|Val d'Aran / Aran Valley
Val d'Aran (Occitan)
|Anthem: Montanhes araneses (Occitan)
Location of Val d'Aran in Catalonia
|Capital||Vielha e Mijaran|
|• Body||Conselh Generau d'Aran|
|• Síndic||Carlos Barrera (CDA)|
|• Total||633.5 km2 (244.6 sq mi)|
|• Density||16/km2 (41/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Largest municipality||Vielha e Mijaran|
|Website||Conselh Generau d'Aran|
The Val d'Aran (Occitan pronunciation: [ˈbal daˈɾan]; Catalan: Vall d'Aran [ˈbaʎ dəˈɾan]; Spanish: Valle de Arán [ˈbaʎe ðe aˈɾan]), sometimes referred to as the Aran Valley in English, is a valley, 620.47 square kilometres (239.56 sq mi) in area, in the Pyrenees mountains and a comarca (county) in the northwestern part of the province of Lleida, in Catalonia, northern Spain. Most of the valley constitutes one of only two areas of Spain, and the only part of Catalonia, located on the northern side of the Pyrenees. Hence, this valley holds the only Catalonian rivers to flow into the Atlantic Ocean; for the same reason, the region is characterized by an Atlantic climate, instead of a Mediterranean one. As of 2001, most people in the Val d'Aran spoke Spanish (38.78%) as their native language, followed by Aranese (34.19%), then Catalan (19.45%) with 7.56% having a different native language. Speakers of languages other than the local Aranese are typically people born outside the valley, or their children.
The Val d'Aran borders France on the north, the Spanish Autonomous Community of Aragon to the west and the Catalan comarques of Alta Ribagorça to the south and Pallars Sobirà to the east. The capital of the comarca is Vielha, with 3,692 inhabitants (1996). The entire population of the valley is about 7,130 (1996). The Garonne river flows through the Val d'Aran from its source on the Pla de Beret (Beret Flat) near the Port de la Bonaigua. It is joined by the Joèu river (from the slopes of Aneto mountain) and passes underground at the Forau de Aigualluts. It then reappears in the Val dera Artiga before reaching the Val d'Aran, then through France and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. The Noguera Pallaresa river, whose source is only a hundred meters from that of the Garonne, flows the opposite way towards the Mediterranean.
In 1313, James II of Aragon granted administrative and political autonomy to the Aran Valley, the legal details of which are described in a Latin manuscript called the Querimonia. The devolution of power was a reward for the Aranese pledging allegiance to James II in a dispute with the kingdoms of France and Mallorca over control of the valley.
On 19 October 1944, Spanish Communist Party guerrillas invaded the valley in an attempt to bring about the fall of the Spanish dictatorship. They took control of several villages until October 27, 1949, but were forced to retreat back into France after Franco sent reinforcements to defend Vielha.
Before the construction of the Vielha tunnel, opened in 1948, the Val d'Aran had no direct communication with the south side of the mountains during winter.
Name and local language
Aranese is the standardized form of the Gascon variety of the Occitan language. Aranese has been regularly taught at school since 1984. Like several other minority languages in Europe that recently faced decline, Aranese is experiencing a renaissance.
The name Val d'Aran is formed from val in Gascon, meaning valley, and aran from Basque haran, also meaning valley. The name is thus a pleonasm or tautological place name as it translates to Valley of the Valley. Maps and road signs in Spain use the name "era Val d'Aran" to refer to the valley, where era is the Aranese singular feminine article. The same practice goes for all towns and other locations in Aran, for example, the Aranese spelling Vielha is used instead of Catalan and Spanish Viella to refer to the capital of Val d'Aran.
Government and economy
The area is divided into six administrative divisions called terçons (meaning "thirds", as there were formerly three divisions). The current arrangement of the divisions dates from the 15th century. Since 1991, Val d'Aran has an autonomous government called the Conselh Generau (Occitan: General Council).
The major political parties are the Unity of Aran - Aranese Nationalist Party (the local chapter of the (Socialists' Party of Catalonia, currently the governing party), the Aranese Democratic Convergence (the local chapter of the (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia). The Occitan Republican Left party was founded in 2008.
The main economic activity in the valley is tourism; from the ski resorts in the winter and from other tourist activity in the summer. Other primary sectors of the economy include forest products, cattle ranching and agriculture, all of which have become progressively less important since the opening of ski resorts.
|Municipality||Population (2014)||Area km2|
|Vielha e Mijaran||5,474||211.7|
|• Total: 9||9,993||633.5|
Many native animals of Val d'Aran are in danger of extinction. There are programs to reintroduce and/or protect:
- Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)
- Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)
- Aran rock lizard (Lacerta aranica)
- Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
- The name is preceded by the articles era (Occitan, feminine), la (Catalan, feminine), el (Spanish, masculine).
- Luzaide/Valcarlos, in Navarra, is also on the northern side of the Pyrenees.
- "Cens lingüístic de l'aranès de 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Cens lingüístic de l'aranès de 2001 (section 10: Llengua materna de la població de la Val d'Aran. Distribució per lloc de naixement. 2001) (in Catalan)
- Turell, ed. by M. Teresa (2001). Multilingualism in Spain : sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of linguistic minority groups ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Clevedon [u.a.]: Multilingual Matters. p. 142. ISBN 9781853594915. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Rodríguez Marcos, Javier. "El valle de la libertad". elpais.com (in Spanish). El Pais. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- Morvan, Michel (1997). Les Origines linguistiques du basque. Bordeaux: Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux (PUB). p. 26. ISBN 978-2-86781-182-1.
- "El municipi en xifres". Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- Page of the Conselh Generau d'Aran (Occitan)
- Information from the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan)
- Smith, Dominic. "Language planning in the Val d’Aran: The recent work of the Conselh Generau d’Aran’s ‘Oficina de Foment e Ensenhament der Aranés’ and its effects on the Aranés-speaking population." (PDF). 2003.