The Basilica Architecturally speaking, the Basilica falls between the Gothic and Renaissance traditions, the latter of which began to spread through Catalonia in the 16th century.
The Basilica was greatly damaged during the War with the French (1808-1814), and could not be reconstructed until the end of the 19th century.
Because of the French War (1808-1914) the Basilica was damaged and had to be rebuilt later, at the end of the 19th century. The quality of the nave’s decoration in “Romanesque-Byzantine” style could be discussed.
Despite this, the architects, painters and sculptors who worked in the chancel and in the lateral chapels are considered masters of Modernism and Symbolism of that period.
As we go inside, we observe that Basilica has not great proportions, but we should take into account when and where it was built and also the means available.
The central nave measures 58 meters long, 15 wide and 23 high. Now, thanks to the restoration before mentioned (1991-1996), this temple is bright with natural light without losing that ambiance which invited to you to intimacy.
These lamps, in remembrance of those that were present earlier of Montserrat’s destruction (1811-1812) has been offered by regions, towns, associations and institutions of Catalonia and also Catalan associations which are present around the world.
The whole group symbolizes an offering and a permanent presence of the Catalan people at the feet of Saint Mary of Montserrat, their Patroness.
In the central pilasters of the nave, there are sculptures of the prophets Ezekial, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Daniel, who remember us the prophecies about Virgin Mary. They were carved from wood by Josep Llimona (1864-1934) and placed and this location in 1886. As we are in the middle of the nave, we can visit the chapels situated in our left.
Working days (Monday-saturday)
07.30 h Lauds
11.00 h Conventual Mass at the Basilica.
13.00 h Monday – Friday: Salve Regina and Virolai by the boy’s Choir (*).
18.15 h Rosary
18.45 h Vespers
Monday – Friday: from 10.45 to 13.00 h
Saturday: from 10.45 to 13.00 h and from 19.30 to 20.00 h
(*) The Boy’s Choir may occasionally be outside Montserrat. Please double check the dates at https://www.escolania.cat/quan-cantem/
Some offices may be followed live on our website https://abadiamontserrat.cat/montserrat-tv
Sundays and Holidays
07.30 h Laudes
11.00 h Conventual Mass. Booking
12.00 h Salve Regina and Virolai by the boy’s Choir (*)
18.15 h Rosary
18.45 h Vespers, Salve Regina and Motet by the boy’s Choir
From 10.45 to 13.00 h
The wide marble staircase which leads to the Niche, located at the back of the church, opens out into a carved alabaster doorway by Enric Monjo with Marian stories and flanked by two candelabra that are also made of alabaster by Rafael Solanich. The interior of the stairway is decorated with beautifully-made mosaics designed by Fr. Benet Martínez, one of the monks of Montserrat. The two antechambers to the throne of the Holy Image contain paintings by Josep Obiols. Two pairs of beaten silver doors lead to the small throne room, visible from the central aisle.
The dome and walls of the throne room are decorated with folden mosaics designed by Obiols, which show Our Lady of Montserrat being proclaimed patron saint of Catalonia and other Marian scenes.
There are nine worked silver lamps, representing the eight Catalan dioceses and the Community of Montserrat, around the room. Reliefs by Joaquim Ros representing the Nativity and the Visitations of Mary flank the throne. Above the Image there are reproductions of the crown, sceptre and lily offered by the people of Catalonia to Our Lady (the originals are kept in the museum).
The back part of this room leads to the circular niche built between 1876 and 1884 by Villar i Carmona in a pre-Modernista style with Gothic and Romanesque features. The famous architect Gaudí played an important role in the direction of this work.
The vault is decorated with frescos by Joan Llimona, which show the pilgrims of Montserrat being received by Saint Mary.The exit from the niche is via the Path of the Ave Maria, where pilgrims leave the candles they offer to Our Lady as an act of thanks or in remembrance of the prayer they have said at the Shrine.
We can observe that, despite being difficult, a beautiful harmony is reached with several neo-romanesque, neo-gothic and renaissance elements, which placed it in the Catalan Pre-Art Nouveau. Against a backlight the central stained glass window, just in front of the Virgin, there is an sculpture in wood and polychromatic made by Agapit Vallmitjana. Its facial features make us think that it could be a portrait of Venanci Vallmitjana, author’s brother.
It has a great artistic interest the cupola’s painting (1896-1898) made by Joan Llimona. Its realization was difficult because of problems of perspective. We will point out the most important aspects.
The painting ensemble has a colorful of light and bright tones emphasizing to apotheosis the infinity of the firmament, where appears the Virgin with Jesus in the arms, surrounded by angels and archangels. A panoramic view of the mountain of Montserrat creates the intersection between the celestial area and the worldly one. In the lower part of the cupola, there are in both sides a group of pilgrims; members of the ecclesiastic state, on the right side, and civilian state, in the left side. The characters are related to the Catalan history and symbology.This cupola is an artistic treasure of Montserrat and the whole Catalan modern painting.
The idea of remodeling the room of the Virgin’s throne, with the corresponding antechambers, and built a new access staircase to the niche, dates from 1944, having as objective of the Enthronement’s celebrations of 27th april 1947. The architectonic ensemble was completely finished in 1954, when the Marian Year was celebrated. In the project, designed and directed by the architect Francesc Folguera and the painter Josep Obiols, took part architects, sketchers, sculptors and metalsmiths, in order to reach a synthesis of Catalan fine arts of the mid-twentieth century thanks to the collaboration of this representative group of Catalan artists.
We access to the room by a large portico of alabaster, where there are represented biblical moments about Mary, the God’s Mother. It was inaugurated in 1954. It was been sculpted by Enric Monjo. The two candelabras that flank it, also in alabaster, are made by Rafel Solanic. The inside part of the staircase is decorated with beautiful mosaics made by Santiago Padrós, according to the design of Father Benet Martínez.
At the back of the room, a painting of Carlo Maratta (1625-1713) represents the birth of Jesus, who is in the arms of Mary, his mother.
The wall paintings of the access room to the Virgin’s throne are made by Josep Obiols and represented virtuous and courageous women mentioned in the Bible.
These paintings have continuity at the exit of the room, after worshipping the Holy Image. Silver doors give access to the staircase that lead to the room of the Virgin’s throne. They were made by Josep Obiols, Rafel Solanic and Manel Capdevila. The mentioned room, visible from the central nave, is entirely covered with Venetian mosaics designed by Josep Obiols and made by Santiago Padrós. Mary is represented as Mother of the Humanity, the apostles, the Church, Catalonia, the monks and the pilgrims.
The nine lamps of silver, made by Xavier Corberó (1909-1981), that surround the room represent the eight dioceses of Catalonia and Montserrat. The two alabaster candelabras situated in the both sides of the tone, made by Pere Jou (1891-1964), have sculptures remembering the pilgrims’ processions that have worshipped the Holy Image.
The Throne of Virgin, designed as an altarpiece of carved silver, was an offering of the Catalan people in 1947. It consists of two silver reliefs made by the metalsmith Ramon Sunyer (1889-1963) and joined by frames made by the metalsmith Alfons Serrahima (1906-1988) according to the project of Joaquim Ros i Bofarull. They represent the Nativity and the Visitation of Mary.
07.00 h a 10.30 h
12.00 h a 18.15 h
19.30 h a 19.30 h
(1/07 – 15/09)
The crown is not a reason for joy
From your martyrs from Montserrat;
May their martyrdom console us and
That a large number of intercessors
Obtain us the grace
Of being stronger in the faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son,
That in you lives and reigns
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
We ask you for his intercession
Parenostre, Ave Maria (3), glòria…”
The path which leads to the Santa Cova (Holy Cave) starts near the cable car and continues for about one and a half kilometres along a route established in the seventeenth century. Financial support from the faithful contributed to the fifteen sculptural groups corresponding to the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary set up along the route. Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch, Josep LLimona, the Vallmitjana brothers and others all worked on these pieces of sculpture.
Almost hanging from the rock at the end of the route is the Chapel where legend has it that the Image of Our Lady of Montserrat was found. The current building is by and large the same as the seventeenth century building which was rebuilt twice, firstly because of the damage suffered in the Napoleonic Wars in 1811 and later after damage caused by the fire in 1994 and the collapse of the dome in September 1995.
There are some outbuildings used as a dwelling by the monk who welcomes pilgrims there and a charming small cloister. The simple small chapel, built to the design of a Greek cross and dome, backs onto a grotto in the mountain, where there is a stylised reproduction of the authentic Image in the Basilica. The entire place is peaceful and solitary.
Working days: 11.30 to 16.15 h
Public holidays: 10.30 to 16.30 h