Andorra la Vella, (Catalan: “Andorra the Old”) town, capital of the independent coprincipality of Andorra. It lies near the confluence of the Valira and the Valira del Norte rivers in the narrow Gran Valira valley, on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees.
Andorra la Vella long remained relatively isolated from the outside world. Its modernization began in the 1930s with the construction of carriage roads, and its population increased after World War II as a result of the growth of the tourist industry. In the 1960s and ’70s Andorra la Vella was transformed from a rustic town into a busy commercial centre catering to shoppers and tourists. Winter sports areas are nearby. Because of Andorra’s duty-free status, the town is now primarily a retail shopping centre for goods imported from elsewhere in Europe and from Asia. The General Council (Andorra’s parliament) meets in Andorra la Vella. The town is connected by road to the Spanish and French frontiers and shares in both cultures. Pop. (2004 est.) 22,035.
This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen.