- Abba Xalet Suites hotel
- L703643X, Terra Major de Sispony, s/n
- La Massana, AD 400 - Andorra
- (+376) 73 73 00
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The cultural scene of Andorra offers more and more events. These are staged throughout the year thanks to the permanent facilities of the country: the National auditorium of Andorra (Ordino), the Exhibition hall of the Government (Andorra la Vella), the Lauredià cultural and congress centre (Sant Julià de Lòria), the Municipal theatre and the Congress centre (Andorra la Vella) or the cultural centres of the different parishes (municipalities).
The musical programming have attained an international fame, such as the International jazz festival of Andorra at Escaldes-Engordany (July), the Classical music festival of Ordino (September), the Music and dance seasons of Andorra la Vella (from November to May) or the programming of the National Auditorium, the National Chamber Orchestra or the National Young Singers' Chorus.
The quality of the exhibitions and other cultural events has also improved a lot.
The traditional culture is on view at the town and village feasts and others festivities throughout the country, like typical dances as the marratxa (Sant Julià de Lòria), the ball de Santa Anna (Escaldes-Engordany), the contrapàs (Andorra la Vella) or the sardana. These are dances performed by folk dance bands that bring people to participate.
Other open-air activities include the pantomima de l'óssa (The she-bear) or the escenificació del judici als contrabandistes (Trial of the smugglers), both in Encamp.
Andorra - Heritage, tradition and cultural life
Andorra, a country with a thousand years of history, has preserved its rich architectural heritage and traditions which contribute towards its identity and provide evidence of its origin.
To stroll through the valleys is to re-live many centuries of history and discover a traditional culture in which the past and the present combine in perfect harmony.
Most of the building and artistic heritage of the country consists of work of a religious nature, either buildings, sculptures or paintings.
Throughout the country, the valleys contain, thanks to their 50 small churches and many medieval bridges, impressive examples of pure Roman art.
Sant Joan de Caselles - The church of Sant Joan de Caselles (Canillo) is a Roman chapel dating from the 11th and 12th centuries containing a Christ in Majesty from the 12th century and an altarpiece from the 16th century.
Sant Romà de les Bons - The church of Sant Romà de les Bons (Encamp) is part of a medieval group of buildings in an excellent state of preservation and consists of the village of Les Bons, the remainders of a fortification and the old dovecotes.
Sant Martí de la Cortinada - The church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada (Ordino) displays 12th century Roman wall paintings and Baroque altarpieces.
Sant Climent de Pal - The church of Sant Climent de Pal (La Massana) was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and contains Gothic wall paintings.
Santa Coloma - The church of Santa Coloma (Andorra la Vella) is one of the oldest in the Principality (9th and 10th centuries) in the pre-Roman style and has a round bell tower dating from the 12th century.
Sant Serni de Nagol - The church of Sant Serni de Nagol (Sant Julià de Lòria), built on a rock, keeps interesting wall paintings from the 11th century.
Sant Miquel d'Engolasters - The church of Sant Miquel d'Engolasters (Escaldes-Engordany), from the 12th century, has a 17.5 metre bell tower and a reproduction of the Roman frescoes currently on display at the Roman Art Museum of Catalonia.
The Margineda bridge - The Margineda bridge (Sant Julià de Loria), the oldest of the medieval bridges of the Principality, was on the main path to Andorra la Vella.
Sant Antoni bridge - The Sant Antoni bridge (La Massana), which in the past had to be crossed to go from Andorra la Vella to La Massana.
Among other old buildings of interest in Andorra are:
Santuary of Meritxell - The majestic Santuary of Meritxell, in the parish of Canillo, is made up of the remainders of a 17th century church, itself built on the site of a Roman church, and of the modern church rebuilt after a fire destroyed the original. It was rebuilt in 1976 by the architect Ricardo Bofill.
Casa de la Vall - The Casa de la Vall (House of the Valleys), house of the Parliament and the Justice, was built at the end of the 16th century. This old imposing typical building contains magnificent Gothic frescoes representing scenes from the Passion.
Typical villages - The typical villages at the bottom of the valleys, such as Ordino and Pal.
A knowledge of Catalan culture, the country's geographical location and its history helps the visitor to understand Andorran festivals and customs as a whole.
Almost all festivals and popular traditions coincide with religious festivals and the earth's natural cycles. These are:
- The feast of Sant Jordi, when roses and books are given;
- The feast of the People, the day of Sant Joan, commemorating the summer solstice;
- The feast of Sant Esteve, saint patron of the Parish of Andorra la Vella;
- The Santa Lucía's fair where items to decorate traditional cribs and typical Christmas goods are found.
The gastronomy of Andorra has its origins from the way of life of the people of the valleys.
The Andorran economy relied basically on cattle, sheep and pig. Therefore the basic foods were meat, milk and cheese; the best known cheese being tupí, which is fermented in earthenware containers with garlic and spirit. The typical dish is trinxat, which consists of green cabbage, potatoes and fatty bacon and it generally comes with herring and pimentoes.
When a pig was killed in the winter, households had a wide variety of sausages, such as donja, bringuera, bull, bisbe, llonganissa, butifarra as well as ham which was fried and served with honey.
Other sources of food are civets of wild pig or hare cooked with wine and flavoured with chocolate, trout either grilled on a slate or fried with ham, berries and chicory salads.
As a result of its tourism the Principality is host throughout the year to prestigious international performances, a feature of cultural life in the country.
In addition to artistic exhibitions, the Parishes organize prestigious and well known festivals:
- The International Escaldes-Engordany Jazz Festival in July, where famous international artists such as Miles Davis, Fats Domino and BB King have appeared.
- The Ordino Classical Music Festival in September.
- The Andorra la Vella Music and Dance Season from November to May.
The Principality also has numerous museums:
- The Areny-Plandolit House at Ordino covers over three centuries of the history of a noble Andorran family.
- The Museum houses works by the Catalan sculptor Josep Viladomat at Escaldes-Engordany where his typical works are exhibited.
- The National Car Museum at Encamp with its collection of 90 cars, 50 motor bicycles and 100 bicycles dating from 1898 to 1950. It also has a unique collection of model cars made of metal and china.
- The Museum of Model Roman Churches at Escaldes-Engordany which houses 25 scale models of wood and stone Roman churches.
- The Matrioshka Museum/Russian dolls museum (Escaldes-Engordany) has 2 audiovisuals and 3 exhibition halls. At present there are some 200 Russian dolls or "matrioshka".
- The Iconographic museum/Sant Jordi Museum (Ordino) presents orthodox religious audiovisuals, 200 documentary books and a hundred icons representing the artistic expression of the religious Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Byzantine orthodox art.
- The Siadristyi Museum/Museum of the miniature (Ordino) houses microminiatures from Nikolaï Siadristyi, considered as the best living microminiaturist. His works are only visible through microscopic lenses that magnify, at most, 300 times.
- The Postal Museum (Ordino) relates the history of the post in our country. Two collections are to be found in this museum: the philatelist, integrated by stamps from the previous Postal Museum and from private contributors, and the collection of items related to the world of the post.