Around 612 AD the Irish monk Gallus built a hermitage and a house of prayer in the SteinachValley. With this he laid the cornerstone for the advanced civilisation of the monastery state and the City of St. Gallen In 2012 this important historical event, the arrival of Gallus, will have its 1,400th anniversary this year. This is a great reason for a visit to the present-day UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to the earliest accounts of his life from the 7th to 9th centuries, Gallus was a monk from the Irish Bangor Monastery near Belfast. As one of the 12 companions of the missionary Columbanus the Younger, around 590 AD he moved from Bangor via Luxeuil and Metz up the Rhine to Lake Constance, first to Bregenz and subsequently to Arbon on the southern bank. In 612 Gallus decided to continue to follow the River Steinach towards the south. According to his records, he stumbled and fell on to a thorny bush at the waterfall by the Mühleggschlucht Gorge, in the present-day City of St Gallen. Gallus interpreted this as a sign from God, telling him to stay here.
Gallus’ Irish ancestry forms an important part of this tradition, which has been handed down through the generations, Tourism Director Boris Tschirky emphasises: “The 2012 Gallus Anniversary will draw on this. The bond with Ireland has always been an important part of the remembrance of Gallus; within the framework of the anniversary, this bond is to be both maintained and deepened.”
“We are Gallus”
From April to October 2012 the region of St Gallen will celebrate the arrival of Gallus with a varied programme. Interesting guided tours, a variety of outings and exciting art and cultural projects have something to offer for every taste. “The 2012 Gallus Anniversary is intended to astonish, delight, and touch people, to encourage them to reflect and to inspire them,” St Gallen’s mayor Thomas Scheitlin states.
Interesting readings and lectures, as well as entertaining theatre performances address the festival of the arts, ‘Come in! Encounters in the Abbey District’, enthralling guided tours, national and international art projects, diverse exhibitions and culinary specialities in the restaurants of the historic city centre, St Gallen presents itself to visitors from home and abroad.
For information on the 2012 Gallus Anniversary, visit www.gallusjubilaeum.ch