum Diochesa" - one of a kind collection of murals, scripture and church utensils, plus a rare artifact - a thousand years "Beatus" - illustrated handwritten manuscript describing the Apocalypse.
Subtropical mountain, mitigate the impact of the Mediterranean Sea. The average temperature in January-December from +2 to -2 C, and in June and July - from +15 C to +20 C, and the temperature of the day, even in winter on the slopes above 0 C. Pronounced altitudinal zonation, so depending on the height of the area above sea level and location on the hillside, weather patterns can vary significantly even within the same district.
Far from Moscow at 2:00.
Official language - close to the Spanish Catalan, as well as proper Spanish and French. Many residents of Andorra speak English and other languages.
Its currency Andorra has not, as a legal means of payment has a circulation of Euro (Euro). In one 100 euro cents. In the back of banknotes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros, as well as coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents.
Andorra does not have its own airport and has open borders with Spain and France, through which it is carried out to enter the territory of the Principality. To enter you must obtain a visa in any country of the EU, signed the Schengen Agreement. Visa is issued at the Embassy of Spain in Russia. The visa can be obtained in the embassies of Andorra in Paris or Madrid and at border crossings.
To enter you must obtain a Schengen visa or a national visa Spain, or France, although the Andorra is not included in the Schengen Agreement. Visa is also issued at the embassies of Andorra in Paris and Madrid, it is necessary to submit to the Consular Section of the completed questionnaire, 4 photos and a photocopy of the first page of valid passport. It is also possible to obtain travel documents when crossing the border.
Without issuing a special residence visa legally allowed for up to 3 months, but the age limit is applied in practice only against those who violate the public order. Restrictions on movement in the country is not.
Most people - Catholics. In view of the historical traditions of the Roman Catholic Church in the country has a very large impact.
Official holidays and weekends
January 1 - New Year's Eve (considered a business day).
January 6 - Epiphany.
March 14 - Constitution Day.
April - Good Friday and Easter Monday.
May 1 - Labor Day.
June 1 - The Ascension.
June 12 - Pentecost.
June 24 - Day of St. John, the patron saint of Andorra.
The first Saturday of August - Feast of Andorra la Vella.
August 15 - Assumption.
September 8 - Andorra, the main national holiday.
November 1 - All Saints' Day.
November 4 - Day St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of Andorra.
December 8 - Day of the Immaculate Conception.
December 21 - Day St. Thomas.
December 24-26 - Christmas.
Festivals and Events
This annual international festival of classical music and jazz. However, it is only about things that do not contradict Catholic morality, which brought up the vast majority of citizens of the principality.
It introduces a lot of different open-air concerts, general and local (in almost every village held its Festival) celebrations with music and folk dancing. The most popular among tourists national festival "Mare de Deu de Meritsel" - the national festival of the Virgin Mary, held on September 8 in Meritsele (7 km. Northeast of the capital), and numerous "rural festivals," a whole string which is held in the period from July to September.
Every year on the first Saturday of August, near the Plaza la Poble held a grand three-day festival in honor of Andorra la Vella. Between Christmas and New Year holidays in Encamp held colorful children's parties.
Traditional cuisine Andorra
As such, "his" kitchen there is no, most of the traditional dishes borrowed from Catalan or French cuisine, but they still bear the imprint of national culinary traditions - even well-known dishes are more than just at home.
The most popular grilled cuts of various meats - "la parillida" assorted seafood "mariskada" rabbit in tomato sauce - "kunilo" roast lamb "high" or "Sai", fried bacon with potatoes and cabbage - "trinsat" trout Andorra, grilled duck with beans or apples, thick meat soup" eskudella "fish soup" porusalda "and others. good local sausages and bacon, which are used in many" recipes ", and also served as a separate dishes with garnish and spices.
Political system Andorra
Officially the Principality of Andorra is considered, however, after the adoption of the Constitution in 1993, the country is in fact a self-governing democratic republic. Co-rulers of the country are the president and the bishop of the Spanish city of Seo de Urgell presented governors (vige). Internal self-government retains broad autonomous rights, carried out through an elected body - the General Council (in the past - Earth Council) in an amount of 28 members elected for two from each parish, plus 14 from the list, and the right to vote only Andorran nationals. The Board appoints the government (the Executive Board) composed of 8 heads of central ministries and departments, headed by the chairman.
About 67 thousand., Of whom 84% are foreign nationals who have a permanent residence in the country, indigenous Andorran considered a total of 11 thousand. Persons (less than a third of the total population). Ethnic groups: Spanish - 61%, Andorran - 30%, the French - 6%, other - 3%. In addition, living in Andorra large group of citizens of Scandinavia, the British Isles, and others.
Import and export of currency is unlimited. The import of drugs and narcotic drugs, arms and ammunition without a permit. Duty-free export of no more than 1 kg. coffee, up to 200 gr. tea, not more than 4 kg. cheese, not more than 5 kg. confectionery, up to 75 g. perfume and 375 ml. cologne, as well as alcohol: more than 22% - up to 1.5 liters., up to 22% - up to 3 liters., table wine - up to 5 liters., to 300 cigarettes or 150 cigars or 75 thin thick cigars and up to 400 gr. tobacco. The rest of the goods are imported at the rate of a little more than 504 euros per adult and 259 euros per child.
Prohibited export without special permission from subjects and objects of historical or artistic value. Agronomy and Veterinary border control is hard enough.
Medical aid Andorra
Vaccinations are not required. Insurance is mandatory. Medical fee, first aid will be provided for free, follow-up and treatment are covered by the policy.
Working hours Andorra
Banks are open from 9.00 to 16.30-17.00 (lunch break - from 12.00 to 14.00).
Most shops are open on weekdays from 9.30 to 20.00-21.00, lunch time in most small shops from 13.30 to 16.30, department stores and supermarkets operate without lunch. On Sundays, shops are usually closed at 19.00.
Due to the complete absence of the railway system and its own airfields, all transportation in the country are carried out only by road. Buses cover almost the entire territory of Andorra, all of its cities and mountain resorts, and in most cases, the final station routes situated right at the lift station. Special bus routes "Ski Bus" runs every 15-20 minutes. from the ski lifts to the nearby towns and back. Ticket price (one-way) on the commuter routes - about $ 4, "Ski Bus" - about $ 2. Bus lines are open from 9.00 to 18.30 on schedule 1 flight in 1.5 hours. From the ski station in the center of the last buses depart at 18.30. Lifts and cable cars operate on the schedule set by the resort, but it is usually up to 17.00.
Traffic rules are no different from those in Western Europe, only in the presence of points you must always have a spare pair. Andorran considered to be very disciplined and law-abiding drivers, but, nevertheless, often do not observe speed limits and rules for overtaking.
Taxis operate only within the city limits or to lift station. Taxi is best to call on the phone, but the waiting time is usually less than 1 hour. The average cost of hiring a taxi - $ 5 (for the car), to the lifts - $ 20 (per car). Tipping is not required, but welcome.
Renting a car is possible only if there is a credit card and an international driving license. The rent does not usually include the cost of gasoline, but is included insurance (insurance policy should always be included).
Line Voltage 240V, 50 Hz.
Tipping is necessary to give the porter, waiters bars and restaurants, bus drivers and taxi drivers.