With a population of 1,000 San Francesc (or Sant Francesc Xavier to give it its full name) is one of the quietest capitals in Europe. Just over a mile (2km) south-east from La Savina its main attraction is the square known as Placa de la Constitucio. Despite being the capital it is not really the social centre of the village, and the bars don’t even stay open past midnight.
The square does not have that much more than a couple of benches around an olive tree, and the Church Esglesia de Sant Francesc Xavier. The church was built between 1726 and 1738, and its fortress-like façade is by design as the church was used as a refuge from the Barbary pirates and even had cannons installed on its roof. It was mainly women who hid in the church as the pirates often chose to strike when the men were following the red tuna route to the tuna’s breeding ground in the Gulf of Mexico.
If you look carefully at the church façade you will see that it does have one small window. As you step inside you should take a look at the baptismal font, which was built 1,000 years before the main church. The faded sculptures behind it are eerie rather than beautiful. It is thought to come from the old monastery in la Mola, and possibly dates back to the Germanic Vandals. Walking on into the church you will note that it has a narrow nave, a gold plated alter, and five small side chapels.
Connected to the Church is the old government building, and opposite it is the new one – the Casa de sa Constitucio. The cistern that is just to the right of the church was the first public service on the island.
The current church was preceded by Capella de sa Tanca, or Tanca Vell, which is a 14th century building.