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Kapellbrücke
Chapel Bridge & Water Tower, Lucerne

Lucerne lies on the river Reuss, at the end of Lake Lucerne, framed by impressive mountains. The city has been a stronghold of tourism since 1840, thanks to the well-preserved Old Town with its Chapel Bridge and Water Tower.

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  Kapellbrücke, Lucerne  
         
 
 
 
 

About the Kapellbrücke

The Chapel Bridge (German: Kapellbrücke) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.

As part of the bridge complex, the Kapellbrücke includes the octagonal 140 ft (43 m) tall Wasserturm, which literally translates to "water tower". However, the tower is not a water tower in the usual sense, but the name comes from the fact that the tower is standing in the water. The tower predated the bridge by about 30 years.

Lucerne is unique in the fact that its three wooden pedestrian bridges, the 14th century Hofbrücke (now destroyed) and Kapellbrücke and the 16th century Spreuerbrücke, all featured painted interior triangular frames. This feature is not replicated in any of Europe's other wooden footbridges. The paintings, dating back to the 17th century by local Catholic painter Hans Heinrich Wägmann, depict events from Lucerne's history. Out of the original 158 paintings, a total of 147 existed before the 1993 fire. After the fire, the remains of 47 paintings were collected, although only 30 were ultimately fully restored.

  Location of Water Tower of Lucerne
Lucerne is divided by the river Reuss into an Old Town and a New Town. The two districts are connected by what is among other things the world's oldest covered wooden bridge, the Chapel Bridge, which dates back to the year 1332. The bridge was rebuilt true to the original after the fire of 1993 and leads to the actual landmark of Lucerne, the octagonal Water Tower. Like the over 500-year-old Musegg Wall with its turrets, the bridge and water tower were part of the city fortifications. At the outflow of the river Reuss, a historic needle dam, built in 1860, regulates the water level of the lake. The nearby Old Town boasts a town hall which dates back to the Late Renaissance as well as a Jesuit church, Switzerland's oldest Baroque church.


Lucerne