“Serrated Mountain.” That’s the translation for Montserrat, Pretty clear to see why. It is a notable landmark in Catalonia for more than just its beauty.
Monserrat is also shares the name given to a Benedictine monastery that crowns the mountain: Santa Maria de Montserrat. Founded in the 10th century (!), it serves as a spiritual center and tourist magnet.
Things have not always been as serene as this daily scene. Napoleon invaded and sacked the monastery twice in the early 1800s, leaving it a rock pile. From 1936 to 1939 the Spanish Civil War took it’s toll – 22 monks were killed here.
This is a replica of the Virgin of Montserrat, the most venerated object in all of Spain. I saw versions of this 800+ year old wooden statue in serveral other big cities. In the photograph before this one, the original life sized Virgin sits above the altar but is still is hard to see in that image.
There is art inside and out and runs the gamut of new to old. Works of Picasso, El Greco and Dali can be found.
Though you can drive up close to the Monastery, most folks come by rail. I took a conventional train from Barcelona to Manresa and transferred to a cog rail line to reach the point you see here. Another cable funicular can take you to what I was told was a marvelous view of all of Catalonia.
A place to come back to and stay for the more than the half day that I did. Montserrat is also one of Spain’s “Natural” Parks.