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Andorra culture

Culture

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

Culture - SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

Located in the east of the Catalan Pyrenees, Andorra enjoys a privileged situation - south of Europe. Forming a spectacular mountain range, Andorra forms a natural border between France and Spain. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, French, Portuguese, Basque and Aragonese are commonly spoken.

RELIGION

The religion of the majority of the population in Andorra is Roman Catholic.

However some traditions remain strong, and hospitality, chivalry and courtesy still thrive. It is common to greet and acknowledge people you meet, for example in shops and restaurants, with “Buenos dias” (Good morning), “Buenos tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Hola” (Hello.)

The main seaside resorts are cosmopolitan with a capital 'C', but old habits die hard in more rural parts of the country where it's probably a good idea to confine revealing swimming costumes to the beach or poolside. Shoulders and legs should be covered when visiting a church.

The time-honoured custom of the siesta is also still observed in many places, with shops and banks often closing from 2-5pm. This gives the Spanish the energy to extend their evenings, often into the early hours, and people rarely dine out before 10pm.

Service charges are usually included in restaurants so a tip is discretionary. In cafés and bars 5% - 10% is acceptable, and 10% - 15% in taxis.

A new law was passed in Spain in 2006 severely restricting smoking in public places. Some bars and restaurants do not allow smoking and some have separate smoking areas. Look for a sign in the window telling you if smoking is allowed (“Está permitido fumar”) or is not allowed (“No Está permitido fumar”) or if there is a smoking area (“Zona para fumadores”.)

HISTORY

For 715 years (from the years 1278 to 1993) Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality ruled by French and Spanish leaders. The role of Andorra's Monarchy from 1607 onward was the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Seu d'Urgell. In 1993 the feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, however the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. For decades Andorra enjoyed its status as a small refuge of fiscal and banking freedom and benefited from Spanish and French tourists who became attracted to the country's duty-free shopping. In more recent years the situation in Andorra has changed as Andorra started to tax foreign investment and other sectors.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of 468 km2. Andorra's population is an estimated of 84,082 in 2009, and its capital, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital in Europe at an elevated position of 1.023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level. Life in Andorra has changed dramatically over the last few decades, particularly since the boom in package holidays and the tourism industry. Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its Tourism which serves an estimated 10.2 million visitors each year, and also because of its status as a tax haven. The principality of Andorra is not a member of the European Union, and the Euro is its official currency.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of 468 km2. Andorra's population is an estimated of 84,082 in 2009, and its capital, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital in Europe at an elevated position of 1.023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level. Life in Andorra has changed dramatically over the last few decades, particularly since the boom in package holidays and the tourism industry. Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its Tourism which serves an estimated 10.2 million visitors each year, and also because of its status as a tax haven. The principality of Andorra is not a member of the European Union, and the Euro is its official currency.

RELIGION

The religion of the majority of the population in Spain is Catholicism however less than a quarter are now thought to be regular churchgoers. Because the government of Spain is now a secular one, it can no longer be said that it is the official religion but the Catholic church still receives special treatment. Spain is still a Catholic environment, its landscape filled with shrines and churches, and has an artistic heritage rich in religious reference, language and customs. It is worth noting that almost every Catholic church in Spain is a museum in itself with many well worth visiting.

Islam is the second largest religion accounting for about 3% of the population and there is a small population of Jews and various Protestant denominations.

HISTORY

It was around 200 BC when the foundations of Spain's Latin culture were laid. Having trounced the Carthaginians, the Romans took over the country, ruling it until the 5th century AD, when the Vandals and Visigoths turned it into something of a lawless state.

AD 711 saw the beginning of eight centuries of rule by Berber Arabs, leaving a rich legacy of Moorish culture and architecture in many of Spain's major cities.

However, Asturias remained under Christian control, and became the launching pad for the 'Reconquista', in which the Christians gradually ousted the Moors and returned the country to Catholic rule. By 1492 the kingdoms of Aragon, Castile and Leon had joined, and Columbus had discovered the West Indies, beginning Spain's transformation into a rich and powerful empire on which the 'sun did not set'.

Unfortunately, religious conflict blighted Spain's prosperity under King Philip IV and his successor Phillip V, but the 18th century saw a long and slow recovery in the country's fortunes. Later however, Charles IV went to war with France and was defeated, resulting in Napoléon installing his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne in 1808.

In 1876, Spain became a constitutional monarchy. But political instability led to military dictatorship and a republic in the 1930s, which was destroyed by the Spanish Civil War. General Franco ruled with an iron fist until his death in 1975, and since then Spain has been a democratic state.

DEMOGRAPHICS

With a population of just over 44 million, Spain has relatively few people per square mile compared to other European countries. The population doubled during the 20th century, but the pattern of growth was skewed by large-scale internal migration from rural areas to industrial cities. There has also been a fairly dramatic fall in the birth rate, and the country now has one of the lowest rates in the world, perhaps a direct result of liberalisation and availability of contraception.

Many of Spain's regions are culturally diverse and some, such as the Basque country and Catalonia, have strong 'separatist' tendencies.

Spain's national language is Spanish, or Castilian Spanish, a Romance language derived from the Latin brought to Iberia following the conquest of Rome at the end of the 3rd century BC. However, there are several other unique languages spoken in Spain besides the predominant Castilian. These include Catalan, which is spoken in the regions of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia, where both Castilian and a dialect called Valencian are spoken. Gallego (or Galician) is popular in northwest Spain. Each of these languages has different pronunciations and spellings. Additionally, the native language of the Basque region is called Euskera. It is not a form of Spanish and its origins are unknown. English is widely understood and spoken in the big cities and coastal resorts, but less so in rural areas.

Andorra: Weather

Average Temperature

Andorra Average Temperature Chart

Average Rainfall

Andorra Average RainfallChart

Holiday Season

Andorra Holiday Season

Andorra: Photos

Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra Photos of Andorra

Andorra: Map

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