Andorra: The Small Principality With A Long History

Andorra: The Small Principality With A Long History

Humans were walking in Andorra long before it was considered a popular holiday destination. Archaeological finds in Andorra date back 8,000 years.

Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman and Celtic remains have been found in the valley regions, demonstrating how important this picturesque pea-sized country proved to be as a sanctuary for weary travellers fleeing from oppressive regimes in north and southern Europe. Charlemagne reportedly granted the Andorrans a charter in return for fighting the Moors back around 988AD.

So many paths and cultures have crossed while walking in Andorra to create the eclectic mix of French and Catalan cultures, with the original Andorrans believed to hail from the Basque region of Spain. This has culminated in the creation of many traditions such as dances like the marraxta and dance of Santa Anna. Music and the arts are very important culturally and historically to the Andorran people who use it to retain their sense of identity and present their customs to tourists.

Walking in Andorra offers a greater sense of the stunning, sloping landscape; mesmerizingly lush in summer, eerily calm and white in winter. It’s so much more than a former tax haven (although the cheap booze and cigarettes’ trade has a proud and long-standing tradition dating back to Roman times.)

Legend has it that in the 12th century villagers of Meritxell discovered an out-of-season wild rose in bloom at the foot of the statue of the Virgin and Child. The statue was moved inside a chapel where the next day the rose appeared. After which the statue was moved again to another church, and again the rose appeared. This was taken by a sign to build another chapel, which the villagers gladly did in a space untouched by snow. Every year on 8th September the country holds a festival in celebration of Our Lady where locals don traditional garments and perform customary dances.