If you are visiting Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in the Spanish region, you must dedicate one day to a visit to the holiest place in Spain , the Monastery of Montserrat. It is 50 km away from Barcelona. The Monastery of Montserrat is not only the holiest place in the country, but also the highest point in the region, rising 1236 meters.
The monastery was built at an altitude of 725 meters on rocky mountains around the XI century. Such a place was chosen not by chance. Legend has it that Benedictine monks discovered a statuette of the Madonna holding a baby in the mountains. Noticing its unusual powers, they tried to take out the wooden statuette and shelter it in the monastery they were building. But trying to do so made it difficult and unbearable. Therefore, it was decided to establish the monastery where the statuette of the Madonna was found. However, specialists say that the famous Madonna was made around the XII century, when the monastery was already founded.
The monastery, which has been counting for hundreds of years, was repeatedly destroyed during the wars that took place, suffered the most during the war in the XVII century, then during the occupation of Napoleon, the Spanish Civil War. However, after all the adversity, the monastery was rebuilt by the efforts of the community of monks and believers.
In the monastery of Montserrat you can visit the basilica in the Renaissance style, the courtyard, the library. There is also a museum here, where paintings and sculptures of Picasso, Dali, Degas, Miro, Monet, Rusin, Casas are exhibited.
However, believers and curious people are most attracted to the monastery by the statuette of the Black Madonna, proclaimed the patron saint of Catalonia by Pope Leo XIII in 1844. It is believed that touching the statuette brings wishes and dreams to life. Every year, the monastery and the Black Madonna are visited by over two million people.
The monastery itself is still in operation today, with about 70 monks living in it, but they are separated from visitors, so you will not see them during your visit to Montserrat.
It is worth coming to this place not only for the sake of the monastery, but also for the magnificent landscape. There are many paths for walks here, and the funicular can reach the peak of Saint Jeronimo and admire the panorama of Montserrat.
Connections on the way from Barcelona are convenient – every hour there are trains from Placa d’Espanya station in Barcelona. When buying a ticket, a combined version of it is offered – you take a train to the foothills of the mountains, then with the same ticket to the monastery you take off by cable car or mountain lift.
For one person, such a round trip costs about 27 euros. Most of the tourists go to the monastery by cable car, but the bravest ones choose a mountain lift, which offers a magnificent panorama of the region as they take off.
It is important to emphasize that when buying a combined ticket, both modes of transport cost the same, but in order to take off by mountain lift while leaving Barcelona, you need to get off at the penultimate stop of Montserrat-Aeri. And those who want to take off by cable car must take a train to the last stop in Monistrol de Montserrar.
The total duration of the trip to one side is about an hour and a half. You can also get to the monastery by your own car, buses run.
Prices in Montserrat are not high, for lunch in the canteen you will spend about 10 euros, and a ticket to the Basilica of Montserrat costs 5 euros. If you want to visit the Black Madonna, buy a combined ticket, which costs 7 euros. It is most convenient to book tickets via the Internet, you will not have to wait in queues, and also in this way you will have a guarantee that you will definitely be able to visit the most important objects, since the flow of people to them is limited.