what to see in montserrat


Montserrat is a rock massif traditionally considered the most important and significant mountain in Catalonia (Spain).

Historically it has been one of the most representative places of Catalan identity, associated with the uniqueness of its mountains and the defense of the Catalan language and culture that has always been carried out by the monastery.

The main attraction of the mountains, in addition to the curious mountain range shape, would be the monastery dedicated to the Mare de Déu de Montserrat built in the 11th century. Enclave of both monks with a collected and reflective life, and pilgrims with different purposes for the virgin.

According to legend, the image of the virgin was found in the Holy Cave, Montserrat has been linked to spirituality. In addition to the monastery, the mountain has a notable number of small churches and churches, some abandoned, such as Santa Cecilia, Sant Benet, Sant Joan or Sant Jeroni.

What to see in Montserrat?

1. Montserrat Monastery

Monastery of Montserrat

The Monastery of Santa María de Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery located on the Montserrat mountain, in the municipality of Monistrol de Montserrat, at an altitude of 720 m above sea level. It is a symbol for Catalonia and has become a pilgrimage point for believers and a must-see for tourists.

The legend places the discovery of the image of the Virgin of Montserrat around the year 880. Then the cult of the Virgin began. Moreneta, which materialized in four first hermitages in the 9th century: Santa María, San Acisclo, San Pedro and San Martín. However, the origin of the monastery is uncertain: it is known that, around 1011, a monk from the monastery of Santa María de Ripoll arrived at the mountain to take charge of the monastery of Santa Cecilia, thus leaving the monastery under the orders of Abbot Oliba. from Ripoll. Santa Cecilia did not accept this new situation, so Oliba decided to found the monastery of Santa María in the place where an old hermitage of the same name was located (1025). The monastery soon became a sanctuary. This fact led to an increase in donations and alms received, and allowed for constant growth of both the religious establishment and the influence in the territory.

The monastery was looted and burned at various times in history, and many of its treasures were lost.

The king Ferdinand the CatholicLluís Companys and even Heinrich Himmler They have visited the Montserrat Monastery on several occasions.

2. Escolania de Montserrat

The Escolanía de Montserrat is a children's choir, with white voices, that sings daily in the Basilica of Montserrat, often with a large influx of pilgrims and visitors from all over the world. It is one of the most prestigious musical institutions in Europe. The Escolanía is the oldest in Europe and has still existed since the Middle Ages. Its existence is known from a written document from 1703. Created under the protection of the Benedictine monastery high on the mountain, like so many others at the service of communities and cathedrals, dedicated to religious worship, after many vicissitudes and transformations it still lends itself today. religious service in the Sanctuary.

To see the schedules of the Escolanía de Montserrat you can visit their website www.escolania.cat

Escolania de Montserrat

3. Montserrat Museum

Montserrat Museum

During the 19th century the monastery was destroyed and suppressed, and lost all its historical heritage. Everything that is currently in the Montserrat Museum is the result of new acquisitions and donations from individuals in an environment of recovery and significant presence in Catalan society with European and global irradiation.

In 1963 the Montserrat Museum itself was born, with archaeological materials from the Near East and the Renaissance and Baroque paintings that were inside the monastery. Since then, it has expanded with an important collection of paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, which come from donations from artists around the world.

An incredible place for lovers of history and art, but no one will be the same after having visited it.

If you want to know more about the Montserrat Museum, you can visit its website www.museudemontserrat.com.

4. Sant Jeroni Viewpoint

Sant Jeroni It is the highest peak of the Montserrat rock massif, with a height of 1,236 m. Near the top there was a hermitage (later converted into a restaurant), there is also a chapel and the San Jeroni Aerial Funicular station.

At the top there is a geodesic vertex and it is considered the highest point in the surrounding area. The Montserrat mountain surprises anyone who visits it for the first time and is an inexhaustible source of natural routes to discover. Once you reach the top the views are spectacular, the landscape becomes the viewpoint of Catalonia, from where you can see Mallorca on the clearest days.

To get to it, it can be done in two ways: Walking along a route that passes through the middle of the mountain, where you will enjoy the beautiful landscape, or with the Sant Jerónimo Aerial Funicular. The first begins on some stairs that start to the left of the Portal source, west of the sanctuary.

sant jeroni
sant jeroni see in montserrat

5. Sant Joan Funicular

sant joan montserrat funicular

The San Juan Funicular is one of the Montserrat funiculars along with the Montserrat rack railway and the Santa Cueva funicular. The first San Juan Funicular was inaugurated in 1918 and connected the outside of the Monastery of Montserrat with the hermitage of San Juan (1000 m), which due to its location in the upper part of the massif was used to build a viewpoint and a restaurant.

This funicular offers an impressive bird's eye view of the Montserrat mountain and the monastery.

And at the top, visitors can take some of the excursions or walks that are signposted, with different levels of difficulty and duration, so they adapt to all audiences. In addition, from the viewpoint you can enjoy incomparable views.

6. Aeri de Montserrat

The Aeri de Montserrat is an aerial funicular that connects the Aeri de Montserrat railway station with the monastery. It was inaugurated in 1930 and currently still offers its service with the original facilities. It allows you to comfortably climb the mountain in just 5 minutes and from it you can enjoy incredible views and take some great photos.

A booth leaves every 15 minutes and parking is free. You can buy the tickets on their website www.aeridemontserrat.com.

aeri de montserrat

7. Holy Cave of Montserrat

santa cova montserrat

The Holy Cave of Montserrat is the place where the image of the Virgin of Montserrat was found in 880, the origin of her cult and her consecration as patron saint of Catalonia. Its discovery turned the place into a pilgrimage center and led to the construction of the Montserrat Monastery.

Legend has it that in the year 880, on a Saturday night, some shepherd boys saw a great light descend from the sky, accompanied by a beautiful melody, which was placed halfway up the mountain. The following week they returned to their parents and the vision repeated itself. The same thing happens the following weeks with the company of the rector of Olesa de Montserrat. Aware of the event, the bishop of Manresa appeared; Then they found a cave in which the image of Saint Mary remained. They tried to transport it in a procession to Manresa, but the attempt was unsuccessful, so they understood the divine will: that image should be venerated on the mountain of Montserrat.

The Holy Cave is accessed through the Camino de la Santa Cueva, which is dug into the mountain, along the Montserrat Massif; It was built between 1691 and 1704 thanks to the patronage of Gertrudis de Camporrells, Marchioness of Tamarit. During your tour you can see the Monumental Rosary of Montserrat, a set of several sculptural groups dedicated to the Rosary and the fifteen mysteries of the Virgin, built between 1896 and 1916.

8. Saint Cecilia

Around the year 900, the church of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat, located near the Monastery, is mentioned for the first time. Santa Cecilia de Montserrat is a more than ancient place full of spiritual, historical and artistic meaning.

The Museum of Montserrat has created the Sean Scully Art and Spirituality Institute with the aim of promoting the cultivation of spiritual and artistic values among artists, students of Fine Arts, scholars of Art History, lovers and students of philosophy interested especially in aesthetics, musicians and conservatory students and, in general, people who make art, music and artistic beauty an axis of inner growth in their lives.

You can visit their website www.santaceciliamontserrat.com

Saint Cecilia Montserrat

9. Degotalls Road

Cami dels Degotalls

A good way to get to the monastery is along the Degotalls path. It is a flat and very entertaining path, ideal for doing with children. Flat, pleasant and you walk through mosaics that we find along the way praising virgins from various towns in Catalonia.

On the Degotalls path there are also a series of monuments that honor the memory of different intellectuals and cultural activists who made possible the recovery of national sentiment starting in the 19th century. At the entrance there is a monument dedicated to Jacinto Verdaguer, in front, we can read the "Canción de la Moreneta". In a first version, this poem was written by the poet in the Montserrat visitors' album, undated and hidden behind the generic signature of a mountain priest. Halfway along we will find a metal star dedicated to Anselm María Clavé who, in 1856, was the first to dedicate a poem to the Virgin, which later became a heart for his singers.

10. Salnitre Caves

The interior of the emblematic mountain of Montserrat hides a network of caves that pierce it, making it hollow and giving rise to many stories and legends around it. One of these caves, the most notable for its size and history, is the Cueva del Salnitre or Cueva de Collbató.

The abundance of bats, in other times, led to the accumulation of their excrement which, when decomposed on the calcareous rock rich in phosphates, formed potassium nitrate, better known as salnitre (in Catalan) or saltpeter; hence the name of the cave.

Saltpeter was extracted from the cave to be used as a food preservative and as the main ingredients in black gunpowder.

Among the visits to the cave, those of famous people such as Jacinto Verdaguer, Santiago Rusiñol and even Gaudí stand out, of whom it is said that the shapes of the cave served as inspiration for the design of the Sagrada Familia.

salnitre caves
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