Venture across the historical Kapellbrucke in Lucerne and get a front-row seat to the history of the city. Splendid paintings make crossing this wooden bridge a one of a kind experience. Kapellbrucke is a wooden bridge footbridge spanning across the Reuss River. This symbol of Lucerne is only a short walk away from Radisson Blu Hotel, Lucerne and gives a first-hand look into the history of the city.
A Walk At Kapellbrucke
1. A Long Walk Across The River
What is now one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions was built in 1333 as part of Lucerne's fortifications. Kapellbrucke's purpose was to link the old town, resting on the north bank of the Reuss River, to the new town on the south bank. Even though it was initially 200 meters long it is now only 170 meters in length, due to numerous shortenings and river bank replenishments. It is the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world and consists of strutted and triangulated trusses of the moderate span. When visiting, one of the best things to do at Kapellbrucke is to walk across the river on its bridge. The views are beautiful and you will be able to enjoy the vibes while learning about its history on your Kapellbrucke tour.
2. Exquisite Decorations
Next thing to do at Kapellbrucke is of course to see its beautiful decorations. Kapellbrucke is not only famous for its length but also the marvelous paintings covering the roof of the walkway. Painted triangular frames tell different tales of the city's rich history, varying from the life and death of Lucerne's patron saint St. Leger to legends of its other patron saint St. Maurice. These artworks were made during the Counter-Reformation of the 17th century by local artist Hans Heinrich Wägmann and were painted on spruce wood boards. Art rarely comes cheap and these intricate works of art were no exception. They were financed by having members of the city council sponsor a painting, enabling the members to include their personal coat of arms in the piece. Below each painting hangs an explanation of the story it tells. This is going to make your walk better on your Kapellbrucke tour.
3. The Paintings
Up until 1993, the bridge had a grand total of 147 paintings under its roof but on August 18th of that year, disaster struck. A fire ravaged the bridge, destroying two-thirds of the paintings. After the fire, 47 paintings were collected but only 30 of them were fully restored. The damaged paintings were then replaced with paintings that had been safely stored since 1834. Watching the paintings is one of the best things to do at Kapellbrucke. These intricate drawings make for an impressive sight as you make your way across the bridge. Make sure to stop and appreciate these pieces of history. If visiting to check out these awesome pieces of art, then bear in mind you won't be able to see the paintings during the festive Carnival days. From late January through early February the paintings are replaced with modern ones showing carnival themed pictures.
4. The Water Tower
The tower you see standing tall beside the bridge is the 43 meters tall Wasserturm, literally meaning “Water Tower”. It was named due to its location in the water and has never been used to store water. It served as the cantonal treasury and as a place of safety for war plunder. Until the late 18th century, the tower was also used as a prison. Prisoners had to sit on a toggle and be lowered into the dungeon on the end of a rope, re-emerging only after serving their sentence. Located just above the dungeon is the armory, which today contains an extensive display of weaponry courtesy of the Artillery Association. Today it houses a local club but it is not possible to climb the tower. There is a souvenir shop located inside which is open to the public. You should visit it on your Kapellbrucke tour.
5. The Lion Monument
The “Lion of Lucerne” combines art, history and natural beauty into Switzerland's most beloved historic monument. With its picturesque setting and historical significance, the Lion Monument of Lucerne is one of Europe's most famous sculptures. In many ways, the monument represents European unity; though it sits in Switzerland, it was designed by famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, and constructed by German mason Lukas Ahorn. Tucked into a sandstone rock face, the sculpture is famous for its heartbreaking realism. Spanning nearly 32 feet (10 meters) in length, it features a lion dying upon a bed of shields and spears. An inscription above the big cat reads 'Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti', which means 'To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss'. Author Mark Twain famously proclaimed the Lion Monument to be “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”
How to Get Tickets?
There is no adimission fee to enjoy the things to do at Kapellbrucke. The entrance is free and you can go at anytime you want.
How To Get Around?
Kapellbrucke tour can be done by walking. The bridge is long and beautiful, make sure you see everything along the way. After enjoying the things to do at Kapellbrucke, explore other nearby attractions. Just steps from the statue is the Lion Monument, Glacier Garden, a dramatic landscape of rock and subtropical flora. This natural wonder is covered with botanical gardens and makes for a perfect place to take an afternoon stroll.
What Should I Wear?
There is no fixed dress code to do the Kapellbrucke tour, you can wear anything you want and enjoy your day there. We recommend you to wear comfortable shoes to walk around.
Best Time to Visit
A public thoroughfare, the Kapellbrucke tour is open 24 hours a day year-round. The bridge is popular with tourists and can get very busy in the summer months. If you want to avoid crowds, make sure to get there early in the day.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, there are a lot of informations on the internet about the history of Kapellbrucke, you don't need to spend money to hire a guide.
How To Get There?
Kapellbrucke is located in the center of Lucerne on the Reuss river. The city's main railway station is a short walk away, and the bridge is accessible on foot and as part of a walking tour of the city.
Do not throw your trash in the river while you're there. The bridge is always crowded so watch out on pickpockets.