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One of Catalonia’s most important monasteries, Santa Maria de Monserrat is a Benedictine abbey located in the mountains of Montserrat, under the shadow of the imposing monoliths.
Culminating at over 1200 meters, Montserrat often attracts religious pilgrims from all over Spain who come visit the famous Black Virgin of Montserrat. It’s actually a very small statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ on her lap. Legend says that the Benedictine monks found the statue in a cave in the mountains and could not move it, so they built the monastery around the statue. On the 11th of September 1881, Pope Leo XIII declared the virgin of Montserrat patroness of Catalonia.
The statue’s sanctuary is visible in the photo, above the cross on the bottom half. Visitors walk up one by one to take photos. I didn’t have the patience to wait 30min in line to walk up the sanctuary.
During Franco’s rule, Santa Maria de Montserrat was seen as a place of refuge for scholars, artists, politicians and students.
Definitely a place I recommend, at least for a short hike to watch the sunset over the mountains.