After exploring El-born, visiting all the art in and around Barcelona and eating all the tapas.. it was time to head out to see the serrated mountains of Montserrat. Seeing the unique shape of the mountains up-close alone warrants a visit even if you don’t believe in the miracles of ‘La Moreneta’ – the wooden statue that is believed to have been carved by St Luke in 50 AD. It depicts a seated Black Virgin with the child Jesus on her lap. Many women in Spain are named Montserrat and she is revered all over the world. One of the men who accompanied Columbus in the New World was a former monk from Montserrat and he started her veneration in the Americas. There are funiculars i.e. cable cars to the Santa Cova where La Moreneta was first found and one to the top of the mountain for some incredible views.
The mountain of Montserrat is a place of worship and a place where many pilgrims go, and is the most famous religious site in Catalonia. For people of other religions, it is said that the mountain is a source of great energy, one of the best in Europe, and people flock to it for the experience.
The statue of the Virgin is called “La Moreneta” because of the black color of her face. The statue is a wooden Romanesque statue from the end of the 12th century. The varnish on the statue has oxidized and because of the effect of candle smoke and the smoke of lamps, the appearance is now black. The Virgin has a crown of diadems and has a ball in her hand. On her lap is a statue of Jesus Christ. He also has a crown and His hand is making a sign of blessing, while the other hand is holding a pine cone. Many women in Spain are named Montserrat and she is revered all over the world. One of the men who accompanied Columbus in the New World was a former monk from Montserrat and he started her veneration in the Americas.
When you go to the basilica, on the atrium floor, there is a medallion in the center and there is an inscription around it with a message that only those baptized and born in the water like fish can understand the meaning of the fish of the Eucharist. People of many faiths and children like to balance themselves on one foot on this atrium floor, as it is a custom from way back. We saw quite a people doing this while we were there.
After seeing the basilica, you can see the museum, which surprises you with its quality and quantity. The museum is in a building across from the basilica and it is built underground, comprising of two stories. This was built by the architect Josep Puig I Cadafalch in 1929. There are many works of art donated by rich Catalans. There are archeology pieces from the Bible lands, gold and silver work from the 15th -20th centuries, and beautiful paintings from masters such as Caravaggio, El Greco, Sisley, Dali, and many Catalan artists from the early 20th century. There are also many paintings done by many artists with the subject of Saint Mary of Montserrat. This museum is among one of the best private museums in Spain.
We did not go the museum instead we enjoyed the surrounding enjoying the scenery and visiting the markets that was selling homemade soap, jelly and honey.
This trip was originally published on Outside Suburbia.