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Abbey of St Gall

Abbey of St Gall

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.

Abbaye de St-Gall

Le couvent de Saint-Gall, exemple parfait de grand monastère carolingien, a été, depuis le VIIIe siècle jusqu'à sa sécularisation en 1805, l'un des plus importants d'Europe. Sa bibliothèque, l'une des plus riches et des plus anciennes du monde, contient de précieux manuscrits, notamment le plus ancien dessin d'architecture sur parchemin connu. De 1755 à 1768, le domaine conventuel a été reconstruit en style baroque. La cathédrale et la bibliothèque sont les principales composantes de ce remarquable ensemble architectural, reflet de douze siècles d'activité.

دير سانت غال

شكل دير سانت غال نموذجاً فريداً مثالياً للاديرة الكارولينجية الكبيرة، وهو لا يزال الاهم في اوروبا منذ القرن الثامن وحتى علمنته سنة 1805. وتحوي مكتبة الدير التي تعتبر من الأغنى والأقدم في العالم مخطوطات ثمينة اهمها أقدم رسم هندسي على الورق عرفته البشرية. وقد أعيد بناء هذا الدير بالطراز الباروكي من عام 1755 الى 1768 ، علماً ان الكاتدرائية والمكتبة هما العنصران الرئيسان في هذا المجمّع الهندسي الرائع الذي يعكس 12 قرناً من النشاط.

source: UNESCO/ERI

圣加尔修道院

从公元8世纪至1805年脱离宗教影响,圣加尔修道院一直是欧洲最重要的建筑之一,是卡洛林王朝时期修道院建筑风格的完美再现。修道院图书馆是世界上历史最悠久、馆藏最丰富的图书馆之一,其藏品中保存有许多珍贵的手稿,部分手稿写于羊皮上,内容是最初的建筑构想。修道院社区于公元1755-1768年按巴罗克式的风格重建。大教堂和图书馆是该宏伟建筑群的主要代表,一千两百年以来,人们在此活动不断。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Монастырь Св. Галла (город Санкт-Галлен)

Монастырь Св. Галла – это совершенный пример большого монастыря времени Каролингов, бывшего с VIII в. до его секуляризации в 1805 г. одним из важнейших в Европе. Библиотека монастыря является одной из богатейших и старейших в мире, и хранит драгоценные манускрипты, такие как самый первый из известных архитектурный план, выполненный на пергаменте. В 1755-68 гг. комплекс монастыря был перестроен в стиле барокко. Его главными достопримечательностями являются собор и библиотека, а в целом этот выдающийся архитектурный ансамбль отражает 12 столетий непрерывной монастырской деятельности.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Abadía de Saint Gall

Ejemplo perfecto de gran monasterio carolingio, este convento fue uno de los más importantes en Europa desde el siglo VIII hasta su secularización en 1805. Su biblioteca es una las más ricas y antiguas del mundo y posee valiosos manuscritos, entre los que figura el más antiguo de los planos arquitectónicos en pergamino hallados hasta ahora. Entre 1755 y 1768 fue reconstruido en estilo barroco. La catedral y la biblioteca son los edificios principales de este excepcional conjunto arquitectónico, testigo de doce siglos de ininterrumpida actividad espiritual y cultural.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ザンクト・ガレンの修道院

source: NFUAJ

Klooster van Sankt Gallen

Het klooster van Sankt Gallen is een perfect voorbeeld van een groot Karolingisch klooster. Van de 8e eeuw tot de ontkerkelijking in 1805 was het klooster een van de belangrijkste in Europa. De kloosterbibliotheek is een van de rijkste en oudste ter wereld en bevat kostbare manuscripten zoals het vroegst bekende architectonische plan getekend op perkament. Van 1755 tot 1768 werd het monnikencomplex herbouwd in barokstijl. De kathedraal en de bibliotheek zijn de belangrijkste elementen van dit opmerkelijke architecturale complex, dat 12 eeuwen van voortdurende activiteit weergeeft. Het klooster van Sankt Gallen heeft grote invloed gehad op de ontwikkelingen in de monastieke architectuur.

Source: unesco.nl

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Convent of St. Gall (Deutsch: Fürstabtei St. Gallen) © Norbert Aepli
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis 

The Abbey of St Gall is located in the town of St Gall in the north-eastern part of Switzerland, and largely owes its present appearance to the construction campaigns of the 18th century. It is an impressive architectural ensemble comprising different buildings regrouped around the main square of the abbey: The west side includes the ancient abbatial church (the present cathedral), flanked by two towers and the ancient cloister, which today houses the abbatial Library; located on the east side is the “Neue Pfalz”, the present seat of the canton authorities. The northern part of the square is composed of buildings of the 19th century: the ancient arsenal, the Children’s and Guardian Angels’ Chapel and the former Catholic school.

The Abbey of St Gall is an outstanding example of a large Carolingian monastery and was, since the 8th century until its secularisation in 1805, one of the most important cultural centres in Europe. It represents 1200 years of history of monastic architecture and is a typical and outstanding ensemble of a large Benedictine convent. Almost all the important architectural periods, from High Middle Ages to historicism, are represented in an exemplary fashion. Despite the diversity of styles, the conventual ensemble gives the impression of overall unity, bordered on the north and to the west by edifices of the town of St Gall that are, for the most part, intact.

The High Baroque library represents one of the most beautiful examples of its era, and the present cathedral is one of the last monumental constructions of Baroque abbatial churches in the West. In addition to the architectural substance, the inestimable cultural values conserved at the Abbey are of exceptional importance, notably: the Irish manuscripts of the 7th and 8th centuries, the illuminated manuscripts of the St Gall School of the 9th and 11th centuries, documents concerning the history of the origins of Alemannic Switzerland as well as the layout of the convent during the Carolingian era (the only manuscript plan of that time remaining worldwide, conserved in its original state, representing a concept of monastic organisation of the Benedictine order).

Criterion (ii): The Abbey of Gozbert (816-837) exerted a great influence on the development of monastic architecture following the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, as demonstrated by the famous plan of St Gall of the 9th century which comprises architectural drawings of 341 inscriptions on parchment that may be perceived as the ideal layout for a Benedictine abbey.

Criterion (iv): The Abbey of St Gall may be considered as a typical example of a large Benedictine monastery, centre of art and knowledge, with its rich library and scriptorium. The successive restructurings of the conventual space attest, in their diversity, to an on-going religious and cultural function.

Integrity

The property comprises the entire monastic ensemble with the archives of the Abbey as well as the Abbatial Library and all the restructuring developments over more than 1200 years, and consequently retains all the necessary elements to express its Outstanding Universal Value.

Authenticity

The property reflects an architectural development spanning several centuries, and bears witness to well-preserved material and original substance, with a continuous religious, cultural and public function.

Protection and management requirements

Federal, cantonal and communal laws protect the Abbey of St Gall. Federal protection is inscribed in the land register of the competent authorities of the Confederation, and approval must be granted for all works foreseen in the perimeter of the property. The 1972 cantonal law on construction lists the elements of the Abbey as monuments for which conservation is of public interest. The 2000-2005 Construction Order for the town of St Gall stipulates that all the elements of the site must be conserved (ban on demolition, protection of the historical substance and the character of the built edifice). Protection of archaeological discoveries is regulated by cantonal law: no archaeological object may be destroyed or exported beyond the canton without authorization of the cantonal authorities responsible for archaeology. With a view to improving the conservation of some objects and manuscripts, the constraints linked to the environment have been reduced by the limitation of traffic in the immediate vicinity, the deposit of manuscripts in a space with regulated temperature and through the continual monitoring of climatic conditions at the site.

The management of the property is jointly ensured by the canton and the town of St Gall as well as the Catholic Church that, for the most part, ensures its funding. In 2012, the most important stakeholders created an association to improve coordination for the management of the property and prepare a management plan. The property should benefit from the reinforced protection according to the Second Protocol relating to the 1954 Hague Convention, which will strengthen the provisions concerning risk management for the conservation of the movable and immovable property.

Long Description

St Gall is a typical and outstanding example of the large Benedictine monastery, centre of art and knowledge, with its rich library and its scriptorium; the successive restructurings of the conventual's space attest to its ongoing religious and cultural function. The Convent exerted great influence on developments in monastic architecture following the Council of Aachen.

It was in 612 that the lrish monk Gallus withdrew into the valley of Steinach to lead the existence of a hermit. In 747, the abbot Othmar established a community of Benedictine monks in the place made famous by St Gall and at the same time founded a school.

During the 9th and 10th centuries, the abbey of St Gall was one of the most renowned centres of Western culture and science. Its apogee coincided with the abbacy of Gotzbert (816-37) to whom was sent the famous plan on parchment known as the Plan of Saint Gall; this was probably sent by the Bishop of Basel, Heito, Abbot of Reichenau. Following the Council of Aachen, this architectural design accompanied by 341 annotations constitutes the ideal plan of a Benedictine abbey, including a scriptorium and a library. Excavations carried out at St Gall by Sennhauser show that this innovative plan was partially realized.

In 818, in the course of the Carolingian reform of the Church by Ludwig the Pious, the abbey, as a monastery immediately subordinate to the empire, received an imperial privilege of immunity, making it independent of the Diocese of Constance and placing it under the direct protection of the Crown. In 883 the East Frank Ludwig II the German conferred upon it the right to choose its own abbot, and finally, in 854, it was released from the obligation to pay tithes to the Bishop of Constance. The Abbey of St Gall had at last attained full autonomy.

The abbots had since 1206 been Princes of the Empire and ruled over the town of St Gall, the Fürstenland, and after 1468 over the County of Toggenburg. The Princely Abbey ruled at that time over the territory surrounding the town, while simultaneously being cut off in its monastery from the town itself, which in the meantime had gone through the Reformation and become independent. The Reformation had in fact for a time threatened the dissolution of the abbey itself, but after 1531 clerical sovereignty was restored, although freedom of religious practice was conceded to Toggenburg. Abbey rule in effect ended when French troops marched into St Gall in 1798. In 1805, the abbey was dissolved. Its clerical and administrative successor was to all intents and purposes the newly created Bishopric of the same name, which, although at first set up as the twin Diocese of Chur and St Gall, was made legally independent and then separated from Chur in 1847.

In 1836 the church became a cathedral: only the foundations and some elements of architecture, discovered as a result of probes undertaken after 1960, remain of what was once the splendour of the Carolingian monastery. Indeed, it has been reconstructed several times. Its present appearance, marked by the full-blown Baroque style of the cathedral (former abbatial) and the library, are the result of the construction campaigns of the 18th century.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC