Basilica de Sant Francesc

Basilica de Sant Francesc

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The Royal Monastery of Sant Francesc is one of the most historic monasteries in Palma. Its great value can only be compared to that of the Cathedral of Majorca. It was declared a National Monument in 1881. Its basilica houses the remains of the Majorcan great wise man Ramon Llull.

The Franciscan friars decided to build this monastery in 1286 with the support of James III, King of Majorca. After almost five centuries living there, they were expelled from there in 1835. The building later served as school, accommodation, barracks, prison and court house. The Third Order Regular Franciscans (TOR) finally settled there in 1906 and restored worship. They also built a school that opened in 1952.

In front of the Basilica of Sant Francesc is a colossal bronze statue of Saint Junípero Serra (1713-1784) with a Native American child. It was created by Horacio de Eguía and erected in 1965. Junípero Serra, who was born in Petra (Majorca), was ordained a priest at the Monastery of Sant Francesc, where he spent 18 years before leaving for America. He was the great evangelist of the Alta California mission and is considered to be one of the founders of the United States of America, reason why there is a statue of him in the National Statuary Hall in Washington’s Capitol. He was canonised by Pope Francis in that city in 2015.

The current facade of the Basilica of Sant Francesc was erected between 1621 and 1700 according to plans drawn by architect Francisco de Herrera. The new facade replaced the old Gothic-style one, which was destroyed by a thunder in 1580. The construction of the main portal marked the culmination of the Baroque period in Majorca. It is dominated by the Immaculate and crowned by a statue of Saint George and the dragon. On the left-hand side is a statue of Ramon Llull (upper part) and Saint Dominic (bottom), while on the right-hand side is a statue of the Blessed Duns Scotus (upper part) and Saint Francis of Assisi (bottom).