The Abbey Library of St Gallen
The Convent of St Gall, a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery, was, from the 8th century to its secularization in 1805, one of the most important in Europe. Its library is one of the richest and oldest in the world and contains precious manuscripts such as the earliest-known architectural plan drawn on parchment. From 1755 to 1768, the conventual area was rebuilt in Baroque style. The cathedral and the library are the main features of this remarkable architectural complex, reflecting 12 centuries of continuous activity.
St. Lawrence Church
The tower of the St. Lawrence Church affords a beautiful view of the Old Town and the Abbey Precinct.
Besides the Cathedral, this is the city’s most important church. The present building dates back to the 15th century, but it was entirely reconstructed from 1850 to 1854 and now is a basilica in neo-Gothic style. After climbing the tower, you will have a wonderful view over the roofs of St.Gallen.
Tours of the tower are held twice daily at 10 am and 3 pm. The tower is closed during the winter months.
The Old Town
St Gallen has a convivial historic core that is easy to navigate as there’s no road traffic.
Something that distinguishes the old town are the ornate oriels (bay windows) on the facades of old houses.
There are 111 oriels in all to look out for on these streets, many of which are expertly carved and painted and belonged to textile merchants in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The best places to find them are on the bustling Marktgasse, Schmiedgasse, Spisergasse and Kugelgasse.
On the eastern end of Marktplatz you’ll happen upon the Waaghaus, a 16th-century hall for weighing, declaring and storing goods.
This is easily spotted for its crow-stepped gable is now a place for exhibitions and concerts.