St. Gallen

St. Gallen

Infobox Swiss town
subject_name = St. Gallen
municipality_name = St. Gallen
municipality_type = municipality
imagepath_coa = Coa St. Gallen.png

languages = German
canton = St. Gallen
iso-code-region = CH-SG
district = St. Gallen
postal_code = 9000
municipality_code =
area = 39.41
elevation = 675|elevation_description=|highest=Birt|highest_m=1074|lowest=Goldachtobel|lowest_m=496
population = 74538|populationof = January 2007
website =
mayor = Thomas Scheitlin|mayor_asof=2008|mayor_party=FDP
mayor_title = Stadtpräsident|list_of_mayors = List of mayors of St. Gallen
places = West: Winkeln, Bruggen, Lachen; Centrum: Rosenberg, Riethüsli, St. Georgen, Innenstadt, St. Jakob, Linsenbühl-Dreilinden; Ost: Rotmonten, Langgass-Heiligkreuz, St. Fiden, Notkersegg, Neudorf-Industrie
demonym =
neighboring_municipalities= Eggersriet, Gaiserwald, Gossau, Herisau (AR), Mörschwil, Speicher (AR), Stein (AR), Teufen (AR), Untereggen, Wittenbach
twintowns = Liberec (Czech Republic)|

St. Gallen (Audio|De-StGallen.ogg|"Sankt Gallen"; _fr. Saint-Gall; _it. San Gallo) 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 (with around 160,000 inhabitants) and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. The town mainly relies on services for its economic base.

The main tourist attraction is the Abbey of St. Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its renowned library contains books which date to the 9th century.

The city has good transport links to the rest of the country and to neighbouring Germany and Austria. It also functions as the gate to the Appenzell Alps.


St. Gallen is situated in the northeastern part of Switzerland in a valley around 700 meters above sea level. It is one of the highest cities in Switzerland and it often receives a lot of snow in winter. The town is nicely situated between Lake Constance and the mountains of the Appenzell Alps (with the Säntis as the highest peak at 2502 metres). It therefore offers excellent recreation areas nearby.

As the city center is built on an unstable turf ground (thanks to its founder Gallus who was looking for a hermitage and not founding 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 has a [ webcam] to communicate a better impression of itself.


Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Reichsstadt Sankt Gallen"
conventional_long_name = Imperial City of St Gallen
common_name = Saint Gallen|
continent = Europe
region = Alps
country = Switzerland
era = Middle Ages
status = City-state
empire = Holy Roman Empire
government_type = Republic|
year_start = 1401
year_end = 1648|
event_pre = City founded
date_pre = "ca" 612
event_start = Gained "Reichsfreiheit"
date_start =
event1 = Abbey became Swiss
date_event1 =
August 17, 1451
event2 = Associate and protectorate
of Swiss Confederacy
date_event2 =
June 13 1454
event3 = Swabian War: "de facto"
independence from HRE
date_event3 =
event4 = Peace of Westphalia:
"de jure" independence
date_event4 =
event_end = Annexed to Helvetic
canton of Säntis
date_end =

event_post = Helv. Rep. collapsed; city
and abbey joined Swiss
canton of St. Gallen
date_post =
p1 = Duchy of Swabia
image_p1 =
s1 = Old Swiss Confederacy
flag_s1 = Flag of Switzerland.svg|
capital = St. Gallen|
footnotes =


Founding of the City

The founding of St. Gallen is based on the Irish monk Gallus ("ca" 550 – 620 or 640), who built a hermitage at the river Steinach in 612.

Founding of the Abbey of St. Gall

Around 720, one hundred years after Gallus's death, the alemannian priest Othmar built an abbey and gave it the name "St. Gallen'; "see Abbey of St. Gall".


Starting in 1526 then-mayor and humanist Joachim von Watt (Vadian) introduced the reformation in the city of St. Gallen.

History during the Middle Ages

One of the earliest mayors of St. Gallen may be among the most colorful, Ulrich Varnbüler. Hans, the father of Ulrich, was prominent in city affairs in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in the early 1400s. Ulrich made his entry into public affairs in the early 1460's and gathered the various offices and honors that are available to a talented and ambitious man. He demonstrated fine qualities as field commander of the St. Gallen troops in the Burgundian wars. In the battle of Grandson in 1476 he and his troops were part of the advance units of the Confederation and took part in their famous attack. (A large painting of Ulrich returning triumphantly to a hero's welcome in St. Gallen can still be seen in St. Gallen). After the war, he often represented St. Gallen at various Confederation parliaments. In December of 1480 he was offered the position of mayor for the first time. From that time on he served in several leading city positions and was considered the intellectual and political leader. According to Vadian, who understood his contemporaries well, "Ulrich was a very intelligent, observant, and eloquent man who enjoyed the trust of the citizenry to a high degree." His reputation among the Confederates was also substantial. However, in the late 1480's he became involved in a conflict that was to have serious negative consequences for him and for the city of which he was mayor.In 1463 Ulrich Rösch had assumed the management of the abbey of St. Gall. He was an ambitious prelate, whose goal it was to raise the abbey by every possible means to prominence again following the losses of the Appenzell Wars. His restless ambitions offended the political and material interests of his neighbors. When he arranged for the help of the pope and the emperor to carry out a plan of moving the abbey to Rorschach on Lake Constance, he encountered stiff resistance from the St. Gallen citizenry, other clerics, and the Appenzell nobility in the Rhine Valley who were concerned about their holdings. At this point, Varnbüler entered the conflict against the prelate. He wanted to restrict the increase of power in the abbey and simultaneously increase the power of the town that had been restricted in its development. For this purpose he established contact with farmers and Appenzell residents (led by the fanatical Hermann Schwendiner) who were seeking an opportunity to weaken the abbot. Initially, he protested to the abbot and the representatives of the four sponsoring Confederate cantons (Zürich, Lucerne, Schwyz, and Glarus) against the construction of the new abbey in Rorschach. Then on July 28, 1489 he had armed troops from St. Gallen and Appenzell destroy the buildings already under construction. When the abbot complained to the Confederates about the damages and demanded full compensation, Ulrich responded with a counter suit and in cooperation with Schwendiner rejected the arbitration efforts of the non-partisan Confederates. He motivated the clerics from Wil to Rorschach to discard their loyalty to the abbey and spoke against the abbey at the town meeting at Waldkirch, where the popular league was formed. He was confident that the four sponsoring cantons would not intervene with force, due to the prevailing tensions between the Confederation and the Swabian League. He was strengthened in his resolve by the fact that the people of St. Gallen elected him again to the highest magistrate in 1490. However, in early 1490 the four cantons decided to carry out their duty to the abbey and to invade the St. Gallen canton with an armed force. The people of Appenzell and the local clerics submitted to this force without noteworthy resistance, while the city of St. Gallen braced for a fight to the finish. However, when they learned that their compatriots had given up the fight, they lost confidence; the end result was that they concluded a peace pact that greatly restricted the city's powers and burdened the city with serious penalties and reparations payments. Ulrich, overwhelmed by the responsibility for his political decisions, panicked in the face of the approaching enemy who wanted him apprehended. His life was in great danger, and he was forced to disguise himself as a messenger and escape out of the city. He made his way to Lindau and to Innsbruck and the court of King Maximilian. The victors confiscated those of his properties that lay outside of the city of St. Gallen and banned him from the confines of the Confederation. Ulrich then appealed to the imperial court (as did Schwendiner, who had fled with him) for the return of his property. The suit had the support of Friedrich II and Maximilian and the trial would drag on for years. It was continued by Ulrich's sons Hans and Ulrich after his death in 1496, and eventually they regained the properties. However, other political ramifications resulted from the court action, because the Confederation took ownership of the city of St. Gallen and rejected the inroads of the empire. Thus the conflict strengthened the relationship between the Confederation and the city of St. Gallen. On the other hand the matter increased the alienation between Switzerland and the German Empire, which would eventually mean a total separation as a result of the Swabian War.

Varnbüler is further immortalized in a famous woodcut by Albrecht Durer, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution's woodcut collection(q.v.). Of the Varnbüler sons, the elder (Hans/Johann) became the mayor of Lindau. He is the patriarch of the Baden and Württemberg Varnbülers.

t. Gallen as a center of textile-industry

In the 15th century St. Gallen became successful in producing textiles. In 1714 the climax was reached with a yearly production of 38,000 pieces of cloth. The first depression happened in the middle of the 18th century caused by strong foreign competition and starting cotton production. But St. Gallen was able to catch up and an even more glamorous era arrived.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the first embroidery machines were developed in St. Gallen. In 1910 the embroidery production was the largest export branch (18 percent of the total export value) in Switzerland and more than half of the global production originated in St. Gallen. One fifth of the population in the eastern part of Switzerland lived from the textile industry. World War I and the Great Depression thereafter let the St. Gallen embroidery fall into a second large crisis.Only in the 1950s a slight recovery started in the textile industry. Nowadays, only a small textile industry can survive in St. Gallen because of high specialization and the production of powerful embroidery machines. St. Gallen embroideries (e.g. by Akris) are still in high demand by the creators of Paris Haute Couture.


St. Gallen is known for its business school, now named University of St. Gallen (HSG). It is the number one school for business and management in German-speaking Europe and one of the top addresses worldwide. Recently, HSG has been building a reputation for Executive Education, with its International MBA [] recognised as one of Europe's leading programmes, and runs a PhD programme with a consultancy based research methodology. HSG is a focused university that offers degrees in business and management, economics, political science and international relations as well as business law. It is comparatively small, with about 5,000 students enrolled at present, has both EQUIS and AACSB accredited, and is a member of CEMS (Community of European Management Schools). The university maintains student and faculty exchange programs around the world. Furthermore, St. Gallen is known for a world famous private school, namely, Institut auf dem Rosenberg — an elite boarding school attracting students from all over the world.

Culture and Sightseeing


* In the modern and somewhat extravagant [ "Theater Hall St. Gallen"] operas, operettas, ballet, musicals and plays are performed. It has an impressive average utilization of nearly 80 percent.
* In the nearby [ "Concert Hall"] with its grand art nouveau style all sorts of concerts (classic, symphony, jazz etc.) are given.


* "Historical and ethnography museum" (collections of regional early history, city history, folk art, cultural history as well ethnographical collections from all over the world)
* "Art museum" (painting and sculptures from the 19th and 20th century)
* "Art hall St. Gallen" (national and international modern art)
* "Natural museum" (natural history collection)
* "Museum in the storehouse" (Swiss native art and art brut)
* "Textile museum" (historical laces, embroidery and cloth)
* "Lapidarium of the abbey" (building blocks from 8th to 17th century)
* "Point Jaune museum" (Mail Art, Postpostism)


* The [ "symphony orchestra St. Gallen"] performs besides its duty at the city theater numerous symphony concerts in the city concert hall.
* The well known [ St. Gallen Open Air Festival] takes place in the nearby sitter valley the first weekend in July.


* "Drei Weieren" (three artificial water basins from the zenith of the textile industry with art nouveau-bath houses; reachable by the Mühleggbahn (train) from 1893). The Drei Weieren are a water park by day and a gatheringplace of the youth by night. This results in many complaints about noise, drug abuse and vandalism by people who live in the vicinity. Locals jokingly call the three basins "Lakes with the most THC in the country". The youth who spends their time there claim that the Drei Weieren are a place where they can spend their time in a consume-free environment.
* "Convent of St. Gall" with the famous "library" and "abbey" (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
* "Bank Wegelin", the oldest bank in Switzerland, founded in 1741
* "Tröckneturm Schönenwegen"; the tower was built 1828 and was used to hang up freshly colored cloth panels for drying.
* "Protestant church Linsebühl", an impressive new renaissance building dating from 1897
* "University of St. Gallen" (HSG; University for Business Administration, Economics and Law with an excellent reputation in the German-speaking world), founded 1898.
* "Embroidery exchange", splendid building with the god for trade Hermes on its roof.
* "Public bath", the oldest public bath in Switzerland dating from 1908.
* "Catholic church St. Martin" in the Bruggen district; the concrete church built in 1936 was at that time highly modern.
* 1992 the city of St. Gallen received the Wakker Prize.
* Stadtlounge (City Lounge) - a pedestrianised area in the central city designed to represent a loungeroom, but in the street. [] German only, pictures are universal though. The Stadtlounge was designed by Pippilotti Rist.


* "Wildlife park Peter and Paul"
* City park at the theater
* Cantonal school park

Regular Events

* OLMA, traditional Swiss Fair for Agriculture and Nutrition in autumn as well as numerous other exhibitions at the OLMA Fairs St. Gallen.
* Openair St. Gallen in the sitter valley.
* Children Feast, originally a product from the textile industry. It is organized every third year.
* The St. Gallen Symposium attracts about 600 personalities from economy, science, politics and society to the University of St. Gallen every year. It hosts a student essay competition with about 1'000 participants of whom 200 are selected to participate in the St. Gallen Symposium. The St. Gallen Symposium takes place in 2008 from May 15 to May 17 for its 38th time. The subject of the forthcoming “3 Days in May” is "Global Capitalism - Local Values". The 39th edition will take place from May 7-9, 2009 and the 40th edition is scheduled for May 6-8, 2010.


* The football team FC St. Gallen is based in the city and plays in the Challenge League, Switzerland's second-highest football division. It is the oldest football club in Switzerland and second oldest in continental Europe, founded in 1879.


The A1 motorway links St. Gallen with St. Margrethen, Zürich, Berne and Geneva. In 1987 the city motorway was opened, which leads the traffic through two tunnels (Rosenberg and Stefanshorn) almost directly below the city center.

St. Gallen has its own small airport Airport St. Gallen-Altenrhein, residing at nearby Lake of Constance with regular flights to Vienna and other destinations.

St. Gallen is closely tied to the national Swiss Federal Railways network and has InterCity connections to Zurich and the Zurich International Airport every half an hour. St. Gallen is the hub for many private railways such as the Südostbahn (SOB), connecting St. Gallen with Lucerne, the Appenzeller Bahnen with connections to Appenzell and the Trogenerbahn to Trogen, which also serves as a tram in downtown.

The town has a dense local bus transportation system operated by the VBSG, which is well established on the valley floor and less on the hills. As St. Gallen is located near the Appenzell mountain area, it offers also many Postauto (post bus) connections. The agglomeration also has its own S-Bahn System (overground local trains).

The large urban area Zurich is about 80 km south-west of St. Gallen and is reachable by car in about 50-90 minutes depending to traffic and by train in 65 minutes (by ICN).


In St. Gallen, there is the oldest brewery of Switzerland called Schützengarten.

Gustav Adolf, former king of Sweden, spent the last years of his life in St. Gallen, and finally died there in 1837.

ee also

*List of mayors of St. Gallen

Newspaper articles

[,1055392,914242,913749,809310,663221&ressorce=archivsuche Auf Pantoffeln in goldene Zeiten] in St. Galler Tagblatt de icon

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ St. Gallen Symposium]
* [ VBSG (local bus)]
* [ QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) images of St. Gallen]

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