The Sanctuary of Montserrat is located at the the summit of the most emblematic mountain in Catalonia (Spain), in a unique natural park about one hour from the city of Barcelona by train.
Montserrat is one of the favorite destinations in Catalonia for its significant religious and cultural importance, receiving more than two million visitors each year. The natural beauty of the surroundings give the Sanctuary an atmosphere of meditation and intimacy that welcome to pilgrims.
The main buildings are the Basilica together with the adjacent Benedictine Monastery that houses about 80 monks. The atrium that provides access to the Basilica (shown in one of the photos) is from the 18th century while the Basilica architecture is a mixture of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance.
Inside the Basilica you can admire the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, proclaimed Patron Saint of Catalonia in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII. The highly venerated statue represents Saint Mary as God’s Mother and is one of the black Madonnas of Europe, thus its popular local name as La Moreneta (the little dark-skinned one in english). The image is a 12th century Romanesque polychrome carving that has been slowing darkening with the past of time as the wood and the paint was not originally black.
Furthermore, the Sanctuary of Montserrat also hosts one of the oldest presses in the world still running (with publications from 1499) and one of the oldest and renowned kids choirs in Europe from 13th century.
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Photo details: Sony A700, SAL-2470Z, Exposure 1/200 sec., f/10, Focal Length 24mm, ISO 100
View more photos in the Catalonia Gallery.