Lucerne Old Town, Switzerland
Chapel Bridge on the Reuss River, Lucerne Old Town, Central Switzerland
Lucerne Old Town Attractions
Chapel Bridge plague paintings
Chapel Bridge’s ceiling is partially lined with 17th century paintings illustrating the history of Lucerne old town.
Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke) is Lucerne’s number one tourist attraction, an incredible piece of workmanship. Built in 1333 as a defensive structure it’s 204m long (670 ft). Unfortunately many of the magnificent paintings were destroyed in a fire in 1993. Chapel Bridge is free to enter and offers such great panoramas at different times of day that it’s worth returning there from time to time.
A little further downriver is another interesting old bridge, the Spreuer or Mill Bridge. Constructed in 1408, it also features medieval paintings but on the morbid subject of the Great Plague and titled ‘The Dance of Death’.
Luzern’s Wasserturm or Water Tower, looking towards Lake Lucerne. It’s a fortification, not for water storage!
The Wasserturm is another sight indelibly connected to the Chapel Bridge, and one of Lucern old town iconic sights; it was in fact mainly used as a watchtower, prison, torture chamber and treasury for most of its existence. The tower is on the Reuss River which is fed by Lake Lucerne.
The City Wall
The City Wall on the hill overlooking Lucerne, not more than a few hundred metres remaining, along with eight watch towers, but the views are good and it’s a pleasant stroll there, up through the old town.
St Leodegar church
A Christian knight on St Leodegar church door, Hofkirche.
Like most Swiss churches the Hofkirche is not especially elaborate inside – unlike their Italian neighbours – but these baptism mementoes are unusual and cute.
Superb timbered buildings beside the Hofkirche.
Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten)
This museum was built around a natural glacial pothole from the Ice Age. It’s small but displays interesting worldwide Ice Age pictures, models, video, information and artifacts, as well as historic artifacts from Lucerne old town history and child-friendly exhibits such as a clever mirror maze.
Incorporated into the visit is a worthwhile stroll through the original mansion house and access to the Lion of Lucerne, below.
The Dying Lion of Lucerne
The Lion of Lucerne, a memorial to a company of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 by French Revolutionaries. Photo by Maswadkar.
This sight is free to enter and just a ten minute walk from the center of town, is not to be missed. The setting and sculpture are magnificent and very moving. Tour groups visit it endlessly so try to pick a time when they are less likely to be massacring individual tourists, such as early, late or lunchtime.