Meeting at St. Gallen, Switzerland
St. Gallen is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration (with around 160,000 inhabitants) and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. Its economy consists mainly of the service sector.
The main tourist attraction is the Abbey of Saint Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Abbey's renowned library contains books from the 9th century.
The city has good transport links to the rest of the country and to neighbouring Germany and Austria. It also functions as the gate to the Appenzell Alps.
St. Gallen is situated in the northeastern part of Switzerland in a valley about 700 meters (2,300 ft) above sea level. It is one of the highest cities in Switzerland and thus receives abundant winter snow. The city lies between Lake Constance and the mountains of the Appenzell Alps (with the Säntis as the highest peak at 2,502 meters (8,209 ft)). It therefore offers excellent recreation areas nearby.
As the city center is built on an unstable turf ground (its founder Gallus was looking for a site for a hermitage, not for a city), all buildings on the valley floor must be built on piles. For example, the entire foundation of the train station and its plaza are based on hundreds of piles.
St. Gallen has an area, as of 2006, of 39.3 km2 (15.2 sq mi). Of this area, 31.1% is used for agricultural purposes, while 28.9% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 38.4% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (1.7%) is non-productive (rivers or lakes).