Glarus lies on the Linth River at the foot of the Glärnisch foothills in the Glarus Alps. The municipality has about 5700 inhabitants. Very few buildings built before the fire of 1861 remain. Wood, textile, and plastics, as well as printing, are the dominant industries. The symbol of the city is the neo-romanesque city church.
It became the capital of the Linth valley in 1419. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the valley began to be industrialized.
In 1864, the first European labor law to protect workers was introduced in Glarus, prohibiting requiring workers to work more than 12 hours a day.