Die Balearen, geshildert in Wort und Bild (1869-1884) > Architecture > Churches in Palma (III). Sant Nicolau, Sant Jaume and La Sang

Churches in Palma (III). Sant Nicolau, Sant Jaume and La Sang

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"Sant Nicolau Church is an isolated building on the street with the same name. It is the last of the parishes in Palma, as its district was segregated from Santa Eulàlia parish in 1302. It consisted originally of a small church called, Sant Nicolau Vell (Old Saint Nicholas) but it was demolished in 1836 to make the current Plaça del Rosari. The city’s growing population, however, required a new church, something which was done in Plaça del Mercat in  1349. That church still exists though it has been remodeled several times.

The bell tower is octagonal in shape and built behind the church. It has two series or founded arch windows and a third row of bricked up windows.

The inside has a barrel vault ceiling and six rounded arches on Roman pilasters. There are four chapels on either side, though the one on the right corresponds to the side portal. Above each chapel is a platform with rounded arch and balustrade. Another large platform supported by a diminished arch serves as the choir. The date 1700 can be read. There are two more chapels in the retrochoir. The fourth chapel has an urn holding Saint Marcellinus’ remains.

Sant Jaume Church in the plaza with the same name is one of the oldest in Palma. A document held until recently in the Royal Heritage Archive indicates that the Kings of Mallorca founded this parish and were its sponsors. In 1327 it was being built under the supervision of the architect, Jordi Pujol. It includes a Baroque portal bearing the date 1776 and a bas-relief representing Saint James, work of the sculptor, Tomàs. The tall, solid bell tower consists of six parts separated by molding; the top part has two ogee windows. The temple’s interior is very pretty. Six pointed arches support the dome with the same number of columns. The latter’s capitals are beautiful, decorated with sculpted Holm oak leaves. The keystones under which the ribs cross also have sculpted coats of arms. The windows, one between each two ribs, are bricked up, except for small square openings which serve to provide light inside the church. There are five chapels with rounded arches on each side of the church. They feature elegant capitals with symbols of the evangelists or foliage. Almost all the altarpieces in the chapels are Baroque. Among these, the chapel dedicated to Saint Cajetan is worthy of note. It is under the sponsorship of the Cotoner family, and various members of this family are buried in this chapel.

Very worth noting is the La Sang (Holy Blood) Church if not for its architecture, for the great devotion it inspires in all of Palma, on the entire island, the rest of the Balearic Islands and even on the Spanish mainland. It includes three venerated images: “La Mare de Déu de Mallorca”, “La Verge del Carme” and, especially, “Sant Crist de la Sang” which gives the church its name.

It has a simple, pointed arch portal with a skylight above and a tower to the right. There is also another Baroque portal to the right. Inside, it consists of a single Gothic nave, with vaults supported on octagonal pillars embedded into the walls. The ribs cross simply through sculpted keystones. In the choir, eight ribs come out under the keystone with a coat of arms, ending in light columns, similar to those in the nave, with Gothic capitals. There’s a modern stone altarpiece in the choir designed by Pere d’Alcantara Penya in 1858 and two side exits. There are four chapels on each side, all with transept domes and keystones. There is a window between each pillar, making for a total of six, plus five more in the apse. In the main altar’s altarpiece there is an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, highly revered by seafaring folk. It used to be in the Carmelite convent on La Rambla, where the barracks are today.

The second chapel on the right is dedicated to the Holy Blood of Christ. It consists of a dome with eight ribs and, above, a lantern with small rounded arches. There are good paintings on the walls, representing different scenes from the life of Christ. The altarpiece is Baroque and mostly covers the niche with a painting representing the Holy Blood of Christ. A small side door leads to a Baroque chamber with three arches, walls covered in white and blue tiles and numerous votive offerings, shrouds in the shape of clothes for the Virgin or Saint Louis, and paintings of boats saved from storms thanks to intercession by the Holy Blood. This room also holds the very simple tomb for the venerable Father Bartomeu Catany, a Franciscan and founder of this hospital. He died on October 1st, 1462.

A stairway with walls covered in votive offerings climbs up to the room behind the altarpiece in the La Sang chapel. A large and old Holy Christ made of wood and wearing a richly embroidered short skirt, as is the custom in Spain, is in a Baroque alcove built in 1743. It is the most revered image in this church and belongs to the La Sang Brotherhood which already existed in 1458 and which we talk about in the first part of this text."

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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