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Switzerland: Lucerne Bridges

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Lucerne Bridges | Switzerland | Europe

[Visited: August 2006]

The most famous landmark of Lucerne and probably one of the most famous of Switzerland as a whole is the Chapel Bridge or Kapellbrücke and its watertower. Indeed, as soon as you cross the river to enter the old town of Lucerne, you note the covered, wooden bridge spanning the Reuss river, and somehow you recognize the watertower; even though you have not been here before, you have seen it somewhere. The bridge unfortunately caught fire in 1993, but it was quickly rebuilt, and you can once again walk the more than 200 metres inside, while looking at the paintings depicting Swiss life in the 12th century attached to the ceiling.

Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Chapel Bridge and watertower with Jesuit Church in the background

The bridge was constructed in the 1330s in order to defend Lucerne against attacks. Now, it has turned into a major magnet for visitors who come enjoy the bridge meandering over the Reiss river, embellished by flowers (unfortunately only on one side) and the picturesque sight of the oldest wooden bridge of Europe and the octagonal watertower. The latter served torture chamber, prison, watchtower and treasury; right now, it serves as the guild hall of the artillery association. At the moment of its construction, it was actually part of the city wall.

Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Water tower and Chapel bridge as night falls

The Chapel Bridge is by far the best known bridge of Lucerne, and there are several other, much newer bridges that span the Reiss river. But a little bit downstream you can find the oldest covered bridge in Europe, the Speuerbrücke or Mill Bridge. A little shorter than the Chapel Bridge, this bridge was also built as a fortification in 1408. In the early 17th century, Kaspar Meglinger decorated this bridge inside, much like the Chapel Bridge, representing the Dance of Death. On it, you can find several different kinds of persons, warriors, princes, nuns and young brides, all depicted with Death. Instead of a watertower, it has a chapel in the middle. Both bridges have protected anyone crossing the river from rain for many centuries, and have deservedly turned into major attractions for visitors in our times.

Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Reuss river with Jesuit church, Chapel bridge and watertower
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Dark skies over the Chapel bridge and the watertower
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Watertower and Chapel bridge in the afternoon sun
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Painting on wooden panel in Chapel Bridge
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Death with scythe on one of the painted panels in the Speuerbrücke
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Red skies over the Speuerbrücke, Reiss river and contours of the old town
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Contours of watertower, Chapel bridge and spires of the old town
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Speuerbrücke seen from the side of the river Reuss
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Chapel bridge, watertower and Pilatus mountain
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Photographing the Chapel bridge
Picture of Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland): Watertower seen from inside the Chapel bridge

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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Lucerne Bridges (Switzerland). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Lucerne Bridges.
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