St. Gallen:Switzerland, Places,Photos

8.03.2014 Saint Gallen, Switzerland

Creative Call from opposite University of St. Gallen

Sometimes you do not know when the destination calls for you. It looks like the place is straight out of Fairy tale. One such was an Oriel in one of the windows I stared at until she told me that “These are ugly looking faces you are staring at and they believed in earlier times that they hold the bad influences from the people living away in the house. The tongue hanging out goes to neighbor opposite or next to.” 

There are 111 Oriels in St. Gallen
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While I could relate to me scrolling down the page books of Fairy tales wondering if such things had cease to exist until I saw this, there’s more to the city that catches the eye. Well the story behind how an Irish monk St. Gall separated by a group of monks took a refuge in the then forests due to fever, is what makes St. Gallen not a small Canton as it looks like. Well wait what exactly is a Canton?

Switzerland is divided into 26 Cantons (Similar to States in India and in the same way in US/Germany we have province), out of which St. Gallen is one of them.

Reaching St. Gallen

Charming Canton of St. Gallen

So next day I took a train from Zurich HB to St. Gallen which took me around an hour of the train ride. What I love about the Swiss rail is the massive wide windows, which makes you see the 180 degree of the whole surrounding. Plus its very convenient .

The more interiors of Switzerland you go to, the more in depth of Switzerland you know about!

I stayed at Radisson Blue in St. Gallen.

St. Gallen - Casual Walk and The Bratwurst

Me,having Veil and Deserts at Palma,Erststock - Beizli

While casually walking in St. Gallen, I saw a privately owned Brewery, Opera House where we have Ballets and Orchestra, Art Museum, Historical Museum and a Park. Remember in Zurich we talked about Roshti, here we have Bratwurst, a popular Sausage from St. Gallen which you eat in a roasted version from the grill and is served with onion sauce and some hash brown. Very classical to St. Gallen would be St. Gallen burli which are very crusty, crispy outside ,and inside very soft, is made from white flour hand formed bread. If you are a non-vegetarian you would love the Veil ( Meat made out of Young Calves),the wine and theadeserts at Palma,Erststock-Beizli. Palma is a restaurant on a 16th century home which has floor which is not flat and very very old,but great food nonetheless. 

Along the way, I could see the University of St. Gallen which is the university of economics, having around 7600 students and several exchange program with countries such as Singapore, Japan and US.

St. Gallen - The Old Part - Oriels 

The city of St. Gallen what we call today "The Old Part" was once surrounded by trenches, protected and restored gates, and had walls all around. But from these Old remains they have nothing left today. They have been destroyed or the Trenches filled up in the 19th century when St. Gallen became very famous specially in exporting embroidery stuff.

So until the First World War, the exported was from St. Gallen. The city of St.Gallen and the surrounding area used to cater to more than 50% of world production of embroidery and good quality of linen, a lot of which was exported to all over Europe and other parts of the world.So a lot of money came in the city. So in the old part of the city, we see special houses. Specially on the back of my hotel was old big trees and huge old villas over the hill at Rosenburg Tunnel Road.

Talking of the old town, you can feel the richness which was here in the city. There are 111 Oriels in the city. We pass through old houses which are decorated with oriels on windows, and this is the symbol of richness which came in the city with the linen trade. Each home with the Oriel has names such as Vagh, Golden Globe, Swan etc. The one named Vagh means Balance which was once a storage room to store linen product before it was marked for all over Europe and since the people have been travelling crossing the alps, separating Europe north part to south and since the south part of course is much warmer, and due to this warm temperature they bought decoration such as exotic fruits like pomegranates, grapes which we saw hanging on the windows.

St. Gallen - Oriels - White Gold

The richness which came into the city with the linen bought a term called “White Gold” into common use; Since the linen bought in was the best quality and was bleached and exposed to the sun and was sold over whole Europe. Only rich people could afford to give the balconies in their existing homes with the Oriels. The women then used to sit behind the curtain but was well informed. The Oriels are divided into 1, 2, 3 levels, the more you have it the more richness it depicts. They also have a funny house with an Oriel not represented anymore which the name which is house of Molten cup which means house of Negro Women (The term "Negro" is not fit to use anymore as was in old days,however this is just being told in reference to the Oriel that Symbolizes it) facing up down.

St. Gallen - Protestant Church, The Cathedral And The Free Beer

St. Gallen was a holy person or a holy man who came as a hermit down from Ireland to the place where we were standing now. In the year 612, this former Irish Monk was separated from his group because he got fever and he stayed in this area. After he recovered, he came to this then huge forest to look out for a place where he can stay and make a living in the wilderness. And then in the year 700, we had a priest called Otomar, who founded a monastery at this place for Gallen where 10-15 monks lived and prayed.

Today a UNESCO World heritage site,in those days was the Monastery of St. Gallen and had a wall surrounding it. The wall was built to separate the protestant from the Catholics. The problem was the Protestant Church(St. Laurens) was only 100 meters away from the big cathedral. So to attract more visitors to the Protestant church the monks started offering Free Beer. Once such similar tradition is still followed on the National Day at St. Gallen where on the first of August, there is a service in Church and everybody is offered a drink.

St. Gallen Cathedral

Pure Baroque Style but Dark and Different

The Cathedral was built in the middle of the 18th century in pure Baroque Style.

The St. Gallen Cathedral is the cathedral open for public and has a very special organ and the watch.Turn your head up and you will see a ceiling which is believed to have a deeper meaning as the Real outside Sky is for everybody. The Watch has the fingers exchanged. We have the small one of the watch that indicates the hour and the long one is for the minutes. So all this complex around here was Monastery of St. Gallen till 1805,then we have suppression of this monastery so this means no more monks living here. But the church and the buildings are still used and owned by the church. But this huge Cathedral around here and used today by the Switzerland .There are 16 confessional boxes in this church for those who would want to wash away their sins. People can light up candles, and it is believed that the wishes come out.

Pharmacy of the Soul: Wax Tablets, Manuscripts

Built in the middle of the 18th century in Baroque style, more than 260 years old is the famous Abbey Library, which is still in use even though the Monks have left the place. There are more than 2000 manuscripts in the library and can be read over internet after logging in. The library is made of wooden floor.
If you look to the shelf, there are letters, these letters are marked, for a position where the books are stored but these letters don't give any idea on what kind of books are stored. For example if you go to the letter E, then the only way to find them out is by the actions of the 20 little men over the book shelf. For example, for medicine (We had a little man as pharmacist putting some powder together), there’s a bell maker(so every single copper,iron etc information can be found).then we have the possibility to have a look into the register. What kind of books do you expect in a monastery - religious of course so they had a bible from the 17th century. Quran.

The way to find out if the book has been taken away is if the tag is shifted from left to right then the book taken out. Then we have the wax tablets(wooden plane - added wax on the surface, with the kind of nail they wrote into the wax) then when it was full, and then with hot knife they would clear and they write again. A mummy of a priests daughter who lived in Egypt but she lived 610 years before Christ so the body was something like 2600 years old, and was an exclusive gift when the canton of St Gallen was found in 1803.So the first president got exclusive gift. But he sold 1820 to the library for an amount of approximately 60,000 $.Then we have manuscripts on the iron plate, vocabulary books ,paintings, stories which are as funny as
“There is a lovely story these are two men; One man was riding on the donkey and the other one just had the donkey. Then there was a person coming from the other end said “why don’t you both sit on the animal” .The Donkey got very tired. And then the other man suggested” you two are strong young men you should carry the donkey and then they carried the donkey"

Textile Museum

Textiles Which is Part of St. Gallen Culture - Textile Museum

Started by the chamber of Commerce, this three storied building is very impressive and has textile exhibits of historical St. Gallen and collaborations with various countries. When we were there, we could see the exhibition of celebration of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan and hence the architecture, patterns were inspired from Japan on the top floor. There was an old embroidery machine from the 19th century .It also showcases fascinating world of Textiles from middle Ages to Present.

Drei Weieren    

The Cows - Drei Weieren

The very soft and very fine water of the three ponds of Drei Weieren takes you to through the grass with the cows (not always) and an amazing view of the Canton of St. Gallen.

The ponds are natural ponds and people come to swim. In earlier days, since men and women were not allowed together, the pools are separate.You can hike up and walk down to the hotel.It isn't very far!

Festivals, Horses and Red Lounge

Suspended Stones and Red Lounge

Suspended Stone like Light Sources hang in the open vast public lounge with Red Carpet designed by the renowned Swiss Artist near the Textile Museum. Every year in St. Gallen, is the biggest Equestrian Event held here where people from all over the world participate. Some of the interesting festivals are Military Tattoo,St. Gallen Festspiele outdoor-opera and the Sand Sculpture Festival.


  1. Beautiful pictures ankita .... am dying to visit switzerland ......

  2. you must,its a beautiful place.

  3. It looks so charming through your pictures.

  4. I remember walking through these lanes. I have posted on them And now I am tempted to go back again.

  5. @Mridula:Thanks Mridula,and so it is

  6. @Indrani:He he,then go,what's stopping you :)


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