The church of Sant Francesc is the oldest of the three churches on Formentera, along with the Pilar de la Mola and Sant Ferran de Ses Roques. It is located in Sant Francesc de Formentera, the capital of the island.
History of the Church of Sant Francesc
The church of Sant Francesc was completed in 1738 after 12 years of work. It was erected as a substitute for the small chapel of Sa Tanca Vella, which with the growth of the population of Formentera no longer met the needs of a growing population.
It was built at a time when it was common for pirates and bandits to plunder small isolated and unprotected islands, so this church was also built as an element of defense. In fact, it had loopholes in the roof and above the door (now disappeared), to house cannons and artillery pieces. This turned the church into a refuge in case of bandit raids, and hence the houses were grouped around the church.
As a curiosity, one of the artillery pieces of the church of Sant Francesc was the one that was moved to the Torre des Garroveret, in Cap de Barbaria, to artillery the tower and that could make active defense tasks.
The church was declared of cultural interest in 1996, by the Island Council of Ibiza and Formentera, within the category of historical-artistic sites.
Visit the church of Sant Francesc
When observing the church we can appreciate high and thick walls because, as we have said, it was used as a defense building, and it has a reinforced iron door.
Inside the church there is a single nave as a barrel vault, to support projectiles in case of receiving enemy artillery. On the sides it has two chapels, but at a shallow depth to maintain the thickness of the walls.
At the back of the church there is a small cemetery, the so-called Fossar Vell, which has been restored and rehabilitated as a historical element of the island.
Also just behind the church is where the second hand market of Sant Francesc is organized every Saturday morning.
How to get to the Church of Sant Francesc?
The church of Sant Francesc is very easy to find, it is located right in the center of the town of the same name. Specifically, it is located in the Plaza de la Constitución, the nerve center of Sant Francesc.
Other churches in Formentera
If you are interested in visiting religious buildings, other churches and chapels of Formentera are: