A walk through the most symbolic architecture
Andorra's romanesque architecture is characterized by the use of slate and by working with the overlapping of layers of stone. The majority of the constructions are small churches and, above all, the Lombard bell-towers of square plant with geminated windows and blind arches stand out. Apart from religious buildings, we also find bridges and fountains that have just completed the country's heritage.
CHURCH OF SAN JOAN
The San Juan de Caselles Church is included in the Romanesque architecture style and dates from the end of the 12th century. The most significant element of this construction is the great bell tower, which is located at the top of a quadrangular tower and has three levels of windows. Due to its beauty and composition, the church is considered one of the most popular examples of Andorran heritage and religious activity. The church is located on the old Canillo road, today a national road, in France's direction.
SAN CRITÓFOL D'ANYÓS'S CHURCH
San Cristófol d'Anyós's church has a rectangular nave with a semicircular apse. The original construction dates back to the twelfth century and over time has been integrating different modifications. Several extensions have been made and a small bell tower with four windows and a four-sided roof was included. The church is located at the top of a hill, in Anyós (La Massana) and inside it houses a holy Franco-Gothic dinner, as well as an altarpiece dedicated to the church's patron.
SAN SERNI DE CANILLO'S CHURCH
San Serni de Canillo's church dates back to the Baroque era (17th-18th centuries) and keeps traces of an earlier Romanesque construction (12th century), such as the walls and the baptistery. The central nave and the bell tower (which is the tallest in Andorra) had to be built again in the early 17th century.
In 2009, during some improvement works, archaeological remains were discovered under the basement of the nave that are believed to be prior even to the twelfth century. They also found a series of burials ranging from the seventh to the eighteenth century. Because of those facts, it is estimated that the construction was renovated during different times. The church's interior also has a polychrome gothic carving of a 14th century crucifix and a Baroque altarpiece dedicated to Saint Serni, bishop of Toulouse.
SANTA COLOMA'S CHURCH
Santa Coloma's church is of pre-Romanesque origin and was built between the 8th and 9th centuries, therefore it is one of the oldest in Andorra. During the 12th century some reforms were made and the Lombard bell tower with a circular floor plan and four stories high, which currently stylizes the main floor, was added. One of the biggest attractions of the church is the mural that is inside. This has undergone several transformations and, despite everything, has ended up surviving the ravages of time. A few years after its placement, the mural paintings had to be sold, but in 2007, the Andorra's Government was able to recover all of the paintings and it was suggested to restore the head where the mural was originally located. However, the passing of the years and their effects made this impossible.
Because of the technological advances, a solution has been developed. Through a recreation called video mapping, the government has been able to restore the mural virtually. That way, the church once again enjoys all its splendor and citizens and visitors can contemplate the paintings in an innovative way and totally faithful to history. The video has a duration of six minutes and is accompanied by a play of lights and sounds. All of this means that the spectators can relive the sensations transmitted by the original frescoes.
San Esteve's church dates back to the 12th century and is located at the entrance of Andorra la Vella's old town. The original construction is from the Romanesque era and has been modified several times. Among its most prominent elements is the cover of the west, a work of the Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. On top of that, an original polychrome beam is preserved and it crosses the apse of the church from side to side which, according to historians, was to hold a currently missing canopy. Inside there are also several baroque altarpieces and an 18th-century painting called Table of Souls.
The church can be accessed through the upper part of Meritxell's Avenue or from Prat de la Creu Street, taking the elevator that goes up to the town's Square.
SANT SERNI DE NAGOL'S CHURCH
The San Serni de Nagol's Church is located in Sant Julià and was build in 1055. It consists of a single rectangular nave of fairly small proportions. The main floor contains a semicircular apse and a roof with wooden trusses topped with a double-glazed bell tower. The church was built with very irregular stone blocks. Already entering the modern era, the porch and the choir that currently complete the Romanesque construction were added.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Canolich is one of the three main sanctuaries of the Andorran valleys, along with Meritxell (Canillo) and San Antonio de la Grella (La Massana). The monument is located in Sant Julià de Lòria and the current building dates back to the 20th century, although we find references that point to its existence since medieval times. Inside we can find an 18th-century baroque altarpiece and ceramic murals, the work of the artist Sergi Mas. Guided visits are made during the summer months and we also have the option of making a visit with prior reservation between September and June from the Sant Julià's tourist office.
SAN MIQUEL D'ENGOLASTERS' CHURCH
The San Miguel de Engolasters' Church is one of the most known in the Principality. It is located in Encamp and dates back to the 12th century. The infrastructure represents the country's summit of Romanesque art and has a 17 meters high bell tower that stands out between all the vegetation and the rest of the temple. The church has also a large courtyard that hosts the celebration of San Miguel de Engolasters' day every year. During this holiday, muscatel and blessed cake are distributed to all attendees and different popular activities are celebrated, such as the dance of sardanas and the flower offering.
ENCAMP'S SANTA EULALIA
Santa Eulalia's church is located in Encamp and was built during the 9th century. In a very short time, the construction acquired the functions of parish church and currently still retains this denomination. It has a bell tower that, with its 23 meters high, is considered the tallest of the Romanesque-Lombard bell towers in the country. It is divided into three floors and presents geminated windows on its first two floors. The exception is on the third floor, the windows went from double to single during the 16th century in order to accommodate the bells. The cover of the bell tower is crowned with a wrought iron cross with a pumice stone foot.
SANT CORNELI AND SANT CEBRIÀ
Sant Corneli and Sant Cebrià's church dates back to the medieval times and was remodeled considerably between the 17th and 19th centuries. Inside there is a Romanesque carving of the Mare de Deu made of polychrome wood. This virgin has the peculiarity of being one of the smallest in Andorra, since it is only 44 cm high. Inside there are also five Baroque altarpieces (17th and 18th centuries), dedicated to Sant Corneli and Sant Cebrià. If we talk about the outside, you can see a small communion located on the square, which was used for storm protection ceremonies.
SANT ISCLE AND SANTA VICTÒRIA
Sant Iscle and Santa Victoria's church is located in La Massana's Town Square. It is a heritage property registered in Andorra's Cultural Heritage and was built in the 17th century. Inside the church there are several baroque altarpieces. The principal shows the Virgin of the Angels and the two patron saints: Acisclus and Victoria. There are also two Chester wooden relics, a medieval candlestick and the baptismal pyre, dating back to the Romanesque era.
SANT JULIÀ AND SANT GERMÀ
San Julià and San Germà is the parish church of Sant Julià de Lòria. That construction has been declared a place of cultural interest and its origins are Romanesque. The structure retains a Lombard-style bell tower, an apse and a nave that was demolished and rebuilt in the twentieth century based on the style of granite architecture. The bell tower is located north of the building. It is square in plan with a four-sided slate roof covering. Its walls are made of stone blocks of regular sizes and are united with lime mortar. The tower is three stories high and protrudes from the roof, with windows geminated on each floor and crowned by arches dotted semicircular.
SANT PERE MÁRTIR
This neo-Romanesque church was built in 1956 and has a bell tower. The structure is made of granite stone and on its facade you can see some serigraphs of the Beatitudes of the sculptor Sergi Mas. And under the porch, several ceramics of the same author are shown. You will also find an immaculate and Pieta, works by sculptor Josep Viladomat. The church is located on Carlemany Avenue, one of the main areas of the parish of Escaldes-Engordany.
Other Romanesque churches
This church presents an entrance opening with a single arch specimen.
Chapel of la Vall d'Incles
It is a small chapel that is located in the Incles Valley.
San Pere of
Pas de la Casa
It is one Andorra's newest churches, its construction does not reach the century.
It is a simple church located in Encamp.
of la Grella
It is a chapel located in a gorge, on a road that linked La Massana and Escaldes.
la Casa Rossell
It is a small baroque building located opposite the Rossell House.
It has a quadrangular apse and a two-sided roof over wooden trusses.
It is very small, formed by a single rectangular nave.
It dates back to 12th century and consists of a single nave and a semicircular apse.
San Esteve of
The plant is rectangular, without apse, and with gable roof.
of Mas d'Alins
It is a patrimonial property registered in Andorra's Cultural Heritage.
It is one of the three pre-Romanesque churches of the Andorran valleys.
Besides the churches and religious constructions, Andorra's heritage also consists of different bridges, fountains and places of interest that collect the best of Romanesque art.