THE SANCTUARY OF SANTA MARÍA DE QUERALT

The Sanctuary is located at the top of the Sierra de Queralt . It is located at an altitude of 1200 meters. For its peculiar location it has been called the ' balcony of Catalonia " . The breadth of its landscape and the feelings that causes climb justify Queralt . The place where today stands the sanctuary corresponds , apparently , in the space that would have occupied the castle of Guillem de Berguedà.

The set of Queralt compose the sanctuary where the image of the Virgin of Queralt and a remarkable outbuilding that welcomed at the time the guest of the Sanctuary where today is the restaurant and the station inclined funicular accessed from the parking is venerated. We must also consider part of the church sanctuary of the cave where , according to legend , was found the image of the Virgin.

The present church is a building built in the eighteenth century. Originally there was a monumental baroque altarpiece by Pere Costa , destroyed in 1936 . The temple is of Renaissance style and consists of a nave with two side . It has a spacious sacristy. On the sacristy is the chapel of the Virgin equally spacious . The current altarpiece project architect Ramon Masferrer (1958 ) should , while the current altar was designed by Mn . Josep M. Ballarín (1965 ) when he was priest custodian of the shrine.

The cover which gives access to the temple is the work of architect Josep A. Coderch (1966 ) to make a very simple but very accurate to the original functionality of the building restitution. In the seventies the bell tower was finished ( circular tower that rises independent next to the church) and the new bells are placed. In the 90s a final restoration of the interior of the church and the chapel under the direction of architect Lluís bergadán Boixader conferred on it by the current look is undertaken . And under the direction of the current chaplain custodian , Mn . Ramon Barniol , have taken the last major reforms to the conservation of the Sanctuary as are the costly separation of the walls of the church and the rock and the final resolution of the fumes of the lamps with the construction of a new space that has originated a new side chapel.

Also part of the sanctuary of the building attached to the church bell , new plant , designed to shelter beneath it. This is a large and spacious and equipped to receive groups space.

It is a small wooden carving of about fifty centimeters tall. It represents the Virgin seated . With his left hand he placed his son standing on the knee which holds a book in his left hand while blessing with the right picks . With the right hand holding a swallow , animal that has become the symbol of Queralt . The left foot of the Virgin steps on a faristela .

The image, documented since the fourteenth century . It is, in short , a Gothic copy which preserves very marked Romanesque features. Despite being a very rustic image , his face is captivating by his eyes and his smile .

The Cave

It attached to the rock of Queralt is the oratory known as the cave of Santa . Helena , where tradition places the discovery of the image of the Virgin of Queralt by a pastor.

The legend of the Finding

According to ancient tradition , the flocks and herd of Vilaformiu used to graze the sunny slopes of Campmaurí and Queralt . One day the pastor saw one of the bulls climbing uphill with a completely incomprehensible pheasant. He could not catch even half Cliff Castle Berguedà ( name with which the highest peak of the mountain range known) . Upon arrival with great surprise he saw the bull kneeling before a small image of the Virgin half hidden .

He took it, wrapped his hood and collecting the herds , he returned home . When I wanted to teach the image, it was gone. The next day he found her in the same place. He took it again and again disappeared from its packaging . Vilaformiu people decided to go up to the place and saw hidden in a fold of the rock in the shade of a cherry tree that had blossomed out of time image. From that moment they understood that the image wanted to be venerated in the same place .

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