It has been many years since the church of Our Lady of Montserrat stopped the tradition of ringing its bells at midnight for the soul of king Philip V. The bells were rung at this time as it was the time that the Benedictine monks heard of the death of their monarch and the founder of the abbey as it then was. The church, in the centre of the Conde Duque district, was on course to be one of the largest and most majestic churches of its time. But it was never completed. You only have to look up to see that. Even the most unobservant will notice that there is only one tower. The other was never built.
The church of Montserrat was founded by Spanish Benedictine monks who had been expelled from the monastery of Montserrat in Barcelona in 1640. Work on the church stopped in 1720 and was never completed. The church was designed by Sebastián Herrera Barnuevo, although after his death other architects took over the project. Among those was Pedro de Ribera, who built the tower and the façade. Another of his façades is the one near the Conde Duque Cultural Centre, one of the neighbourhood's artistic landmarks. After the Mendizábal disentailment of 1836, the church became a women's prison and later a dance hall. The Benedictines reoccupied it in 1914. One last word: on Sundays at twelve the monks sing Gregorian chants.