The Heart of A Tiny Nation State
A main stop for anyone heading to Andorra is la Viella and the heart of the country is the Casa de la Vall. This small and historic building is the former seat of Government, the country’s Parliament. The building dates from 1580 when it was built as a manor house. In 1702, the home was purchased by the General Council. Today, it is a museum to the country’s stately past and occupies a prominent location on a cliff-side square that overlooks the La Valira River valley and more modern city below it. It is definitely a must see and excellent place to start your Romanesque exploration of Andorra.
Andorran Folk Dancing
Les Escaldes may only be a few kilometers from the heart of Andorra’s La Vella, but this enclave is filled with culture. It’s the home of the Escaldes-Engordany Art Centre, or EEAC, which celebrates the country’s rich Romanesque heritage. Simiarly, Les Escaldes honors its folk tradition with the annual Festa Major each July. Andorra is especially known for its folk dancing and the Festa Major puts the local Santa Anna (St. Anne’s) dance on full display. Here, it is the specialty of the dance troupe called Esbart de Santa Anna. The festival is a very public display of this cultural heritage. Yet well off the beaten path, a seven minute walk from the center of town, is a small amphitheater-type of plaza known as the Plaça de l’Esbart Santa Anna. Here, a statue on a pedestal gives permanency to this folk tradition and its vernacular roots.