Capital of the Val d'Aran, Vielha, is a small Pyrenean city with approximately 4000 inhabitants and is located at 974 meters in altitude. Surrounded by peaks reaching above 2000 meters the village is built along the Garona River valley at the point where the rivers Nere and Garona meet. Both rivers cross through the village.
Its streets and new buildings have formed an interesting commercial nucleus where the visitor can find all types of businesses specializing in adventure sports, high mountains and snow, arts and craft of the Val d'Aran and the Pyrenees, necessary items and services, clothing shops, outlets, supermarkets, banks, the hospital and the sports complex, Palai de Gèu. The wider avenues contrast with the narrow streets and old houses of the old quarters which, over time, have become a varied selection of restaurants and bars.
The Sant Miquel church dedicated to the saint who was also a prince is in the center of Vielha adjacent to the porticoed building of the Town Hall, the Tourism Office and the Post Office. Inside the church the valued Christ of Mijaran is conserved. It is believed that this wooden bust of Christ formed part of a scene of the Descent from the Cross that would have been destroyed and only this portion remains. It dates back to the 12th century and was made by the masters of the Erill Workshop in the Romanesque Lombard style which came from the nearby Boí valley. THe Gothic and Baroque paintings conserved within the Vielha church are other treasures which the visitors should not miss. The exterior of the church is noteworthy given its impressive octogonal bell tower and slender belfry with slate shingles, typical in the Val d'Aran.
Vielha has other places that the visitor must not miss as well: the Ethnological Museum, the stately home Ço de Rodes, the Wool Museum. The tower of general Martinón is a house from the 17th century with interesting Renaissance windows which are currently in the Ethnological Museum where the visitor will discover the fascinating history of the Val d'Aran. Ço de Rodès is another stately home located also on the Mayor street next to the Museum and has been well restored recently. On one of the streets further up within in the old quarters of Vielha there is another historic building, the Wool Museum, in which the visitor can see a Mule Jenny weaving machine. This machine was key in the textile workshops during the Industrial Revolution and demonstrates the importance of this sector in the Val d'Aran in the 19th century.
From the Aranese capital various other walking itineraries of significant beauty begin. Thanks to Vielha's central location being the natural crossing of several communication routes such as the N-230 highway which passes through the Vielha tunnel towards France in the north and towards Ribagorza and Lleida towards the south and the C-28 highway which goes up to Baqueira and crosses over the Bonaigua Pass towards Pallars. The Camino Real (Royal Path) will take us on foot to High Aran in one direction or to Middle and Low Aran in the other, if we catch the trail behind the Palai de Gèu. When leaving Vielha, towards France, we will find the remains of the Mijaran Sanctuary with the new building adjacent to it. Here the "Conselhers" or government representatives and the Sindic (president) of Aran take possession of their duties in the Conselh Generau just as they did in the 13th century.