But wait ... there's more. The design of the monastery complex is from a document that is 1200 years old. The Plan of St. Gall is a 122cm x 77.5cm manuscript that was discovered in 1844 when a pamphlet containing a 12th century life of St. Martin was unfolded. It shows the layout of 40 structures and spaces for gardens and orchards and a road. It includes 333 labels that identify the buildings and their purpose.
To be clear: the Plan of St. Gall isn't the actual layout of the monastery at St. Gall; the terrain wouldn't allow it. An inscription on the Plan tells us that it was a gift to the Abbot of St. Gall, Gozbertus (fl.816-837), who was responsible for having the monastery's church built in the 830s. According to the men* who brought the Plan to modern attention, it was based on a design made at two Carolingian reform synods held in 816 and 817 in Aachen intended to formalize Benedictine culture.
|Close-up of a St. Gall model|
*Medievalist Walter Horn and architect Ernest Born produced a three-volume analysis of the document in 1979, The Plan of St. Gall (Berkeley, Calif., University of California Press).