Learn about the lives and struggles of some of Mallorca’s most important religious figures at this superb 13th-century church.
The combination of 14th-century Gothic and 17th-century Baroque styles makes the Basilica of St. Francis one of Mallorca’s most intriguing attractions. Discover statues and tombs telling the story of some of the island’s most famous figures, relax in the serene courtyard and find even more artwork within secluded tombs and cloisters.
Stand in front of the church before the high, sandstone façade and admire the intricate carving and grand circular window. This was one of the features added to the church after it was struck by lightning during the 17th century; the light color and Baroque features provide a stark contrast with much of the Gothic architecture within.
Enter through the Baroque doorway and you are suddenly within the church’s Gothic heart. Cast your eyes up to the vaulted ceiling to admire stonework and sculptures dating back to the 14th century. Your eyes will take a little time to adjust to the dim light within, but you will soon notice more religious statues and carvings on the walls and pillars of the interior. Prominent among these are the Capilla de los Santos Mártires de Gorkum. These depict the gruesome killings of 19 Catholics in Holland in 1572.
Explore the interior further and you will find the tomb of one of Mallorca’s most famous historical figures, Ramon Llull. The theologian, philosopher, poet and hermit was stoned to death in 1315 after he was found attempting to convert Muslims in Tunisia. You may see locals dropping coins in a box, donating to the campaign to have him canonized.
In the adjoining cloister, discover more fine Gothic features. Arches surround a tranquil oasis of citrus trees and exotic flowers. Relax in the shade and savor the peace and quiet away from the busy city streets.
The Basilica of St. Francis is located in the old town, close to the center of Palma de Mallorca. It is open all week with a small admission fee. Public transportation links to the church are good. You will find many excellent hotels and restaurants nearby.