Andorra


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Andorra

Area: 180 sq mi (468 sq km) / World Rank: 184 Location: Land-locked nation in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres, lies on the southern slopes of Pyrenees Mountains of Europe south of France and north of Spain Coordinates: 42°25′ to 42°40′ N, 1°30′E

Borders: 74.6 mi  (120.3 km)  total boundary  length France, 35.1 mi (56.6 km); Spain, 39.5 mi (63.7 km) Coastline: None. Andorra is landlocked. Territorial Seas: None Highest Point: Coma Pedrosa Peak, 9,665 ft (2,946 m) Lowest Point: Runer River, 2,755 ft (840 m), where th Runer River and Valera River meet. Longest Distances:  18.7 mi  (30.1  km)  east  to  west 15.8 mi (25.4 km) north to south. Natural Hazards: Severe winters Population: 67,627 (July 2001 est.) / World Rank: 191 Capital City: Andorra la Vella, located in the south western part of Andorra Largest City: Andorra la Vella, 25,000 (2000)

OVERVIEW Andorra is one of the smallest independent countries on earth. Located in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain  and  France,  Andorra’s  terrain  consists  of  gorges, narrow  valleys,  and  defiles  surrounded  by  mountain peaks rising higher than 9,500 ft (2,900 m). There is little level ground. All the valleys are at  least 3,000 ft (900 m) above  sea  level  and  the  mean  altitude  is  over  6,000  ft (1,800 m).

HIGH IN THE PYRENEES MOUNTAINS, on the border between France and Spain, nestles the country of Andorra. The country is nominally ruled jointly by the president of France and the bishop of Urgel in northeastern Spain. Catalan is the official language, although many people also speak French and Spanish. The country’s only large town is the capital city, Andorra la Vella.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS All of Andorra is mountainous. The highest mountain peak is Pic de Coma Pedrosa (Coma Pedrosa Peak), which rises to 9,665 ft (2,946 m) near where the western border of Andorra and  the borders of France and Spain meet. Along the northwestern border with France, Pic de Cataperdis (9,203 ft/2,805 m) and Pic de Tristaina (9,442ft/2,878 m) can be found. Pic de Siguer (9,524 ft/2,903 m) and  Pic  de  la  Serrera  (9,560  ft/2,914  m)  lie  along  the northern border, and Pic de la Cabaneta (9,245 ft/2,818 m) is in the east. Near the southeastern point where the borders  of  the  three  countries meet  lies  Pic  d’Envalira(9,268  ft/2,825 m)  and  Pic  dels  Pessons  (9,400  ft/2,865 m). A lake, Estany de l''Estanyó, and a mountain peak, Pic de  l’Estanyó  (9,564  ft/2,915 m)  lie  just  east  of El  Serrat and are accessible only by hiking trail.

INLAND WATERWAYS Andorra is drained by a single basin whose main river, Valira River (Riu Valira), has two branches and six smaller open basins. These basins gave the name by which  the  region was  traditionally  known,  The Valleys (Les Valls). The Valira del Norte is the northwest branch of the main river, flowing through the cities of La Mas-sana, Ordino, and El Serrat. The Valira d''Orient is the northeast branch, flowing through Les Escaldes, Encamp, Canillo, Soldeu, and Pas de la Casa.

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION Temperature Andorra has a temperate climate, but winters are severe because of the high elevation. Snow completely fills the northern valleys for several months. During the April to October rainy season, rainfall can be heavy and it is reported to exceed 44 in (122 cm) per year in the most mountainous regions.

NATURAL RESOURCES Deposits of  iron ore,  lead, alum, and building stones are among the resources exploited  in Andorra, although the economy depends  to a much greater extent on  tourism.  Andorra’s  mountainous  terrain  attracts  about  12 million tourists annually, primarily for skiing and hiking.



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