St. Gallen – A City Founded in the 7th Century

Hello everyone! Last March I went to a city with a long history mainly for its abbey – the Abbey of Saint Gall. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Abbey’s renowned library contains books from the 9th century. The Abbey of Saint Gall is a Roman Catholic religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in Switzerland of a dissolved abbey (747-1805). The Carolingian-era monastery has existed since 719 and became an independent principality between 9th and 13th centuries, and was for many centuries one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe. It was founded by Saint Othmar on the spot where Saint Gall had erected his hermitage. The library at the Abbey is one of the richest medieval libraries in the world. The city of St. Gallen originated as an adjoining settlement of the abbey. Following the secularization of the abbey around 1800 the former Abbey church became a Cathedral in 1848. Since 1983 the whole remaining abbey precinct has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The city

St. Gallen or traditionally St Gall, in German sometimes Sankt Gallen is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. Its economy consists mainly of the service sector.

St. Gallen is situated in the northeastern part of Switzerland in a valley about 700 meters (2,300 ft) above sea level. It is one of the highest cities in Switzerland and thus receives abundant winter snow. That’s why when I went there, I still saw snow not only in the wildlife park but also in the city. The city lies between Lake Constance and the mountains of the Appenzell Alps. It therefore offers good transport links to the rest of the country and to neighbouring Germany and Austria, excellent recreation areas nearby and also functions as the gate to the Appenzell Alps.

As the city center is built on an unstable turf ground (its founder Gallus was looking for a site for a hermitage, not for a city), all buildings on the valley floor must be built on piles. For example, the entire foundation of the train station and its plaza are based on hundreds of piles.

St. Gallen cathedral (Recommend 5/5)

St. Gallen cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in the city of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It has been the cathedral of the Diocese of St Gallen since 1847 and is part of the Abbey of St. Gall. When I first got in, I was so surprised that a church could be so delicate and majestic at the same time. It even kind of reminded me of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.

According to Switzerland Tourism, the cathedral is open all year round and it’s free to visit.


Abbey Library of Saint Gall (Recommend 5/5)

The Abbey Library of Saint Gall was founded by Saint Othmar, the founder of the Abbey of St. Gall. The library hall was designed by the architect Peter Thumb in a Rococo style. During a fire in 937, the Abbey was destroyed, but the library remained intact. In 1983 the library together with the Abbey of St. Gall were made a World Heritage Site, as ‘a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery’.

The library collection is the oldest in Switzerland, and is one of earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. It holds 2,100 manuscripts dating back to the 8th through the 15th centuries, 1,650 incunabula (printed before 1500), and old printed books. The library holds almost 160,000 volumes, and most are available for public use. Books published before 1900 are to be read in a special reading room. The manuscript B of the Nibelungenlied is kept here.

Opening hours:

  1. baroque hall with exhibition: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00.
  2. For more info about special opening and closing time please click here.


  1. Baroque hall & Lapidarium: Adults: CHF 12.- per person.
  2. For more info about reduced prices and group tickets please click here.

Unfortunately you can’t take pictures in the library but I took some pics of the postcards so you can have a look what it’s like inside.

Kirche St. Laurenzen

The Church of St. Laurenzen is also a very nice church right next to the Abbey of Saint Gall. The construction of the first church is estimated to be at the mid-12th century. The church was almost three hundred years old. Even today, it is the meeting room of the local citizens. The church is classified as national legitimate Structure (highest of three levels of protection), and stands as a monument of national importance thus under a Federal preservation order. It is not as majestic as the cathedral of St. Gallen but looks very clean and tidy.

Besides the Cathedral, this is the city’s most important church. The present building dates back to the 15th century, but it was entirely reconstructed from 1850 to 1854 and now is a basilica in neo-Gothic style. After climbing the tower, you will have a wonderful view over the roofs of St.Gallen. Tours of the tower are held twice daily at 10 am and 3 pm. The tower is closed during the winter months.

Opening hours of the church:

Sommer & Autumn time:
Man: 9.30 – 11.30 and 14.00 – 16.00.
Tue – Fri: 9.30 – 18.00
Sat: 9.30 – 16.00

Winter & Spring time:
Man: 9.30 – 11.30 and 14.00 – 16.00
Tue – Sat: 9.30 – 16.00

Peter and Paul wildlife park

Too much religion? Too many churches and library? Of course St. Gallen offers you somewhere closer to nature.


The wildlife park Peter and Paul is located on the hill Rosenberg northeast of St. Gallen. It is an important recreational area of the city. The wildlife park is home to several native animals such as the Alpine ibex, lynx, deer, wild boars, marmots, etc.The admission is free and it’s open throughout the year. The park is actually quite big and there are several routes you can choose. Some of them are quite long and you need to go up and down in the forest. However, this park includes a restaurant with a large terrace, so if you feel exhausted after your exploration you can go there and refresh yourself.

That’s my one-day trip to St. Gallen, a city with long and rich history. If you come here, make sure you have time to visit the Abbey of Saint Gall. Whether you’re religious or not, I’m sure you will be attracted by its beauty.


St. Gallen – A City Founded in the 7th Century was last modified: October 25th, 2016 by Dong

1 Comment

  1. […] you wanna know more about the attractions in St. Gallen please click here to read my previous post about it “St. Gallen – A City Founded in the 7th […]

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