Monday, August 27, 2012

Brief History of Spain

You will love going to Madrid, people are so very friendly, the weather is perfect and so much to do. It’s always interesting to learn about the culture and history of a city or town. I find it fascinating.  When it comes the country of Spain, Madrid is a city you’ll want to know about.

Madrid became a significant political force during the Roman Empire. However, the modern city began during the 9th century and was influenced by Arabic and Moorish occupations. Finally, Christians reclaimed the city from the Moors in the 11th century and completely drove them out in the 15th century.
In 1561, Charles I of Spain moved his court from Barcelona to Madrid where he established the capital of Spain.
As the Spanish Empire grew, so the power, wealth and influence of Madrid grew with wealthy aristocrats controlling global activities.

The Spanish people revolted against the monarchy during the 19th century and formed the First Spanish Republic.  After a short return of the monarchy, the people again overthrew the nobility as Spain sank into the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939.  These battles occurred in and around Madrid, so you will find evidence in your travels.

The city expanded and grew rapidly during the 1960s.  This growth occurred under the Regime of Franco.  The middle class grew and migration increased.  When Franco died, Spain’s governing parties accepted King Juan Carlos I’s  rule and Madrid became the seat of a constitutional monarchy.

Madrid continues to prosper and through the 21st century.  It is one of
the strongest economic, cultural, and industrial hubs in Spain.



 Montserrat Shrine

Nestled in a rugged mountain not far from Barcelona, pilgrims have been drawn to venerate the miraculous statue of the Black Madonna since the 12th century. You have to go and see this, I was amazed with these rocky mountains.


Montserrat ShrineThere they celebrate the statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat which was carved by St. Luke around 50 AD. During the occupation  of the Moors, it was later hidden in Santa Cova, where it was rediscovered in 880 AD.

According to the legend of the discovery, the statue was discovered by shepherds as they saw a bright light and heard heavenly music that eventually led them to the grotto and the statue.

The Monastery of Montserrat, located near the top of the 4,000-foot mountain, is home to about 80 monks. The monks welcome visitors and invite them to participate in their daily celebrations of Mass and recitations of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Basilica, next to the monastery, is home to the revered La Moreneta, or Black Virgin. To visit the statue, enter the church through a side door to the right.  

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