After our time in Girona and the north of Catalonia, we drove southward, inland around Barcelona and on to the next place we stayed.

Along the way we stopped at Montserrat. It is Catalonia's primary religious shrine, dedicated to the Virgin Mary
(and the reason for which Montserrat is a very common name for Catalan women, often shortened to Montse).

Montserrat means "jagged-edged mountain," and a glance up at its heights explains the origin of that name.

You take a funicular from the bottom of the valley to the top, enjoying spectacular views along the way.

Near the top is a group of buildings, including not only a monastery and basilica church but also a hostel and restaurants for pilgrims.

At the center of it all, the church dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat. You can see how many people were there, attending a choir concert held in the church.
It is difficult to see, but above the main altar is a niche that bears the statue of the Virgin, one of the many "Black Madonnas" carved probably in the twelfth century.


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