Photos

Photographer's Note

Cathedral of St Gallen

The Abbey of Saint Gall (German: Fürstabtei Sankt Gallen) is a religious complex in the city of St. Gallen in present-day Switzerland. The Carolingian-era Abbey has existed since 719 and became an independent principality during the 13th century, 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. Since 1983 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St Gallen’s giant Baroque cathedral is unmissable. Designed by one Peter Thumb from Bregenz, it was completed in 1767 after just twelve years’ construction work. Easiest access is through the west door on Gallusstrasse, although it’s worth making your way through the church and out into the enclosed Klosterhof, at the heart of the complex, where you can see the full height of the extraordinary soaring east facade, dating from the 1760s. The convex facade of the apse rises above the formal lawns of the abbey, and is flanked by the two huge, concave towers rising in three sections. To the left is the palace wing, still the residence of the Bishop of St Gallen.

The interior of the cathedral is vast, a broad, brightly lit white basilica with three naves and a central cupola. Although not especially high, the interior has a sense of huge depth and breadth thanks to its accomplished architecture: from the sandstone of the floor and wood of the pews, fanciful light-green stuccowork – characteristic of churches in the Konstanz region – draws your eye up the massive double-width pillars to the array of frescoes on the ceiling. The frescoes (1757–66) are almost entirely the work of one artist: Josef Wannenmacher, from Tomerdingen in southern Germany. Above the western end of the nave is a panel showing Mary sitting on a cloud surrounded by angels. The huge central cupola shows paradise, with the Holy Trinity in the centre surrounded by concentric rings of cloud on which are arrayed apostles and saints. Details throughout the rest of the cathedral are splendid: the lavish, mock-tasselled pulpit; the ornate choir screen; the richly carved walnut-wood confessionals; the intricate choir stalls; and, far away at the back of the choir, the high altar flanked by black marble columns with gold trim. The south altar features a bell brought by Gallus on his seventh-century journey from Ireland, one of the three oldest surviving bells in Europe.

St. Gallen

St. Gallen’s most famous landmark is its Baroque cathedral with the Abbey Library, which houses some 140,000 documents – in part hand-written and over a thousand years old. The library probably also has Switzerland’s most beautiful Rococo hall. The entire Abbey precinct was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983.

The name and foundation of the town stem from the Irish missionary monk Gallus who founded a hermitage here around 612. From 747, the then St. Gallen monastery was already following Benedictine Rule, which required the contemplative study of books and accordingly also stipulated the presence of a library. In the Middle Ages, the town developed into an important hub of culture and education in Europe. Later, the St. Gallen embroideries attracted international recognition and brought prosperity to the town.

St. Gallen is a university town with a focus on the economic sciences. The home town of the renowned «Mummenschanz» theatre group offers a varied cultural offering with theatres and museums. In summer, the romantic art-nouveau Dreilinden-Weiher open-air pool with its splendid views over the town attracts visitors to swim. (Source: myswitzerland & wikipedia)

Photo Information
Viewed: 1673
Points: 40
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH