The Marvels of Switzerland: a rich historical heritage

Switzerland is a rather small state. Nevertheless, it offers numerous sights worth discovering. With the third and last article of this short series being about northwestern Switzerland we will lead you to St. Gallen, the capital of the homonymous canton.

By Alessandra Ivaldi / 18.11.2020

In the previous articles of this series we explored with our imagination the towns of Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein, making a stop at the wonderful Rhine Falls. Now it is time to end our journey with the last, very famous destination: St. Gallen.

The symbol of the town is its baroque cathedral, which is part of a wide and spectacular religious complex. A sumptuous library is also part of this complex and contains about 170.000 volumes, some of which are hand-written and a thousand years old! The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The library contains the beautiful Rococo hall of Switzerland, an unrivalled masterpiece, which can be visited only after having worn proper “slippers” that make it possible to walk through this magic place without ruining the sumptuous floors in inlaid wood. The slippers are distributed by the staff of the library at the beginning of the visit.

In addition to the very precious and ancient volumes, visitors will also find inside the hall an Egyptian mummy from the 6th century B.C. and a fascinating item: a faithful copy of a sixteenth-century globe based on one of the first maps of human history – the original was stolen and is now in Zurich.

After the library, do not forget to visit the wonderful cathedral, work of the late Baroque period, with its imposing facade characterised by beautiful decorations that are just a taste of the magnificence waiting for you inside.

The town’s name derives from the legendary Irish monk Saint Gallus, who founded a hermitage in this area in the 7th century A.D…. and over time that humble hermitage turned into one of the greatest Benedictine abbeys of Europe, a center of power and culture. In fact, the abbot was for many centuries also the Lord of the town and the confining territories.

According to the legend, Saint Gallus gave a piece of bread to a hungry bear, an animal that at the time represented a dangerous threat for the local community. To reward Saint Gallus for his generosity, the bear helped him to build a chapel of the future monastery by bringing him the wood needed for that hard work. Today the bear is still one of the symbols of the city, and you will find statues and other representations of this animal throughout the old town of St. Gallen.

In this regard, the old town is really lovely and the local authorities decided to protect and keep its beauty by closing the entire area to traffic. Take your time to visit this fascinating place, where important evidence of the rich past of St. Gallen mixes with the vibrant life of a modern university town. St. Gallen and its old town offer many opportunities for visitors who want to have fun between one visit and another…

And that concludes, for now, our journey among the marvels of Switzerland. Do you know other places that you consider worth a visit in the north-western area of this little but fascinating country? Let us know your opinion by commenting on the Meeting Halfway website or on our social pages!


Alessandra Ivaldi (Italy)

Speaks: Italian, English, German, French

Europe is... a cultural heritage.



Alexandra Wood (Great Britain)
Languages: English, French
Job: Freelance Translator (Alexicon Translations)
Europe is... a mezze of languages and culture packed into a little continent.

Author: alessandra

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