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Culture and Gastronomy:

Romanesque in Andorra

In Andorra, the Romanesque is the main architectural style. There are historical references about it from the 8th century to the 13th century, even when in other places in Europe the Gothic was already developing, in Andorra the Romanesque was still prevailing.

The Andorran Romanesque is defined by small stone and slate churches, some of them having altar pieces, original mural paintings and polychrome painted wooden figures. Some examples of these churches are Sant Climent de Pal (in La Massana), Sant Martí de la Cortinada (in Ordino), Santa Coloma (in Andorra la Vella), or Sant Joan de Caselles (in Canillo). Moreover, there are some houses and bridges built during the Romanesque period.

You can check this guide or more detailed information. And if you would like to deepen in the Romanesque architectural style, you will find these two museums quite interesting:

– Romanesque Interpreting Centre of Andorra, located in front of the Romanesque church of Sant Climent de Pal.

– Escaldes-Engordany Art Centre (CAEE): on the 3rd floor you will find a section dedicated to the Romanesque Art. It contains 30 miniatures of churches and other monuments of Andorra, made by Josep Colomé.

To fully understand the Romanesque in Andorra, it must be related to the Romanesque in Catalonia. TheCathedral in La Seu d’Urgell is a unique Romanesque arquitectural masterpiece worth visiting. Therefore, if you have the chance to visit the nearest Spanish village from Andorra, called La Seu d’Urgell, you will find this outstanding cathedral surrounded by a whole cosy and nice village, that also holds a local market that can’t be missed all Tuesdays and Saturdays.

La Seu d’Urgell is the nearest Spanish village (from the border) to Andorra. Is it worth a visit?

 

Most definitely! La Seu is worth visiting for many reasons, but specially because of its Cathedral: a unique masterpiece of the Romanesque architectonic style.

The Iron Route

The Iron Route in Andorra is part of the transboundary iron route in the Pyrenees. A stroll following this trail will help us understand the iron and steel industry in Andorra. This industry took place between the 17th and the 19th centuries in Andorra, a time when it was one of the main economic resources in this country. The testimonies of the iron and steel industry are the Rossell Forge, the Llorts Mine (which is open for visits) and the haulage trail.

Forge artwork of some of the buildings in the area reflects how iron was used at the time, in buildings such as the Areny-Plandolit House-Museum (this family was one of the most important forge owners) and the church of Sant Martí de la Cortinada, in Ordino.

The trail goes from the Rossell Forge until the Llorts Mine, without any remarkable difficulty concerning the route or the duration. Along the Iron Route you will find a permanent exhibition of contemporary sculptures, made by international artists in homage to the men who worked in the iron and steel industry in Ordino.

What is the itinerary of the Iron Route in Andorra?

 

It crosses the Valley of Ordino, specifically from La Massana to Llorts. It is a route that you can walk, and stop at some places of touristic interest such as an iron mine, a Romanesque bridge and sculptures along the way.

Our Lady of Meritxell Sanctuary

Meritxell is the patroness of Andorra. For this reason, in the village called Meritxell (in Canillo), theMeritxell Sanctuary was built during the Romanesque period. A fire destroyed this church in 1972 and, although it was partially rebuilt, the famous architect Ricardo Bofill was asked to build a new sanctuarynext to the old one, which last stone was placed in 1976. Despite the modern aesthetics of the new sanctuary, local materials were used to build it, and therefore the sanctuary is well integrated in the landscapes of Canillo.

Both sanctuaries, the new one and the old one, are opened to the public. They are easily accessed by the road from Andorra la Vella to Canillo.

Did you know… that the modern Sanctuary of Our Lady of Meritxell is a work from the architect Ricardo Bofill?

 

It was built next to the old church of Meritxell, and using the local materials to integrate it perfectly with the landscape.

Museums

To satisfy your interest about the life and traditions of people in Andorra, there are several Houses-Museum at your disposal. As well as a good variety of other Museums, dedicated to modern art, religious art, comics, tobacco, miniatures, motorcycles, etc.

So, what museum would you like to visit? If you can’t choose just one, perhaps your best choice is getting the PassMuseu, with its great discount, so that you enjoy the museums of Andorra at the most!

Did you know… that Andorra has more than 50 Romanesque monuments?

 

The Romanesque in Andorra has many churches scattered all over the country, and also houses and bridges. Visit some of them, you will just find them on your way!

Gastronomy

In Andorra, there is a wide offer of dining suggestions. The ancient traditional cooking was based on a subsistence economy, using the local products. For this reason, most of its dishes are mountain cooking style.

In the restaurant at the Bringué Hotel you will find delicious traditional dishes and grilled meats. Please do not miss the chance to taste them!

There is a wide range of game and cattle meats, traditionally used in the restaurants kitchens, grilled and cooked in many other ways: wild boar, deer, rabbit, kid, lamb, beef, steer, pork, duck… And the trout and the cod are remarkable as the main fishes, as well as other ingredients in the Andorran cooking, such as nuts, mushrooms, berries, …

At the Xalet Bringué Hotel restaurant we work respecting the origins and the land products, combined with modern cooking defined by our chef.

Is a borda a restaurant?

 

No, it is a traditional house… but many restaurants with traditional cooking in Andorra are located in pintoresque bordas.

Guia-cultura-andorra