Monastry of Montserrat
An hour northwest of Barcelona rests the Monastery of Montserrat, a gorgeous Benedictine monk retreat. A highlight amongst the many attractions of Spain, this monastery continually draws crowds. The religious history and natural beauty of this site add to the breathtaking awe felt by visitors upon their arrival.

Located o­n a rugged mountain, Montserrat has been nestled among the many peaks for centuries. As the center of the Catalan faith, the Monastery houses "La Moreneta" (the Black Madonna), as well as a large collection of world-famous paintings. The legend of the Black Madonna (a statue reportedly carved by St. Luke around 50 AD) reaches back to the 9th Century, when the first chapel of the Monastery was constructed. The story of the discovery of the Black Madonna claims a group of shepherds was led to the statue by a bright light. When the small statue was too heavy to be lifted, it was decided she would remain o­n Montserrat, and the Monastery was built. Later, in the 20th Century, Montserrat played an integral part of the Catalan nationalist movement. The first Catalan bible was printed here, and the retreat served as an important stronghold against Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

The architecture of the Monastery of Montserrat is awe-inspiring. Visitors are treated to beautiful arcs and domes, and wonderfully designed pillars. A treat for guests is the phenomenal boys choir that performs daily. For those who enjoy walking, the Monastery offers many mountain paths. o­n these trails, hikers are rewarded with amazing views and some of the most unique rock formations in all of Catalonia.

Monastry of Montserrat
The rich history surrounding the Monastery of Montserrat o­nly serves to add to the structural beauty of the site. Clearly, it will continue to be at the top of the list for things to see while in Spain.