Die Balearen, geshildert in Wort und Bild (1869-1884) > Architecture > Churches in Palma (IV). Sant Gaietà, Sant Feliu and Santa Creu

Churches in Palma (IV). Sant Gaietà, Sant Feliu and Santa Creu

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"Sant Gaietà (Saint Cajetan) Church on the street with the same name dates from the last century. Its facade is flat with Renaissance-style rosettes with a twisted circular cord. Five stretched arches in the barrel vault, overlain and on each side of two galleries, come out of a cornice supported on anchored columns corresponding to the arches. The vault ends in a scallop shell over the altarpiece and presbyter. There are also galleries above each of the five chapels on both sides of the church. Said galleries are divided by a central column.

Sant Feliu (Saint Felix) Chapel is on the corner of the street with the same name and Sant Gaietà and has to be amongst the oldest in the city. The Abbot of Sant Feliu de Guíxols in Catalonia was one of the magnates who helped King Jaume I in his conquest of Mallorca, earning various properties and houses in exchange. He chose to live in the house that belongs today to the Quint Safortesa family on Sant Feliu Street. The house belonged to the Carasses before, who ordered a small chapel be built to the patron of the monastery in Catalonia, the martyr Saint Felix (Sant Feliu). The church has a bell gable and beautiful Gothic decoration. The Jesus figure under the bell gable is broken, and a square window was inserted in the rounded arch. The interior consists of a vault ceiling made up of a small cylinder and three transversal ridges. In the keystone we can see a coat of arms with crescent moons. The ceiling’s ridges start from columns with Ionic capitals which have the same sculpted coat of arms as the keystone.

Santa Creu (Holy Cross) Church on the street with the same name is separate from the houses around it. It is one of the oldest and prettiest churches in Palma. On March 15th, 1343, King Jaume III gave permission to mine all the stone needed to build the church from a quarry near his Bellver Castle. It’s very likely that the church was completed in 1371, the date etched into its large bell.

Santa Creu has a very simple exterior, with a plain facade, just like its portal. To the right is the square bell tower with two rows of Gothic windows. On both sides of the church are five buttresses. On the left is a gargoyle representing a lion. On Carrer de Santa Creu, there is a Baroque portal with a statue of Saint Helen. To the right is a gargoyle representing a demon and another side portal. The church has three buttresses on the back. Its interior is Gothic and fairly large, the nave measuring fifty paces long. The vaulted ceiling is supported on three pointed arches in addition to those at the front and back, supported on rounded columns with pseudo-Ionic capitals. The ribs meet at keystones bearing sculpted coats of arms. On the ceiling we can see the following dates: 1725, 1729 and 1728. Over the gate is the choir, a platform with a parapet and balustrade supported by a dome and diminished arch atop Renaissance pillars. In the keystone in the choir’s vault is the date, 1779. Under the choir to the right is a small chapel. To the left is a staircase. There are four chapels on each side of the church, with domes and four crossed ribs, except the last two chapels which have six.

The church is illuminated by a simple rosette and 13 windows, one above each chapel and the others in the presbyter. They’re all bricked up except for three openings in the top part and a small square window in the lower part.

Leaving Santa Creu Church by the side portal on the right, we come to a staircase and, at the end, on Carrer de Sant Llorenç, the small church dedicated to Saint Lawrence. This church can be considered the crypt of Santa Creu, as it’s built underneath it. The chapel is older than Santa Creu, leading some to suspect that it dates from the Conquest.

Under Santa Creu’s apse, Sant Llorenç has a beautiful Gothic-style portal with the ridges of three pointed arches joining together and ornate capitals representing animals, including roosters, griffons, wolves, and dragons, though almost all are mutilated. Above is a small rosette and a cross. The interior is well preserved and corresponds to that of a crypt. It is polygonal in shape with five lateral sections. The one in the middle corresponds to the portal. The rest are illuminated by a rosette. The last one on the left also serves as a portal. There are four octagonal columns with capitals and curved pedestals, the last two of which are almost joined to the wall. The columns hold up the ceiling with oblique pointed arches forming two chapels on both sides."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: City of Palma. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


English translations and the structure of all summarized information is under:
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