Rock Formations, Montserrat, Spain

Montserrat, Spain

One of the highlights of traveling to Spain was hiking Montserrat. If I had more time, I would have loved to visit the historic monastery on the other side of the mountain. Montserrat, which means jagged mountain, “has had religious significance since pre-Christian times. Before Christ, a temple was built [there] by the Romans to worship Venus.”

“Miracles are attributed to the Black Madonna found in the 12th century, which is still the destination of pilgrimages today. The monastery owed its strong growth to these ascribed miracles. The basilica of the monastery was built in the 16th century, in the transition period between Gothic and Renaissance. The Black Madonna is kept in the basilica.” (Barcelona.de)

This mountain is home to one of the most important religious sites in Spain. A residence for the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, the mountain is visited not only by those seeking spiritual rewards but also by those looking for one of the most spectaculars views of Catalonia. The history of Montserrat goes back to 880 when a group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains.

The monks are also the owners of the Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, a publishing house that continues to operate today. It is the oldest press in the world, having published its first book in 1499. Music lovers will appreciate L’Escolania choir, a boys’ choir of sopranos and altos based at the Benedictine abbey. They perform every day at the Basilica of Montserrat.

Trip Advisor
Image source: © Jorge Franganillo

The rivers that formed the delta carried large rocks and pebbles that gathered in the delta itself, as did limestone as a result of decaying organic material. Then, some 25 million years ago, there was a shift in the earth’s plates resulting in the sea being pushed further out and the area around Montserrat being pushed upwards. As a result, the land was exposed to air, leaving the formation of rocks and limestone to suffer the effects of the weather.

Over the course of the next few million years, the rainwater and wind carved shapes into the limestone, which was relatively soft compared to the stone, producing the incredible system of curves and peaks that is Montserrat today.

The Culture Trip

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