Montserrat, Catalonia. Spain
Mountain massif of Montserrat is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range, located 50 km from Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. These unusual mountains stretch for 10 km, their height is 1236 meters, and the width – 5 kilometers. Beautiful name Montserrat means “cut”, “serrated edge” or “jagged mountains”. It explains the distinctive feature of the rocks – their form. They say the name came from the Romans, who named it Mons Serratus. Besides, Montserrat is the most widespread woman’s name in Catalonia.
The main tops are called Sant Jeroni – the highest – 1,236 m, Montgrós – 1,120 m and Miranda de les Agulles – 903 m. The locals gave these mountains their own names, like God’s Finger and Camel. Elephant rock Montserrat Mountain one of the most famous rocks here, shaped as Elephant head.
Sculptural creations, wonderful majolica and mountain paths create a museum in the open air. In 1987, the natural complex around the monastery was declared a National Park of Catalonia. Here you will find majestic limestone cliffs, mysterious caves, beautiful scenery, about 10 tourist trails. There is a rack railway called «Cremallera de Montserrat», which was opened in 2003. You can also use ropeway or funicular. In addition to ordinary tourists, this place attracts artists, musicians and poets.
Santa Maria de Montserrat is a spiritual symbol of Catalonia. It is a Benedictine abbey located on the mountain of Montserrat, in Monistrol de Montserrat. This charming monastery was founded by the count of Berga and Ripoll – Oliba, known as a spiritual founder of Catalonia. The Abbey was built on the site of hermitages that existed in the IX century, at an altitude of 725 meters above sea level in 1025 in honor of the Catalan Mother of God. The monastery impresses with its exquisite decorations. Salon trimming is a collection of several styles with a predominance of modernism. It is a laborious work of sculptors and artists of the XIX and XX centuries. It is the center of pilgrimage for millions of Catholics from around the world.
A wooden sculpture of Black Madonna (La Moreneta) is a pearl of the monastery. It is a 95-centimeter statue of the Mother of God with a Child on her knees. The national shrine of Catalonia is made of black poplar; the images are dressed in golden robes. Madonna’s throne is made of cast silver. According to the legend, the Black Madonna was created by the Apostle Luke 50 AD, and then transported to the Iberian Peninsula by the Apostle Peter. They say if you touch the ball in the hands of Madonna, which symbolizes world, and make a wish, it will certainly come true. The road leading to it is also a kind of ritual or even the pilgrim route, while walking by this path, you should be silent and think over your wish. The building of the cathedral has even a special room. As proof that the desires have come true, the pilgrims return here to bring gifts – symbols of the performed wishes, they leave wedding dresses, pictures of children, no longer necessary orthopedic supplies and other things.
Museums, souvenir shops, numerous excursions, the famous boys’ choir – all this is worth it to come here.