Monistrol de Montserrat, in the comarca (county) of the Bages, Catalonia, is located beneath the mountain of the same name, the Montserrat, and is part of its mountainous landscape. The name of the mountain Montserrat means "jagged or serrated mountain." The mountain plays a very important role in the cultural, historic, and spiritual life of the town and the whole of Catalonia.
Monistrol de Montserrat is the most important religious retreat in Catalonia. People, especially the younger ones, from Barcelona, Catalonia, and all over Spain make a pilgrimage to the mountain at least once in their lives. This pilgrimage takes form as an overnight hike from the base of the Montserrat to reach the peak of mountain and watch the sunrise from its heights.
The origin of the name of Monistrol de Montserrat means the “monastery of Montserrat”. The monastery that is the namesake of town is the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat. The monastery is located on the base of Montserrat. In pre-Christian era, the monastery was constructed to worship Venus.
Santa Maria de Montserrat is now famous for housing and enshrining the Virgin of Montserrat, the most beloved Virgin of whole Catalonia, declared as the patroness of Catalonia. It is one of the Black Virgins or Black Madonnas venerated throughout the Catholic world. The Virgin of Montserrat is a Romanesque statue believed to have been carved in Jerusalem and transferred to Monistrol de Montserrat. While expanding the Monastery, the monks could not move the Virgin and instead build the present structure around it.
Santa Maria de Montserrat also has a museum that maintains works of art by many prominent Spanish artists like El Greco, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. Montserrat’s Boys’ Choir, the Escolania, is one of the oldest in Europe, and performs during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the Santa Maria de Montserrat. The Publications of the Abbey of Montserrat, one of the oldest publishing houses and printing presses in the world, is still operational.
The mountain and monastery themselves are enough to make a visit to Monistrol de Montserrat, but there several attractions to the town. The Llobregat River runs through the town of Monistrol de Montserrat, dividing it into two areas. The original town lies on the eastern bank of the river, while the recent urban development is located on the western bank.
Hostels in Monistrol de Montserrat are welcoming to pilgrims and visitors. Monistrol de Montserrat hostels take pride in having the best view of the mountain and the surrounding environment.
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