On the Camí dels Reis (Kings' Road), between the Valldemossa and the Establiments motorways, lies the Sant Bernat de la Real monastery, which used to be called Santa Maria de la Real.
In the past it served as the garden of the ‘Valí’ or Muslim governor. On the 13th of September 1229, tradition has it that this is where the Catalan troops of James I the Conquerer were billeted during the siege of the city. The encampment was not built until their entry to Madina Mayurqa, as Palma, was called by the Muslims, on the 31st of December 1229.
In around 1266, the Cistercian monastery founded in 1235 by monks from Poblet in the former farmstead of Alpic, where the La Granja (Esporles) estate currently lies, came to live here. The monks had already been living quite close to La Real since 1239 in the possession known as Son Cabrer. In the second half of the 13th century, Ramón Llull stayed here and wrote some of his works here, including Llibre d’Ave Maria (Book on the Hail Mary).
The monastery had considerable lands over which the abbot held civil jurisdiction. The abbot of La Real was also a member of the Council set up by James III of Mallorca, and at the court he occupied the second rank among the religious men of Mallorca after the bishop. Until 1517, the abbots were usually elected by the Poblet monastery, but thereafter they were chosen by the monks at La Real. They finally won full independence from Poblet in 1560.
In the 18th century, a notable Lullian, Antoni Ramon Pasqual, served as the abbot. In 1835, the Cistercian monks abandoned the monastery upon Mendizábal’s disentailment. The former monastic church was turned into the vicarage of the town of Secar de la Real, and in 1897 the Missioners dels Sagrats Cors (Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts) moved in. In 1913, the vicarage became a parish; shortly before that, in 1907, the church was refurbished by architect Guillem Reynés.
Today it is the home of the Biblioteca Balear (Balearic Islands Library), a major book collection on subjects related to the Balearic Islands.