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The MONTSERRAT Monastery (I)

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   SANTA MARIA de MONTSERRAT is an abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict located on the mountain of MONTSERRAT in MONISTROL de MONTSERRAT, CATALONIA, SPAIN. It is notable for enshrining the image of the Virgin of Montserrat.     The monastery was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries, and still functions to this day, with over 70 monks.
   The monastery is 48 kilometres northwest of BARCELONA, and can be reached by road, train or cable car.
  MONTSERRAT, whose name means serrated mountain, is ideally located to play an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of CATALONIA. It is CATALONIA's most important religious retreat and groups of young people from BARCELONA and all over CATALONIA make overnight hikes at least once in their lives to watch the sunrise from the heights of MONTSERRAT.
   The Virgin of MONTSERRAT is CATALONIA's favourite saint, and is located in the sanctuary of the MARE de DÉU de MONTSERRAT, next to the Benedictine monastery nestling in the towers and crags of the mountain.
   The Escolania, MONTSERRAT’s Boys’ Choir, is one of the oldest in EUROPE, and performs during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the basilica.
   The basilica houses a museum with works of art by many prominent painters. The Publicacions de l'Abadia de MONTSERRAT, a publishing house, one of the oldest presses in the world still running, with its first book published in 1499 (i.s.).


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