Montserrat Abbey (Catalonia)

Not so long ago, I was sitting at home thinking about places to visit and photograph. Nowadays, the internet is the perfect tool for this kind of research, but I had a different idea. Instead, I decided to make a list with great places I had visited before I became so passionate about photography.

Montserrat Abbey was one of these places. I last visited it a long, long time ago, but it left a strong impression on a younger me. From the outside, the enormous Abbey looks austere. However, the interior is quite different: it’s full of art and its amazing lighting is perfect for photographs.

The Abbey, located in the Mountain of Montserrat, is famous for the statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat (“La Moreneta” in Catalan), which means “the One with a Black Face.”

According to the legend, shepherds discovered the statue in 880 AD. They saw a bright light and heard heavenly music that eventually led them to a grotto and the statue. The Bishop of Manresa suggested moving the Virgin to his city, but it was discovered that the small statue was so heavy it could not be lifted. Therefore, they took this as a sign that the Virgin should stay on the mountain to be venerated.

In 1881, Montserrat’s Black Madonna was crowned in accordance with canon law and proclaimed patron saint of Catalonia by Pope Leo XIII.

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