- 70 Hits
Perched high in the eastern Pyrenees, the capital of Andorra, Andorra la Vella, is this small nation's busiest tourist attraction. At an altitude of 1,029 meters, it's one of the world's highest capital cities (it's also one of the smallest with a population of less than 25,000 people). Presiding over the Gran Valira river under the east side of the 2,317-meter Pic d'Enclar mountain, the city's main street is lined with shops selling everything from souvenirs to local arts and crafts, along with many galleries, cafés, and restaurants. Top attractions include Casa de la Vell, built in 1580 and now the seat of government. It's notable for its ornate coat of arms and other historical emblems of the country's former rulers. Highlights of a guided tour include the reception room with its 16th-century wall paintings and, in the Council Chamber (Sala de Sessions), the historic Cupboard of the Seven Keys, to which each of the country's seven communes has a key (it contains the country's archives, including documents dating from the time of Charlemagne). Other sites worth seeing are Plaça del Poble, a public square on the roof of the city's administrative complex, which offers great views of the surrounding scenery, and the 12th-century Sant Esteve Church with its fine carved woodwork.