Lured to Lucerne by the wealthy Ludwig Pfyffer von Altishofen, the Jesuits brought the Counter Reformation to Lucerne in the 17th century; the elaborate Jesuitenkirche, dedicated to Francis Xavier, was constructed in 1666. Architects from Italy and Austria built what many believe to be the most beautiful Baroque church in Switzerland.
The Swiss have known for centuries what a jewel the Abbey of St. Gall is. Since its founding in the 8th century, the abbey has been known as an intellectual and religious center. In addition to its cultural importance, the abbey is set in the verdant Steinach Valley near Lake Constance, a lovely corner of northeastern Switzerland. In 1983, the world recognized the location's importance, designating the Abbey of St. Gall a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Lucerne and its neighboring Swiss villages are even more picturesque when seen from the water.