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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Andorra

Almost hidden in the eastern Pyrenees, the tiny Principality of Andorra is a land of narrow valleys and mountainous landscapes, bordered by France and Spain.Most of the settlements can be found along the main road that traverses the country - many villages or hamlets are filled with Romanesque churches and houses built in the local style. Others, off the main road, are even more unspoilt, and provide spectacular views across the rugged countryside.Andorra is one of the oldest nations in Europe, originally established by Charlemagne as a buffer state against the Iberian muslims. As a result of the Paretages of 1278 and 1288, control of the country was split between the Spanish Bishop of Urgell and a nominee appointed by the King of France (initially the Count de Foix) and subsequently by the French emperors and presidents. This unique power-sharing arrangement lasted until the late 20th century when the present constitution formally enshrined Andorra as a principality.

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