Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)

Bridge in Lucerne

Chapel Bridge Lucerne Switzerland
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Tony Badwy

Lucerne boasts Europe’s oldest covered bridge as its iconic hallmark. Constructed in 1332, this bridge originally formed a vital component of the city’s fortifications. During the 17th century, the incorporation of pictorial panels enriched its history, depicting not only scenes from Swiss history but also Lucerne’s own narrative. These panels intricately unveil the biographies of the city’s revered patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice.

Renowned for its wooden bridges, Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge elegantly traverses the Reuss, connecting the New Town to the medieval Old Town. As it weaves its path towards the impressive Water Tower, the bridge becomes a visual spectacle, with its zigzagging trajectory enhancing its allure.

A marvel of both strength and aesthetics, Lucerne’s Water Tower commands attention. Erected around 1300 as an integral part of the city wall, the octagonal tower—soaring over 34 meters in height—fulfilled roles ranging from archive and treasury to prison and chamber of torture. Presently, the tower’s middle floor houses the headquarters of the Lucerne Artillery Association. Notably, a colony of Alpine Swifts has made its home beneath the tower’s rooftop for decades. These black and white avian travellers, heralding the return of spring as they journey from Africa, bestow a living connection between the seasons and Lucerne’s skyline.

Near the river Reuss’s outflow, a historic needle dam, erected in 1860, serves as a guardian of the lake’s water level. In proximity, the Old Town unfolds, showcasing a town hall harking back to the Late Renaissance and Switzerland’s oldest Baroque church, the Jesuit church. These historical gems contribute to the rich tapestry of Lucerne’s heritage, ensuring that the city’s allure is not confined to its picturesque landscapes alone.

The Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Lucerne!

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Visiting Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge)

Address: Chapel Bridge, Kapellbrücke, Lucerne, Switzerland
Duration: 20 minutes

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