The Sant Salvador de les Espases hermitage, declared a cultural feature of national interest, is built high on a hill, on an isolated escarpment offering some magnificent views of the surrounding area and of the mountain of Montserrat. The first historical reference to the former chapel of the Castell de les Espases (“Castle of the Swords”) dates back to 1351, and is associated with a legend that tells that in the battle between Christians and Moors, the latter sought to take the land where the castle stood. Clearly outnumbered, the Christians prayed for help from God, who sent swords of fire down from the skies, forcing the Saracens to retreat. In gratitude for their salvation, the chapel dedicated to Saint Salvador was built. In reality, the name comes from the bumpy terrain where the castle is located, in the form of an escarpment (“espadat” in Catalan, similar to the Catalan word “espasa”, for sword).
It is a single-nave chapel with a low vault and a quadrangular apse, and it has a Gothic appearance today as a result of refurbishments carried out in the 17th century. Over time it has undergone various repairs, the last being in 1989 when the altarpiece was restored.
In addition to the chapel, there is an open room with benches and tables, a dining room and a kitchen that are open to the public on Thursdays and Sundays, and on the day of the Aplec on the first Sunday in September. The maintenance and preservation work is paid for by the association Amics de Sant Salvador de les Espases. Since 1868, the hermitage has belonged to Olesa’s Santa Maria parish, although it is worth noting, as a curiosity, that it is in fact located on the border of the municipalities of Olesa, Esparreguera and Vacarisses.
On Thursday and Sunday mornings, as well as on public holidays, you can find the Sant Salvador de les Espases hermitage open. The members of the Friends of Sant Salvador de les Espases will open the doors to visitors.
The Castell de les Espases
Documented as early as 985 A.D., the castle was built in a highly strategic, impregnable location, isolated from the nearby hilltops and well above the two ravines that surround it. It served as a border checkpoint on the Llobregat to secure Christendom, as the river marked the boundary with Al-Andalus and the region was frequently the site of confrontations with the Saracens. Today, the only vestige that remains is the base of a circular tower.
Olesa de Montserrat is a municipality rich in culture and tradition, located in the foothills of the mountain of Montserrat. Olesa de Montserrat is located in the north of the comarca (county) of Baix Llobregat, in the subcomarca of Montserratí, halfway between Barcelona and the Montserrat Monastery. The natural area of the municipality, with its beautiful and magnificent scenery, is bounded by the Llobregat river and the mountain chains of Sant Salvador de les Espases and Puigventós. Olesa’s roots are markedly agricultural; it is noted in particular for its cultivation of olives of the palomar or Olesan variety, native to the region, from which the famous Olesan oil is extracted.
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