56km (35 miles) NW of Barcelona
Let yourself be enchanted by the spirituality of Montserrat, the magic mountain of Catalonia. The Monastery and the beauty views will captivate you.
Montserrat is a mountain near Barcelona, Spain that’s long been regarded a sacred and magical place. In 880, it was said that a light floated down the mountains for six Saturdays in a row. When a search party headed by a bishop went to investigate, they found that the light fell on a previously undiscovered cave. Inside the cave, completely intact, was a statue of the Virgin Mary allegedly made in 50 AD. The statue soon attracted pilgrims and monks, and a monastery was eventually established in the mountain. Nicknamed “The Black Madonna,” the figure is venerated as the patron saint of Catalonia.
Sense of spirituality is awoken at the mere sight of the mountain of Montserrat. Its astonishing rocky outcrops, which rise up into the air like sandcastles, have stimulated the imagination for millennia.
The monastery at Montserrat, which sits atop a 1,200m-high (3,936-ft.) mountain, 11km (7 miles) long and 5.5km (3 1/2 miles) wide, is one of the most important pilgrimage spots in Spain. It ranks alongside Zaragoza and Santiago de Compostela. Thousands travel here every year to see and touch the medieval statue of La Moreneta (the Black Virgin), the patron saint of Catalonia. Many newly married couples flock here for her blessing.
During the Nazi-era, German occultists believed that the holy grail rested somewhere inside Montserrat. In October 1940, Heinrich Himmler was sent to Spain to meet with Francisco Franco. Aside from being the commander of the SS, Himmler was also a founder of the Ahnenerbe, a pseudoscientific organization that launched expeditions across the world to find holy artifacts and evidence of ancient Aryan civilizations. Before meeting Franco, Himmler made a trip to the monastery in Montserrat. Himmler suspected that the holy grail was in the mountain, but the monastery received him coldly, and he returned to Germany empty-handed.