Montserrat - Part II

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by roza4 on July 5, 2003

Continued from Part I

The entrance to the cathedral is through a large courtyard that looks like a baroque building with walls covered with painted columns. But all of this is just an imitation since you can clearly see "1901" as cathedral year of construction on its façade. The entrance door to the cathedral is to the right, and you walk through several chapels in various styles from Gothic to modern, with "silence" signs blinking and organ music covering the cathedral. The cathedral is very large and impressive with several Catalan kings graves in the front in the courtyard, and the walls of the courtyard are covered with beige-green paintings of saints. The ceiling and altar paintings are Art Nouveau. You continue to the second floor along the staircase decorated with marble statues and mosaics of saints, until you get to the very top and find yourself behind the altar, at the eye level with the crystal chandelier across the floor near the organs and the statue of the Black virgin (La Moreneta) in the alcove. This small statue is the biggest treasure of the monastery and is considered the patroness of Catalonia.

Then you begin your descent along the fresco-covered walls and exit the basilica on the side to once again wind up in the courtyard. The whole basilica has gorgeous stained glass windows with bright colors. On the second floor, the arches are supported by columns (four columns for each arch), the paintings above the altar in Art Nouveau style look very much like works of Mucha with elongated figures of angels and saints. The style of the building is neo-Gothic and it seems very different from earlier Spanish cathedrals in that its creators tried to take the best of the European traditions of their time. Its décor is innovative and much lighter and brighter. It doesn’t have the typical religious fear of Spanish churches of prior centuries. This is more of a piece of art rather than place to worship God.


Barcelona, Spain

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