Square in Lucerne
Among Lucerne’s historical landmarks is the quaint Weinmarkt. The Weinmarkt, which translates to “Wine Market,” is testament to its long-standing history.
Up until the mid-16th century, this square functioned as the fish market. Lucerne was a fishing village and the alleys made for an easy connection to the river. The fish market was the political meeting spot and the centre of the market area in the Middle Ages. Until 1447 the southwest corner was the site of the first city hall. On the sides of the square the butchers, tanners, shoemakers, and innkeepers each had their own taverns which acted as guildhalls.
With the demolition of the medieval Schaal, a two-story wooden covered market for the sale of meat, bread and leather, the square has been in its present form since 1481. This allowed both religious and secular plays to be held here.
At this time the square’s centrepiece, the Fritschi Fountain, adorned with colourful and ornate statues was crafted. Although it originally had a hexagonal basin, it was swapped for an octagonal one in the 16th century. Over time, the fountain’s central pillar has undergone several transformations. The current version, made from shell limestone, is the handiwork of sculptor Leopold Häfliger. History enthusiasts can find the original column displayed in the History Museum located on Pfistergasse.
After the mid-16th century wine was sold here. The Gotthard Trade route was through the Alps, north-south trade was conducted by men called sumpters, who for centuries crossed alpine passes, braving the elements, banditry, extortionate tolls and disease. men were hired to transport salt and hard Sbrinz cheese from central Switzerland to Val Formazza in Italy, which meant crossing three passes – the Brünig, Grimsel and Gries. They returned with wine, spices and textiles which would be sold in the Weinmarkt.
Particularly worth a look is the Weinmarktapotheke (Winemarket Pharmacy), built in 1530.
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