The Via Crucis
The Way of the Cross begins a little beyond the Plaça Abat Oliba behind the Font
del Portal (The Fountain of the Portal) and continues on to the Chapel of Our
Lady of Sorrows, close to the Sant Miquel path. The route is gentle and
beautifully shaded and is one of the prettiest places in the area, offering a
pleasant panorama of the Shrine.
Fourteen monuments corresponding to the Stations
of the Cross were erected between 1904 and 1919 but were completely destroyed in
the 1936 war. Some new Stations have been set up using sculptures by Margarida
Sans Jordi and Francesc Juventeny; the remaining Stations will be by Domènec
Fita using a particulary stylised design.
The Holy Cave
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.