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The Disappearance of the Convent of Santo Domingo

The order of Ordo Praedicatorum, a Catholic religious order, was better known as the Order of the Dominicans. In England, the order was known as the Order of Blackfriars, whereas in France, the Dominicans were called the Jacobins. In Mallorca, the order maintained monasteries for friars as well as convents for nuns. The largest monastery in all of Mallorca was the Convento de Santo Domingo, a monumental complex including two cloisters, a chapter house, a massively big church and a small chapel, spanning two entire blocks of streets in the centre of Palma de Mallorca (see image above, the reproduction of an excerpt of a map by Pare Garau, dating from 1644, with Santo Domingo marked there in purple). Construction of the impressive Gothic master piece began in 1295 under two master builders from Barcelona, Jaume Fabré and Maymó Peris and was completed in 1412.

Sadly, Palma’s most commanding monastery disappeared without a trace when the order was dispossessed as a result of the Spanish inquisition and its consequence, the desamortización (dispossession), during a period between 1823 and 1833. The convent was divested and ultimately, torn down and destroyed in 1837. As irony would have it, the Spanish queen had given order to the President of the Council of Ministers, Monseñor Mendizábal, on February 18th, 1837, to authorize the suspension of the destruction of the convent but, the decree had arrived too late. The demolition had already advanced to a considerable degree and could not be halted.

Disappearance without trace is not quite correct. The most splendid organ of the convent of Santo Domingo by Jordi Bosch was purchased by some noblemen and sold to the parish of Santanyí, where it was reassembled and can still be heard to this day, albeit in a reduced size. The main doors of the entrance to the monastery can today be found in Alfàbia where they are used as the doors of the portal forà (main portal). Other architectonic elements such as windows, columns, doors and portals were sold by auction and salvaged by a number of Palma burghers to be used in future construction of their private residences, stately homes, manor houses and Possessions.

The image (map) was borrowed from the Internet. Thanks are due to Alta mar and fabian.balearweb.net.

Muchas gracias.

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Copyleft ©© Klaus Fabricius 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

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