Tourists, pilgrims and believers visit this popular destination, The Monastery of Montserrat, to visit the Black Madonna, patron saint of Catalonia. Known to locals as “La Moreneta” due to its colour, she was attributed many miracles in the 12th Century.
The Monastery sits two thirds up Montserrat, the ‘serrated mountain’, called so due to its shape which can be viewed from afar. The peak of St Jerome stands tall at 1,236 meters above sea level and only 45 km northwest of Barcelona. A funicular goes almost all the way up to the top. The keyword being almost as from the funicular there is still a steep hiking trails which leads through the nature park to the top of the mountains and reward hikers with a magnificent view of Catalonia.
The Monastery faced difficult times during the Franco dictatorship but they put up resistance. Despite the ban in those days, Catalan was still spoken and fairs were held in that language, many persecutees of the Franco regime were also in hiding there. As a result, around 20 monks were executed. This defiance makes the Montserrat Monastery an important symbol the fight against oppression.