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Andorra

Main attractions

Daffodils in the mountains of Andorra
Daffodils in the mountains of Andorra / Ferran Llorens, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Andorra is very small country high up in Pyrenees. Most of its numerous visitors see here urbanised areas and touristy places but in Andorra one can find also quite a bit of wilderness and traditional landscape.

Most interesting landmarks here are the old rural churches built in the 8th - 12th century. Notable are also several sites with interesting petroglyphs.

Man made landmarks

Signs on Roc de les Bruixes, Andorra
Signs on Roc de les Bruixes / Boigandorra, / CC BY-SA 3.0

Petroglyphs

  • Roc de les Bruixes (Rock of the Witches) - Canillo. Site of legends. Here in the cliffs are found numerous engravings from the Bronze Age depicting crosses, humans, pentagrams, also early writings.
  • Sornàs engravings and Terra de la Mola engravings - Ordino. Large groups of engravings in cliffs, made since the prehistoric times until the 18th century. Engravings show horses, human-like figures, domes, crosses, also a weird depiction of a ritual amputation.

Prehistoric settlements

  • La Balma de la Margineda - Andorra la Vella. Rock shelter - former settlement of people who lived here since the 9,000 BC. Exploration of the remnants has provided important information about the life in Pyrenees in Mesolithic and Neolithic times, Bronze and Iron ages. Remains of cave paintings.
  • Roureda de la Margineda - Andorra la Vella. Remains of prehistoric and medieval settlement. First inhabited during the Bronze Age, 2,200 - 1,600 BC. Most of the visible structures though were build in the 12th - 13th centuries.

Pre-Romanesque churches

Church of Sant Romà dels Vilars, Andorra
Church of Sant Romà dels Vilars / Ferran Llorens, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra - Andorra la Vella. Oldest church in Andorra, first mentioned in 1044 AD, although it might be older. Church initially was built in local Pre-Romanesque style and has a prominent bell tower from the 12th century). Several original frescoes from the 12th century have been preserved inside the church.
  • Church of Sant Romà dels Vilars - Escaldes-Engordany. Very old church, a simple building built in the 10th century.

Romanesque churches

Murals in Church of Sant Romà de les Bons, Andorra
Murals in Church of Sant Romà de les Bons / Ferran Llorens, / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Church of Sant Climent de Pal - La Massana. Medieval church, built in Lombardy Romanesque style in the 11th - 12th centuries. Contains murals in Gothic style and bell tower has fine, mullioned windows.
  • Church of Sant Joan de Caselles - Canillo. Medieval church, built in Lombardy Romanesque style in the 11th - 12th centuries. Contains murals with stucco.
  • Church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada - La Cortinada. Medieval church, built in Lombardy Romanesque style in the 11th - 12th centuries with later, Baroque additions (the 17th - 18th centuries). Church contains fine series of murals made in the late 12th century.
  • Church of Sant Miquel d'Engolasters - Escaldes-Engordany. Medieval church, built in Lombardy Romanesque style in the 11th - 12th centuries. Church has an impressive, 17 m tall bell tower.
  • Church of Sant Romà de les Bons - Encamp. Medieval church, built in Lombardy Romanesque style, consecrated in 1164. Contains beautiful murals.
  • Church of Sant Serni de Nagol - Sant Julià de Lòria. Medieval church, built in Romanesque style in 1050. Part of the original frescoes have been preserved. Small, simple church is partly hewn in the cliff.
  • Church of Sant Vicens d'Enclar - Andorra la Vella. Early medieval church, built in the time period between the 7th and the early 8th century AD. This church was near a mountain pass which has been important since the Roman times.
Pont de la Margineda, Andorra
Pont de la Margineda / Jaume Meneses, / CC BY-SA 2.0

Other man made landmarks

  • Casa de la Vall - Andorra la Vella. Fortified manor, built in 1580. Manor includes a tower. Now here is located General Council of Andorra.
  • Casa Plairal d'Areny de Plandolit - Ordino. City palace, initially built in 1633. House has interesting details and rich interiors.
  • Pont de la Margineda - Andorra la Vella. Ancient bridge over Gran Valira river, constructed in the 14th - 15th century. Arch of this bridge is made from the light pumice.

List of described attractions by parishes

Andorra consists of seven parishes.

Andorra la Vella
ArrowChurch of Santa Coloma d'AndorraChurches
Canillo
Encamp
Escaldes-Engordany
La Massana
Ordino
Sant Julià de Lòria

Map of Andorra

Featured: Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra

Batalha Monastery, Portugal
Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra / Ferran Llorens, , CC BY-SA 2.0

Andorra is rich with medieval churches and the oldest one is Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra which, most likely, was built sometimes between the 8th and 9th centuries.

Recommended books:

Secrets of the Seven Smallest States of Europe: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City

This unique book examines the history, culture, and inner workings of the seven smallest independent countries in Europe. These are among the oldest states on the continent and, despite their diversity, they have much in common. Most have relatively high per capita incomes and life expectancies, and relatively low unemployment.

Andorra Revealed

Entertaining stories about one of the world’s more enigmatic countries. Journey with us through fact and fiction, memoire and imagination, behind the scenes and into the heart of this unique, pocket-sized country.

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