Visit the convent of Sant Francesc
The order of Sant Francesc (Francis of Assisi) arrived immediately on the island following the Aragonese-Catalan conquest, in 1229, consisting of a group of five friars who from Rome.
King Jaume I, whom was the protagonist of the conquest of Mallorca from the Moors, had given his word that the Franciscan order would be granted properties and assets on the island.
The first convent of Sant Francesc was built in the street of Sant Miquel already in the 1230’s, presumably a work that expanded a small primitive church that was constructed by the Premonstratensians friars who quickly moved to Artà to live in the Monestir de Bellpuig.
However, in 1278, the friars exchanged property with the nuns of Santa Margalida, who had a building in the Plaça del Mercat. The friars never took that building in use, because in the beginning of the 1280’s the construction of the current church began. The result would be the proof of the great religious, cultural and social influence of the Franciscan congregation.
In 1317, the church opened for service, although the works did not finish until 1385. Like other convents and monasteries built at this time, Sant Francesc was too under administration of another convent in Aragón. Nonetheless, Sant Francesc quickly became an independent entity with its own administration, just as the Sant Francesc of Inca and Sant Francesc of Ciutadella (Menorca).
The church and convent continued to develop the next centuries. The most recent additions of the church are the chapels in the apse added in 1445 and 1670. The beautiful cloister of the convent was built in the time between the 14th and 16th centuries.
In 1570, a lightning struck the church and destroyed the main Gothic facade, which also caused the first nave of the original church was destroyed. A new facade and nave was constructed in 1618. On the facade, you can see the figures of Santo Domingo and Sant Francesc.
The interior is a huge Gothic area, distributed in just one nave with eight lateral chapels. The ceiling has groined vaults supported by pointed pillars.
The monastic life of Sant Frances continued until 1835 when the Franciscans were expelled as a consequence of prime minister Juan Mendizabal’s great ecclesiastical confiscation of monastic properties. The confiscation came as a direct consequence of the First Carlist War in Spain, when carlists (supporters of King Carlos who believed that a monarch should always be male) went rioting against the inauguration of Queen Isabella. The war had major economical costs, and to pay for these Mendizabal confiscated monastic lands that weren’t being fully used and auctioned them to private investors who could start a production and hire labor. The ecclesiastical confiscation served three main purposes; to raise funds, to create a middle class and set an example that religion and religious orders were no longer powerful and influential institutions in Spain.
In 1906, the religious activities of Sant Francesc were reinstated with a community of T.O.R (Third Regular Order of Saint Francis).
Special interest of the Sant Francesc
1. The tomb of the blessed philosopher Ramon Llull seen in the chapel of Consolation.
2. The stunning Gothic cloister which has been declared a national monument. The trapezoid cloister is located right next to the church and forms a complex of great beauty with its thin columns connected by lobed arches.
3. The Baroque altarpiece.
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Palma is the capital of Mallorca and seat of the Balearic government. Palma was founded during the occupation of the Roman empire, about 123 BC, and later developed by the Moors and Catalans. Palma has several times been awarded best place in the world to live; it is a city of great diversity, cultural heritage and commercial activity, making it an attractive city to a broad audience. Palma is one of the best places in Spain to go shopping, all the new arrivals from other Mediterranean capitals arrive here before other places in the world, plus, there are hundreds of local specialty boutiques.
The rich history of Palma has left an incredible amount of landmarks and points of interest to discover i.e. the Arabian baths, the cathedral, the Bellver castle, the Almudaina palace etc., as well as hundreds of other unique constructions perfect for sightseeing in the city.
More monasteries and convents in Mallorca
Mallorca's Top sightseeing attractions
Palma cathedral La Seu is an amazing sight, both from the inside and outside. Palma cathedral is one of the biggest in Europe, and great artists like Gaudi have worked on the amazing temple. There are guided tours and you can even visit the rooftop terraces offering magical views.
The Antique Train
The antique train is a great attraction for young and adults. The ride takes you through some of the most beautiful areas of the Tramuntana, passing through orange plantations, olive groves and green valleys. The authentic feeling of the old marhogany cars bumping along the rails completes the experience.
Castell de Bellver
Castell de Bellver is a unique castle, due to its round shape and splendid location on a hilltop above Palma's bay. Much of Mallorca's most dramatic times are linked to the Bellver castle, and you will also find Palma's historical museum here. It's a great attraction for all ages.
Cuevas del Drach
Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves) is a great attraction to visit for all ages. Inside the stalagmite and stalactite caves in Porto Cristo, you will meet a true wonder of nature, along with the biggest underground lake in Europe on which an orchester will play a beautiful live concert on before you can enjoy a short ride.
Santuari de Lluc
Santuari de Lluc is a monastery situated deep in the highest areas of the Tramuntana, in divine natural surroundings. Lluc is a great attraction for everyone, you can discover the ethnological museum, enjoy a concert by the famous child choir, visit the botanical gardens and see the holy Madonna.
A visit to the ethnological museum of La Granja in the mountain village of Esporles takes you on an interesting journey back in time to discover how life in mallorca was for the wealthy landowners and their servants. La Granja is a museum suitable for all ages, there is plenty to see and do here for young and adults.
Sa Dragonera is an island and protected nature reserve just off the coast of Sant Elm, Andratx. Sa Dragonera is home to indigenious lizards that are very human-friendly, and has become a trademark of Mallorca. About on the beautiful island, you can walk along multiple trails to some of the most amazing vantage points and find ancient watchtowers from the time of pirates.
The royal Almudaina Palace is closely linked to multiple epochs in the history of Mallorca. The ancient palace was built as the seat for the Moorish governor back in the 10th century, and was the first building in the city of Palma as we know it today. Inside you will discover an impressive collection of ancient artifacts and artworks, along with the authentic surroundings of the palace that is now used by the royalties of Spain when visiting the island.