Appenzell (canton) Attractions
This attractive Pre-Alpine region in eastern Switzerland, just south of Lake Constance, reaching its highest point in the Säntis (2,504 m/8,216ft) in the Alpstein range, is the only Swiss canton which is completely surrounded by another canton (St Gallen). It is subdivided into two independent half-cantons, established in 1597 following democratic votes in the two religious communities, Appenzell-Ausserrhoden being Protestant and Appenzell-Innerrhoden Roman Catholic. The division also reflects a geographical difference; Innerrhoden consists mainly of the Alpstein and Säntis massifs, while Ausserrhoden takes in the upland region to the north of the Säntis range. Both the half-cantons reach their most important political decisions at the Landsgemeinde, the annual meeting, held in the open air, of all the men of the community. In the Middle Ages Appenzell belonged to the Prince-Abbot of St Gallen, but at the beginning of the 15th C. it broke away after a valiant and determined struggle for independence, and in 1513 became the last canton in the 13-member confederation, which received no further accessions until the French Revolution. The canton owed its prosperity in earlier centuries to its flourishing textile industry, and many villages still have handsome houses with curved gables dating from this period.According to legend the devil once flew over the region with his sack full of towns and villages. A sharp rock from Mt Säntis tore a hole in his bundle, through which thousands of houses fell and were scattered over the countryside, this being the reason for the typically wide dispersal of settlements. Folk art is deeply rooted in Appenzell traditions; in Innerrhoden in particular an ancient culture characteristic of these upland pastoral regions is still very much alive. Naïve peasant painting is to be seen everywhere in the canton, and other old crafts still practiced are the making of bell harness and coopering. Folk music played by string bands (violins, cellos, double basses, dulcimers) and the elegant local costumes also play an important part in the ancient traditions of the socially disposed people of Appenzell.The annual general meeting of the Landsgemeinde is an impressive experience for any visitor who is fortunate enough to be present. On the last Sunday in April all citizens entitled to vote - men over the age of 20 - make their way wearing swords, to the square where the meeting takes place. The men of Ausserrhoden meet alternately in Trogen, headquarters of the cantonal court and the cantonal police, and in Hundwil. The men of Innerrhoden, carrying their swords as evidence of their right to vote, meet in the cantonal capital, Appenzell. The landamman (chief magistrate) and other members of the cantonal government are elected by show of hands and solemnly sworn in on the spot. Every citizen has the right to speak, and can put forward a proposal for legislation or constitutional amendment.Appenzell is served by good roads and by narrow-gauge railroads. The Appenzellerbahn runs from Gossau, in the Unterland, via Herisau and Urnäsch to the town of Appenzell, and from there to Weissbad and Wasserauen; the Gaiserbahn links St Gallen and Altstätten with Appenzell, and there are other lines from Rorschach, St Gallen and Rheineck to Heiden, Trogen and Walzenhausen.
Mt Säntis is the highest peak of the Alpstein massif. A cableway runs up to the summit offering great views over the surrounding mountains and Lake Constance.
Museum Liner Appenzell
The Liner Museum features exhibits dedicated to the Appenzell painters Carl August and Carl Walter Liner- father and son.
Address: Unterrainstrass 5, CH-9050 Appensell, Switzerland
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 10am-12pm, 2pm-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 2pm-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 2pm-5pm
Entrance fee in CHF: Family CHF19.00, Adult CHF9.00, Concession or reduced rate CHF6.00
Useful tips: Public guided tours on the first Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. and the third Wednesday at 7:30 pm.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.