Andorra's Miniatures Museum: Big on Culture, Small on Size
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If you're in Andorra and up for a unique cultural treat, the Museum of Miniatures (Museo de la Miniatura), in Ordino, is the perfect place for a visit. It certainly seems fitting that our tiny principality is home to such a wealth of minuscule artistic gems. Located in the Maragda Building, on Carrer Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer, this fascinating museum boasts an impressive permanent collection by the Ukrainian artist Nicolai Siadristy, one of the world's foremost miniaturists.
What's on at Ordino's Museum of Miniatures?
The collection might be microscopic, but it exceeds all expectations in its cultural impact and art lovers will be captivated by the impressive collection of micro-miniatures. Delicately crafted in a range of exquisite materials including gold and platinum, as well as more everyday materials such as paper, fruit seeds and grains of rice, each piece is lovingly hand-made by Nicolai Siadristy. This artist, who is widely considered a true genius in the field of micro-miniatures, can take eight years to complete his work! To be able to see these tiny works of art, you'll need to look through a microscope. Names like "Tavern on a Grain of Salt", and "Camel Train Passing Through the Eye of a Hurricane" are a good indication of the eccentric delights in store.
As each of Siadristy's pieces are an incredible achievement, both technically and artistically, the Museum also has a space for an audiovisual area projecting images of his life and work. This helps visitors appreciate the artist's mind-boggling processes, which are thought to be impossible to surpass.
Along with its microscopic wonders, the museum is also home to a stunning collection of Matryoshkas, or Russian Dolls, in a range of sizes, with the smallest also miracles of miniature craftsmanship. There is also a fantastic display of crucifixes, religious art and even Chinese "snuff-bottles", courtesy of the Chinese artist Liu Shouben. These little gems measure 5cm and are exquisitely hand-painted with Andorran themes, references to the country and landscape and western motifs.
You can find the ticket office on the ground floor, along with a gift store where you can buy all manner of miniature souvenirs after your visit.
The museum has been adapted to be accessible to visitors with reduced mobility and offers guided tours of around 20 minutes in English, Spanish, French and Catalan, for groups with a maximum of 25. And don't forget, if you have a PassMuseu card, you can get a great discount! The museum is easy to reach by car, as it's on Ordino's main access road, beside the CG-3, and if you're in Andorra la Vella, it's easy to hop on the bus, as the L6 line goes to Ordino.
Other cultural activities in Ordino
The Museum of Miniatures is not Ordino's only destination for culture vultures, as this tiny town also boasts several others. Andorra's Postal Museum is a fascinating journey through the country's history of mail, while at the Casa d’Areny-Plandolit Museum, visitors get the opportunity to admire the home of one of Andorra's most influential families, the owners of many of the country's foundries.
Meanwhile, in the nearby parish of Canillo is one of Andorra's cultural touchstones: the Santuario de Meritxell Basilica. This is the country's most important religious site, as it's the home of Our Lady of Meritxell, the patron saint of Andorra, and well worth a visit, whether for spiritual or artistic reasons, or simply for the stunning location.
So whether it's a mind-blowing miniatures Museum or one of Andorra's other artistic and cultural destinations, there's much to explore (although you might need a microscope for some of it).