Holy Moley Montserrat!

The Basilica of Santa Maria de Montserrat – Benedictine Abbey is spectacularly situated, between the peaks of Montserrat.

The history of Montserrat goes back to 880, when a group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains. Those days it was one of the most important religious sites in Spain, the place of a Catholic cult ranked alongside Zaragoza and Santiago de Compostela.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists flock here every day to touch the medieval statue of the Black Virgin, the patroness saint of Catalonia.

Some are seeking spiritual rewards, others some magnificent views of the most unusual rock formations in all of Catalonia.

I’m not a very religious person but I do take a big interest in religion in general. I’m always eager to explore the sacred sights of other religions therefore I have promised myself to stop skipping the Catholic ones, although years of indoctrination have made me very rebellious and church allergic.

Montserrat Rocks!

This monk retreat was a perfect place, beside the Basilica it has the Museum of Montserrat, which holds some works by Monet, Picasso and Dali.

Do not expect to find any famous painting here, those are always in Paris and New York, but do appreciate this little break from all of this Catholic delirium that is omnipresent in the air.

La Moreneta is site’s main attraction. The small Romanesque statue of the seated Virgin with the Child Jesus on her lap is made of wood.

In English it is called ‘black’, the Spanish call her ‘Moreneta’ which means ‘tanning’. Originally the statue was much lighter but it tanned over the centuries from smoke, humidity and the darkening of varnish with age.

While there has been a church standing here since the 11th century, the Basilica is relatively new, the current version was built in the 19th century in the popular Neo – Romanesque style.

The most notable attraction beside the Black Virgin is Escolania – one of the oldest and most renowned boys choirs in Europe.

Every day at one in the afternoon you can admire them singing the ’Salve Regina’ and the ‘Virolai’ (the hymn of Montserrat) in the Basilica.

My favourite sights of the Montserrat were actually Santa Cova and Sant Joan. I love its awe-inspiring vistas and unique panoramas.

Santa Cova (the Holy Grotto) is where La Moreneta was originally located, now the cave holds a replica. The hike was breathtaking. No, no! I wasn’t short on breath but totally overwhelmed by the views.

Another great place is Sant Joan, You can use a funicular or walk up and then follow further up to the Sant Joan Chapel, which is a great starting point for all serious hikes in the area.

Montserrat is a place of extreme natural beauty and as the name suggests this mountain is truly serrated.


27 thoughts on “Holy Moley Montserrat!

  1. Sheikh Asad

    Impressed by your blog, Just keep up the good work!

  2. Laura Spencer

    I’m impressed with your blog, I’m a big fan.

    • My Travel Affairs

      Thanks Laura!

  3. Emily

    Great photos. Every time someone mentions going to Barcelona, I cannot stop myself from talking about Montserrat until … well until the person reminds me they were asking me about advice for Barcelona. But I cannot stop myself. I don’t want them to miss out on such a beautiful and peaceful site. Great post. I am really glad I found your blog so I can look up info on countries I am planning to visit.

    • My Travel Affairs

      Im happy you are enjoying my blog and that it is useful to you dear, and yes Montserrat is so so nice! :)

  4. Michelle

    Wow! It is really cool how such a beautiful building is located in such a gorgeous natural area.

    • My Travel Affairs

      It was indeed very beautiful ;)

  5. Michelle

    Wonderful photos and great info- as always!!

    • My Travel Affairs

      Thanks Michelle!

  6. Sheikh Asad

    Wow Truly exciting places to watch out for.
    I will share it on Facebook!

    • My Travel Affairs

      Thanks Sheikh!

  7. Zotwot

    I love that Montserrat is very similar to Monster Rat. I accidentally spelt it that way once and now I can only ever think “Monster Rat”, which is a shame really.

    • My Travel Affairs

      Ha ha ha, that is funny indeed Zotwot :) At least it sticks in your memory forever lol

  8. Amin Motiwala

    I am impressed by your blog, Just keep up the good work

    • My Travel Affairs

      Thanks a lot Amin :)

  9. Ralph

    I have not been myself to Monserrat before, but what a great creator that made all this

    • My Travel Affairs

      Indeed, they are spectacular! And from what I have heard he created few other stuff as well…ha ha ha

  10. Monika Jall

    Very interesting!

  11. Angela

    Beautiful landscape, it reminds me a little of Saint Jacques hill in Cavaillon, Provence.

    • My Travel Affairs

      Haven’t seen this hill Angela, been in Provence but must to miss it, next time for sure :)

  12. Ric

    This is truly amazing. The place looks so peaceful How I wish to view it personally! Great captures! Love it!

    • My Travel Affairs

      It is truly a peaceful place as soon as You go away from tourist traces…some great trekking in this area :)

  13. My Travel Affairs

    By the way Walter I liked your post about Barcelona, been there this year and I myself will be hosting a post about it so it was very nice to read :)

  14. Walter

    Montserrat is impressive indeed, we had a wonderful time up there!

    Walter recently posted…Soaking up the Glamour of BarcelonaMy Profile

    • My Travel Affairs

      I had a very calm time over there, the mountains are very humbling…

  15. Ivan

    I love nature so much. I wish I could have the time to visit these great tourist sites… I would love to touch the statue of the Black Virgin…

    • My Travel Affairs

      The statue is truly amazing but the true beauty here is indeed the nature surrounding the monastery.

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