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Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden

Appenzell Innerrhoden is one of Switzerland's 26 cantons, located in the country's eastern part. Appenzell initially used to be one larger historical region, which was divided into two separate cantons, the Outer and Inner Rhodes, due to differences in religion, which came into play at the end of the 16th century.[2] Thus, Appenzell Innerrhoden now neighbors Appenzell Ausserrhoden to the west, and the St. Gallen canton surrounds them both. Additionally, outside of the Appenzell Innerrhoden main territory are located two monasteries, Wonnenstein in Teufen and Grimmenstein in Walzenhausen, belonging to the Appenzell Innerrhoden administration. Concerning the geographical conditions of Appenzell Innerrhoden, the canton is situated in the mountainous landscape of the Appenzell Alps, with high-altitude peaks covering the southern part of the canton. The highest peak within the territory is Säntis.[3] However, Appenzell Innerrhoden's unofficial symbol became the Ebenalp, known for the historic Aescher guesthouse and Wildkirchli caves. The peak, its adjacent area, and the Appenzell Alps, in general, are popular tourist destinations among people seeking hiking, cycling, and mountain biking opportunities.[8] In the central part of the canton sits a town called Appenzell, which serves as the Appenzell Innerrhoden's capital. It is reportedly more of a village, where local customs and traditions are kept alive.[9]

What Appenzell Innerrhoden is known for

Appenzell Innerrhoden and the adjacent area are predominantly known for the Appenzell Alps, which serve as a popular outdoor tourist destination. A predominant feature of the mountainous region is its highest peak, Säntis. There is a network of walking, hiking, and mountain biking trails, allowing the canton's visitors to experience its nature.[7] However, Appenzell Alps tourism originated to the northeast from the region's highest peak. Near the Ebenalp mountain sits the Aescher guesthouse, one of Switzerland's oldest inns, dating back to the 19th century. The inn is nestled against the cliff face and is renowned for its hospitality, atmosphere, and history. Additionally, in close proximity to the Aescher are Wildkirchli caves, where prehistoric remains of human habitation have been found. Nowadays, both the inn and the caves serve as one of the top touristic destinations in the Appenzell Innerrhoden canton. And apart from them, there's also a relative abundance of hiking and walking trails in the Ebenalp adjacent region.[8]

The Appenzell Innerrhoden's capital is called Appenzell as well. Being the main town of the canton, Appenzell is more of a village than a city. Approximately 7,000 people live in Appenzell, which serves as a cultural and economic center. In order to try and retain the cleanliness and authenticity of the village, no cars are allowed in Appenzell. In the town, several small stores, boutiques, and a museum showcasing Appenzell's history and culture can be found. The village and the whole region are known for the considerable preservation of local customs and traditions, which can be manifested in local folklore festivals and rustic dances. Additionally, during the winter months, Appenzell tends to be covered with snow, which is said to give the village and surrounding nature a "fairy-tale look." People who enjoy outdoor winter activities might appreciate a network of around 200 km of cross-country ski trails.[9]


Appenzell Innerrhoden can be found in the eastern part of Switzerland, neighboring Appenzell Ausserrhoden to the west. Both cantons lie surrounded by St. Gallen. Appenzell Innerrhoden territory can be described as discontinuous. Besides the main territory, there are two separate areas, both belonging to the Appenzell Innerrhoden's governing body, yet physically being entirely separated from the main territory. The two exclaves are actually monasteries, the Wonnenstein in Teufen and Grimmenstein in Walzenhausen.[3] Appenzell Innerrhoden is Switzerland's second smallest canton, with an area of 173 square kilometers. Over half of its territory is used as agricultural land, despite the landscape being predominantly mountainous. Of that, approximately six percent is farmed organically by 27 farms contributing to the region's domestic produce and nature preservation.[4] 

The Appenzell Alps covering Appenzell Innerrhoden territory is a mountain range stretching across both Appenzells and St. Gallen cantons. The highest peak in the Appenzell Alps is Säntis, with an altitude of 2,502 m above sea level, located at the border of the three cantons mentioned above. Within the Appenzell Innerrhoden canton, Säntis is positioned on its southwestern border, with the highest part of the Appenzell Alps covering the predominantly southern part of the canton's territory.[5] Three smaller mountain lakes are located within Appenzell Innerrhoden's borders, the Seealpsee, Sämtisersee, and Fälensee.[3]

Located in the central part of Europe, Appenzell Innerrhoden weather conditions primarily depend on the altitude above sea level. In terms of the average temperatures in Appenzell Innerrhoden's capital, Appenzell, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 22°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 3°C. February tends to be the driest month in Appenzell due to having 65 mm of rainfall on average. The most precipitation falls during August, receiving on average about 187 mm.[6]


Appenzell Innerrhoden territory has been found to be inhabited since prehistoric times. The oldest excavations prove the area was inhabited during the paleolithic era when the hunter groups lived in the Wildkirchli caves. Later, tools from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Ages were also discovered in the region. During Roman times, the imperium reached the Appenzell Innerrhoden territory as well. The earliest written evidence of various settlements, ownership, and ecclesiastical conditions are dated back to between the 8th to 11th centuries.[1]

Appenzell was once a unified historical region that eventually separated into two cantons, the "Outer and Inner Rhodes." The monastery at St. Gallen during the Middle Ages influenced the Appenzell population. Numerous conflicts and quarrels occurred between the Appenzell Abbott and farmers by the 14th century. In order to protect and help resolve the disputes, the region joined the Swabian League, which later proved not to be as helpful as they initially thought. As a result of numerous conflicts, in 1392, the Appenzell Abbott agreed with the Habsburgs, resulting in Appenzell becoming an alliance with St. Gallen in 1401. Finally, in 1410, Abbott forfeited his ownership of Appenzell altogether. Appenzell territory became a member of the Swiss Confederation in 1513. In the 16th century, reformation took place in Europe, leading to Appenzell's division into the Catholic Inner and Reformed Outer Rhodes. The separation occurred in 1597, and the so-called "two Appenzells" formed two independent cantons.[2]

Appenzell Innerrhoden might be considered one of Switzerland's more conservative cantons. It was the country's last canton to admit women's right to vote, only after a lawsuit was filed by two women at the Swiss Federal Court. Women have been allowed to vote in Appenzell since 1991. Additionally, Appenzell is Switzerland's least supporting canton regarding the question of gay and lesbian marriage, according to the "Marriage for all" referendum from 2021.[3]