Introduction to Baqueira - Val d´Aran
The Aran Valley is a Catalan county situated in the centre of the Pyrenees, within the province of Lérida, which borders on France at North. It is a privileged point for tourism, both in the winter as well as in the summer. It stretches out along 620 kms and 30% of the territory is located above 2000 m above sea level.
Skiing and other winter sports enjoy great prestige around the Valley, being the main attraction the sky resort of Baqueira Beret. However, breathtaking landscapes, open air activities and the possibility to practise adventure sports are also helping to establish the area as an important tourist destiny all year round.
The Atlantic climate is typical in this Catalan county, having fresh and rainy weather with persistent humidity most of the year. Thanks to this, it is possible to find large green meadows and many beech forests in the area, apart from some of the most beautiful and rare Alpine flowers.
Its name comes from the county's location. In the Aranese language, Val d'Aran means Valley of the Valley, as “aran”, which comes from the old Basque word “haran”, means “valley”.
The Aran Valley is the only place where a variety of Aranese is an official language, also spoken in the south of France. It is recognized as official language together with Catalan and Spanish in the Catalan autonomous region, although it is only spoken in this area.
For centuries, the home has represented the basic unit of social, economic and political life around the Valley. The head of the family managed this unit and represented it in front of the other inhabitants.
During the second half of the 19th century, many different dances were organized all around the Aran Valley, and many of them are still being celebrated nowadays. The most popular of them all is the Aubada, each village celebrates one and during this dance the young lads court the young girls.