St. Gallen is one of those places that strike everyone on first looking – its setting, architecture, history and culture create an aura of perfection and one cannot help but take St. Gallen as such.
The Swiss are very proud of their St. Gallen. The curious visitor will immediately realize this is no ordinary place. Its history is tied with the Irish monk Gallus, who built a hermitage here in 612. A century later, the Abbey of St. Gallus was built here and gradually, a settlement rose seemingly out of nowhere, and St. Gallen became a town of importance and power.
The grand Baroque cathedral is the crown of the abbey district which was added on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1983. Locals pride themselves in having one of the most magnificent library collections in the world. Some 50,000 medieval books, 2,000 original manuscripts (some dating back to the 9th century) and even a 2,700 year-old mummy are on display here.
Textile industry has a deep-rooted tradition in St. Gallen; as early as the Middle ages, local cloth presented a highly valued export article and during the industrial revolution, fine lace and embroidery of great quality gained an even better reputation for local textile produce. Today, tourists are welcome to learn about local ‘textile’ history in one of the local museums.
The historic old town with its charming winding streets is simply marvelous. There are some luscious restaurants and posh bars here for those who love to relax in style. Local music and theatre scene are very well reputed and the numerous art galleries and museums will satisfy even the most demanding art enthusiast. Many visitors find the contrast between the historic old town and the ultra-modern Calatrava fascinating.
Not only is St. Gallen a famous centre for art, it is also an educational metropolis. Local university is held in very high esteem, especially thanks to the annual St. Gallen Symposium, which features many lectures by some of the most respected business brains of our time.