Visiting the St. Gallen Abbey

Visiting places listed by UNESCO is an essential part of heritage and culture traveling. But discovering places with over 1000 years of continuous history is a rare event. Dear Fun Museums fans, this is the St.Gallen Abbey.

Selfie Spot -
Selfie point. No photos in the big Library, but there is quite an immersive selfie experience available.

Dark Middle Ages

We have often heard that assumption – that the Medieval times were dark. They were indeed dark, and not for the fact that there was a lack of knowledge, science, philosophy, arts, or culture. Middle Ages were not dark for such a reason at all.

Medieval times were dark because basically, all the knowledge, science, education, art, culture, philosophy, basically everything intellectual – wasn’t centralised in monasteries. It all existed in abundance, but was not inclusive.

One of the most significant hotbeds of medieval knowledge was the St. Gallen Abbey. This cosy lively town in today Switzerland was home to one of the first organised Benedictine monasteries, and introduced a new level of innovation in the medieval modus operandi.

Long story short: the monks evolved into a conjuncture of organised communities as they were not hermits anymore. Some rules were implemented, they had to treat each other with respect and contribute to their organisation.

The St.Gallen Abbey Plan

The St. Gallen Abbey is studied by every history and history of art student in Europe. It’s because, there was a plan for quite an extensive complex that included schools, hospitals, farms, and many other facilities. It was never completed that way, but we have some idea about the organised medieval monasteries thanks to these documents.

St.Gallen Abbey
I know this belongs to a cruel era of lavish life and products for select people. However, this is a beautiful piece of art.

The St.Gallen Abbey was also one of the most illustrious and proud institutions in Europe of early Medieval Ages. Notice the book cover on the picture above? Just like nowadays we all count likes on Instagram, back then monks from one monastery wanted to have something better than the ones of other monasteries. Simple as that.

In other words, exclusive medieval world looked for high quality in everything they had. The inclusive world of today wants a high quality in everything we had. The only issue is that it’s difficult to distribute so much quality among so many people. So, not many influencers on social media will have their own ivory book cover. 🙂

The very first evidences of the St. Gallen Abbey date back to VIII/IX centuries. It’s a long history. The complex burnt down a lot of times, being subsequently rebuilt time after time. Here comes one of the most beautiful, I would even say Instagrammable moquettes I have ever seen.

St.Gallen Abbey
Some of the pure beauties of Baroque.

That Library

The whole current building is a pearl of Baroque. It includes a very, very beautiful library. Photos are not allowed inside, but if you go back the first photo of this post, you can notice a big wallpaper featuring the library’s interior. There is a “selfie-point” in front, where visitors can stand on and take a selfie. It works really well, trust me!

The St.Gallen Abbey was the last museum I visited during my 3 days trip to Switzerland. The previous two were the Kunsthaus Zurich (art museum), the Landesmuseum Zurich (national museum), the Maestrani Chocolarium (chocolate industry museum), and the fourth was the St.Gallen Abbey.

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