The Sanctuary of Montferri or as it is officially called the “Our Lady of Montserrat Sanctuary” or in Catalán: “La Mare de Déu de Montserrat“, is one of the most representative works in the Alt Camp region in Catalonia by Josep Maria Jujol.
The history of the “Our Lady of Montserrat Sanctuary“
From the end of the 19th Century, the villagers of Montferri and surrounding villages had the tradition of going on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Montserrat after the harvest, in mid-October in order to give thanks to the Virgin of Montserrat for the harvest of the year. With the idea of bringing the Virgin Mary closer to the territory, the Jesuit Daniel Vives, born in Montferri, came up with the idea of building a sanctuary on one of the hills in the village that belonged to his family. Vives was a distant relative of the architect Josep Maria Jujol, Antoni Gaudí’s collaborator, and commissioned him to design the sanctuary.
On November 15, 1925, the first stone of the sanctuary was laid. The whole town disinterestedly collaborated in the construction, but it was not completed until 1999. The structure features 120 arches and is shaped like a ship with its bow facing towards the mountain range of Montserrat, the iconic mountain that houses the famous statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, to whom the Montferri church is dedicated. It is full of “Jujolian” details to be discovered following the outline and originality that characterized the architect Josep Maria Jujol.
The architect: Josep Maria Jujol
Josep Maria Jujol was a Catalan architect, who was born in 1879 in Tarragona where he lived until the age of 9. He began to draw at an early age, and always had an admiration for nature. According to his biography, he would roam the hills of Tarragona and its Roman ruins. Jujol’s wide field of activity ranged from furniture designs and painting to architecture. Not to mention that he worked with Antoni Gaudí on many of his most popular works. Among Jujol’s projects are the famous Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, even Park Güell, and among his design styles are Modernisme and Art Nouveau.
“Before the pandemic, around 18,000 tourists visited the sanctuary annually and the council had begun to introduce guided tours that included wine and beer tastings from local producers.” – stated the Catalannews.
Just recently, at the beginning of February 2021, the Sanctuary of Montferri reopened its gates to the visitors and for 2 EUR per person, you can visit the church and view the audiovisual representation of the sanctuary’s history in Spanish, Catalan, English, French and German.
Montferri – the village of wines & rural tourism
Flanked from north to south by the river Gaià and by the mountain range of the same name as the municipality, the village of Montferri emerges before the visitor exhibiting the polychromy of these lands. The Medieval remains coexist with the shades of green and ochre displayed by the dryland crops. The municipality preserves the charm of its architecture’s historic traces. In the village of Montferri, we can find a small Modernist church also by Josep Maria Jujol.