Montserrat’s history dates back to 888, when Earl Wifredo el Velloso donated the chapel Santa Maria to the monastery of Ripoll. Years later, in 1025, the abbot of Ripoll and bishop of Vic, Oliva, converted the hermitage donated by the Earl in a new monastery, the Monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat. Then they began to arrive the first pilgrims and visitors who narrate the miracles the Virgin performed, stories that crossed all boundaries and gave Montserrat fame and popularity.
The monastery is hidden in the mountains called by the same name, Montserrat, which rises to 720 meters above sea level. Located between the districts of Anoia, Baix Llobregat and Bages, Montserrat is part of a rock mass and it is the most important mountain in Catalonia. Here, besides the monastery there are a sanctuary and small churches and chapels, some of them abandoned. However, the most notable landmarks are the sanctuary and the Benedictine monastery, both dedicated to the Virgin, more popularly known as “La Moreneta” (Black Madonna), which represents the patron saint of Catalonia.
Throughout the centuries, this natural landscape has become increasingly more important to the point of becoming a cultural center and symbol of Barcelona, dedicated to pilgrimage and spirituality. It is a meeting place for believers and a must for tourists. For all those who seek peace and enjoy the sweet sound of celestial music, Montserrat is one of the oldest choirs of children across Europe, la Escolanía, whose recognition and prestige has reached an international level. Currently, the choir acts in liturgical celebrations and communal prayer recited in the basilica, in addition to performing concerts all over the world.
The mountain of Montserrat is formed by clusters of plastered cement, calcareous rocks characterized by its hardness and erosion resistance songs. Its lush vegetation and varied wildlife make this natural area one of the most beautiful and spectacular in Barcelona. Its flora is typical of the Mediterranean, but due to the climatic conditions of the rock mass, species typical of dry places are also appreciated. We can enjoy nature in the Natural Park of Montserrat.
To visit the landmarks of Montserrat, such as the hermitage of San Juan and the Holy Cave, we can do it on foot or by ski lifts. These were built in order to transport the pilgrims to these places where, according to legend of Montserrat, there was found the image of the Virgin, “La Moreneta” (The Black Madonna).
Going to the mountain of Montserrat and visiting both the monastery and the shrine will delve you into one of the symbols of Catalonia, and discover more than 1,000 years of history .