Basílica de Sant Francesc

Palma de Mallorca

One of Palma’s oldest churches, the Franciscan Basílica de Sant Francesc was begun in 1281 in Gothic style, while the baroque facade, with its carved postal and rose window, was completed in 1700. In the splendid Gothic cloister – a two-tiered, trapezoid affair – the elegant columns indicate it was also some time in the making. Inside, the high vaulted roof is classic Gothic, while the glittering high altar is a baroque lollipop, albeit in need of a polish.

In the first chapel on the left is the church’s pride and joy, the tomb of the 13th-century scholar and mystic Ramon Llull. Also a fervid evangelist and the inventor of literary Catalan, Llull lays fair claim to the title of Mallorca’s favourite son (apart perhaps from tennis champ Rafael Nadal). His alabaster tomb is high up on the right – drop a few coins in the slot for the campaign to have him canonised (he has only made it to beatification). Check out the Capilla de los Santos Mártires Gorkomienses, on the right side of the apse. In 1572, 19 Catholics, 11 of them Franciscans, were martyred in Holland. In this much-faded portrayal of the event, you can see them being hanged, disembowelled, and more.

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