St. Gallen’s most famous landmark is its Baroque cathedral, with the Abbey Library, which houses some 170,000 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 the 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 hometown 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.