For hundreds of years, the Royal Basilica of Montserrat has been one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Spain and that’s because of its popular XII century Romanesque carving of the Black Virgin. If you decide to visit this place on weekdays afternoons, then you’ll also be able to hear the L’Escolania children’s choir, which is well known around the world for the angelic music it produces.
The Montserrat Basilica is a Gothic structure that harmoniously incorporates traditional Catalan architecture and Renaissance shapes. While the structure was greatly damaged during the Napoleon War, it was eventually repaired in the XIX century. When it comes to size, the basilica’s central nave measures fifty eight meters in length and fifteen meters in width.
Looking around its edge, you’ll notice there are many ornamental hanging candles which portray a style of jewelry-making that dates back to the end of the Spanish Civil War. The candles bear a special meaning, representing the continuous presence of the Catalunyans at Saint Mary of Montserrat’s feet.
If you focus your attention at the central pillars of the nave, you’ll be able to see various sculptures of Daniel, Isiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. These look simply amazing and they were carved in wood by Josep Llimona and put in place in eighteen ninety six.
If you go around the edge of the basilica, you’ll notice several chapels. One of them is the chapel of Saint Scholastica which contains various sculptures by Agapit Vallmitjana and Enric Claraso. Another Chapel the basilica contains is that of the Most Holy One which incorporates a massive stained glass window. This window doesn’t serve only an aesthetic purpose, but also a functional one of separating the chapel from the nave.
The 3rd Chapel houses a very impressive and beautiful painting by Josep Cusachs. The painting describes the exodus to Egypt. Chapel number four was designed by Josep Llimona and illustrates Jesus Christ on the cross. Lastly, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, which is 105 years old, is a form of tribute to Antoni Gaudi and it was designed by Josep M Pericas. Out of all 4 chapels, this last one stands as a perfect example of Catalan architecture.
Just above the altar area, at the back of the church, lies the famous Black Madonna (La Moreneta) framed in an ornate window. Seeing and also touching the Black Madonna’s hand is something which religious people will most certainly want to consider, since doing so is said to bring them good health and heavenly blessings. The reason why the sculpture’s face is black is not because it represents the African Madonna or due to the wood’s color. The statue has simply blackened over time.
The L’Escolania boys choir at Montserrat is one of the most popular children’s choirs in the world thanks to the extremely high standard of music they produce. No matter if you’re a religious person or not, seeing and auditioning the choir is certainly an experience of a lifetime. With a members count of 50 and more than one hundred albums recorded over time, the choir’s angelic voices will open your heart and transport you to a world of peace and serenity.
Visiting the Montserrat Basilica is an incredible experience that will relieve the weight off your shoulders and help you find inner peace as well. Not only can you see some amazing views here, but overall, this place is going to be one of the most special tourist attractions you’ll visit in Spain.