The Basilica Sanctuary of Nostra Senyora de Meritxell, recently recognised by the Pope as a minor basilica, stands in Meritxell.
The ancient Romanesque Meritxell sanctuary, restored and modified in the 17th-century, was destroyed by fire in 1972. The present temple erected alongside the ancient hermitage for years later was dedicated in the Consell General (Parliament of Andorra) to the prestigious Catalan architect Ricard Bofill, who conceived it as a “Romanesque recreation”.
Inside there is a reproduction of the Romanesque Nostra Senyora de Meritxell and also the sculptures of the seven patron saints of the parishes of Andorra.
The two most emblematic parts of the sanctuary are the open cloisters and the mirror room. The building of the ancient chapel was prepared for visiting and now holds the permanent exhibition “Meritxell memòria”, a collection of objects and images that evoke the adoration of the Virgin of Meritxell through history.
Pope Francis has awarded the church of the Sanctuary of Meritxell the title and dignity of “Minor Basilica”. This is a distinction granted directly by the Pope to churches whose history, culture and liturgical and pastoral life has made them particularly significant. This recognition is added value for the most important place of worship in the Principality.
The festival of Nostra Senyora de Meritxell, the patron saint of the Valleys of Andorra, is held on 8th September - the feast day of the ‘marededéus trobades’ (found statues of Our Lady) in Catalonia.
From 2014, the sanctuary will form part of the Ruta Mariana (Route of Mary); it also is one of the attractions on Andorra Tourist Bus route 1, from June to September.
Guided tours from mid-July to mid-September. The rest of the year guided tours on request to the Sanctuary committee.
More details on the monument, its prices and opening hours in the Culture Guide in pdf format.