Legend tells us an Irish monk named Gallus stumbled over a root in 612 where he decided to stay and built a hut. Faithful supporters joined him and the first church was built in today’s St.Gallen.
Europe’s Spiritual Center
A century later, the Gallus settlement was revived by Otmar in 719, resulting in the Abbey of St. Gall known far and wide as a charismatic cultural haven with towering double spires, the monastery became an important intellectual center in Europe. This early medieval heyday created many valuable manuscripts and documents for historians to study. Precious treasures live among the collection including the original monastery architecture blueprint — the oldest medieval building drawing — as well as the oldest German-language dictionary.
The 1758 Abbey Library is one of the most beautiful historical book halls in the world. Many original manuscripts were written here and remain to this day. The library is still active with a book inventory numbering 170,000. Rare finds among the collection feature the 16th century globe standing more than two meters high and the 2,600-year old Egyptian Schepenese mummy and sacarphagi (acquired in 1836).
Architecturally speaking, the library is an artistic gem: the magnificent curved hall is a Baroque masterpiece with ornamental inlaid floors, wood-paneled bookcases, decorative columns and rich ceiling paintings. UNESCO declared the Abbey District with the Abbey Library as a World Heritage Site in 1983.
Original Monastery Blueprint Celebrates World Premiere
“The Miracle of Tradition - The St.Gallen Monastery Plan and Europe in the early Middle Ages”
The 9th century Abbey of St. Gall building blueprint will be on view for the first time ever starting Saturday, April 13, 2019. The parchment is the earliest representation of a medieval monastery district, likely created between 819 and 826 at the Reichenau Monastery on Lake Constance. The original plan will be on display in the new exhibition hall at the St.Gallen Abbey.
Other treasures from the Monastery and Abbey Libraries will be displayed including the oldest teaching book from the Carolingian era. This ancient book contains the vows monks took upon entering the monastery.
Gallus and his monastery – 1400 years of Cultural History
In addition to the Abbey library and the new exhibition hall, the vaulted cellar lapidarium has a freshly polished face. It opened to the public on January 20, 2019, featuring the new exhibit: “Gallus and his Monastery - 1400 years of Cultural History.”
New Digital Look and Combi-Ticket
A new look for the Abbey District website was revealed in early 2019. Fresh and clear, the Abbey District is now available at www.stiftsbezirk.ch. And, starting April 13, 2019, a new combined ticket is available for all three exhibit venues, inviting guests to the Gallus City with this attractive offer.