MAR to OCT daily 9:40-14, 14:35-19.
NOV to FEB Mon-Fri 10:10-14, 14:35-15:45, Sat, Sun, Hol 9:40-14, 14:35-18:15.
Cave Church: All year daily.
Adults EUR 10, Children (0-13) EUR 5, Seniors (65+) EUR 8.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 7, Pupils EUR 4.
Cave Church: free.
Abadia de Montserrat, 08199 Montserrat.
Porteria del Monestir, Tel: 938777765.
Information, Tel: 938777777.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|880||icon of Virgin Mary discovered, according to the legend.|
|888||First written mention of Montserrat.|
|945||document testifying the foundation of the monastery of St. Cecilia at Montserrat.|
|1239||first written mention of the legend.|
|1691-1704||Camí de la Santa Cova built.|
|19-MAR-1997||inauguration of the restoration of the Holy Grotto.|
The Santa Cova de Montserrat (Holy Cave of Montserrat) is a cave church, a chapel built into a cave where the icon of the Virgin Mary was discovered.
According to legend, two young shepherds saw a bright light descend from heaven and stop at a certain point at the side of the mountain of Montserrat, while they heard a beautiful melody. This was on a Saturday evening in 880.
The appearance continued for several weeks, and so the boys showed it to the priest of Olesa de Montserrat, who alerted the Bishop of Manresa. An expedition was sent up on the mountain where they found a cave containing the icon of the Virgin Mary. The people tried to move the icon down to Manresa in a procession, but it became too heavy to carry. So they decided to leave it n the cave and build a chapel around the cave instead.
The cave is actually an overhanging cliff face in reddish limestone. The place is hard to reach, and was probably used to hide the icon during the Moorish invasions. The Middle Ages were the time of wonders and reliquaries, and soon the cave became a pilgrimage destination. As a result the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat was built at the mountainside a few hundred meters to the north.
Abadia de Montserrat is located high above the valley, and may be reached by an incline railway or an cable car (Aeri). There is also a road, but the number of parking lots is extremely restricted.
From the abbey the pilgrim can reach the cave church on the Camí de la Santa Cova, a narrow path which was built into the cliff face. There is no easier way to the cave, and the walk takes about half an hour (length 1.5km). Along the path are fifteen sculptural groups corresponding to the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary. The sculptures were created by famous artists like Antonio Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch, Josep LLimona, and the Vallmitjana brothers.
The cave is today inside a cave church, which was erected in the 17th century. It was damged twice since then, but it was both times reconstructed. The first time was during the Napoleonic Wars in 1811, the second time was a fire in 1994.
The buildings include a cave church, a small cloister, and some buildings which are used by the monk who welcomes pilgrims here.