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The Most Mysterious Destination to Discover! Montserrat, Spain

Updated on July 24, 2011

The mountain of Montserrat, according to tradition, is the most important and mysterious mountain of Catalonia (Spain). It is located 50 km northwest of Barcelona between the Anoia, Baix Llobregat and Bages. On this mountain stands the Benedictine monastery and shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Montserrat.

Montserrat is the name of a mountain and means “jagged (serrated) mountain” in Catalan. Its unique rock formation is recognizable from great distances and it is the site of Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine Abbey, which makes it a popular location for locals and tourists alike.

For millennia, tectonic movements, climatic changes and erosion have shaped sharp relief, with huge walls and rounded blocks of conglomerate rock and clay. Inside physical agents have opened caves and streams.

The quintessential Mediterranean forest is also the predominant vegetation type in Montserrat. With respect to wildlife, now you can find various birds and mammals, among which the squirrel, a bat or wild boar and wild goats.

This destination is popular for many tourists. They usually come to visit beautiful nature and idyllic landscape, such as the “Holly Cave”; and also for architecture of Montserrat Monastery or famous Icon of St. Mary.

It is also very important site for international practitioners of meditations and other spiritual skills that find this place as the unique source of vital energy coming up from the earth. One of practitioners was, according to some stories, famous Catalan architect Anotoni Gaudi.


The Legend says...

The legend tell us that one Saturday in 880, as evening was coming on, some shepherd boys saw a great light descend from the sky, accompanied by a beautiful melody, and come to rest half way up the mountain. The following Saturday their parents went there and the vision was repeated. The four following Saturdays they were accompanied by the rector of the village of Olesa, and all of them saw the vision. Once word of the event spread, the bishop of the town of Manresa organised a journey there, also on a Saturday. There they saw a cave inside which they found the image of St Mary. They tried to carry it in procession to Manresa, but in vain. Then they understood the divine will: the image had to be venerated on the mountain of Montserrat.

Whether told in popular and legendary language or with the certainty and precision of a historian, what is sure is that the place has been sanctified for many centuries by the presence of the image of St Mary and the pilgrimage of thousands upon thousands of men and women.

The chapel of the Holy Cave

The first pleasant surprise that awaits there is Holy Cave. It is the product of a delicately balanced symbiosis between nature and architecture. No-one can say where one begins and the other one ends.

The construction of the chapel dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries (1696-1705). Still outside.

The chapel is with a cross ground plan sheltering beneath a cavern in one of the arms of the mountain, which is the original Holy Cave. In this very place, on the right-hand side of the altar, is a stylised reproduction of the genuine holy image, which is venerated in the basilica.

On 4 July 1994 a forest fire destroyed the roofs of the buildings next to the chapel and the cloister, and when they collapsed they damaged the flooring, the furniture and the openings, which were also burned. For safety reasons both the Holy Cave and the road were closed.

The restoration project was immediately (1995) given to the architect Arcadi Pla i Masmiquel (1945), and work started in the autumn of the following year. The fully restored Holy Cave was inaugurated on 19 March 1997; it is now open again to the pilgrims of St Mary.

Mediation on Montserrat

The Holy cave is the reason why a group of the Law of Attraction practitioners organizes the courses and symposiums Every year on this mountain. They find this mountain as a site of great geo - energetic field, and unique spiritual site-node in Europe. They come over Montserrat to have more productive meditation, and to receive energy that planet earth radiate here.

The Law of Attraction is one of the better known universal laws. The theory behind the Law of Attraction is that we create our own realities. We attract things we want and we also attract things we don't want. We attract the people in our lives, the stuff in our homes, and the money in our bank accounts through our thoughts and feelings.

When our beliefs are limited, we attract limited wealth and compromise our well-being. When we believe anything is possible, the sky's the limit. In fact, you can break through that glass roof on the sky with your miraculous positive thoughts. When we focus on the "lack of" we are creating a less-than reality. But, if focus on being abundant and happy we will enjoy a luxurious and glorious reality.

Why do practicians believe that holy cave bring them positive thinking it is up to you to discover.

The case of Antoni Gaudi

There is also a legend that famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaude used to go to the mountain to meditate and find inspiration for projects such as Sagrada Familia.

If we look the image, we could see impressive similarity between the mountain and the temple. However, remaining clue is whether Gaudi's inspiration came from natural form of rocks, or he imagined the structure mediating in the holly cave?

One is sure: The form of Sagrada Familia (Holly Family) is very similar to nature of mountain, but the constructive system of the church was undoubtedly unique for the time! What Gaudi demonstrated by this building is not only the impressive organic form but also the invention of so called “Real Gotic” - a constructive system of tapered columns. This constructive system was something completely new for the time, because they did not follow the vertical forces of gravity but they attract the forces that creates the high arches.

As one can see, Montserrat is a unique experience that offers something for everyone. In fact, many people consider it the highlight of their trip to Catalonia, so it is surely not something to be missed!


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    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      7 years ago from The English Midlands

      Very interesting!!!

    • mcdaglass profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago


      I am glad you like the story, Montserrat is amazing place indeed

      I am also a big fan of Gaudi. His life is very intriguing, and there are many stories, not written in books, that only old people leaving around can tell you. This is one of them :)

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      7 years ago from The English Midlands

      Hi :)

      Enjoyable hub!

      I have been to Montserrat ~ a beautiful place!

      As I am interested in history, and studied Spanish religious visions for my history degree, I find Montserrat particularly intriguing. (I have written my notes up for Hub Pages.)

      I didn't know about the Gaudi connection. I was planning a hub on him, so I shall have to bear that in mind :)


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