Lucerne – Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) and the Water Tower (Wasserturm)

The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) is probably the most recognized and photographed image of Lucerne for many reasons. Its dominance and its location earned it the right to be seen immediately on arrival in the city. Blooming during the summer, the bridge stands out for its roof over its entire length, its construction on crossed stilts, its tower, the proximity of the old town and also for its indirect route across the waters of the city.

The bridge connects the two banks of the city by crossing the Reuss River and it is by walking across it that you will discover additional revelations. Indeed, the bridge is pedestrian-only just like much of the old town. Walking there, you feel the wind, smell the aroma of flowers in the summer and see art and continue to appreciate the surrounding landscape.  At roof level, perpendicular to the passage, 62 triangular representations remind us parts of the history of the city, the region and some individuals. The scenery, the suspended art and the white swans on the river are a very unique panorama. I recommend planning some time crossing the bridge to look around.The Chapel Bridge is not the only covered wooden bridge in the city. There is also Chaff Bridge (Spreuerbrücke). A third one existed but was dismantled a long time ago. Although for the new visitor nothing is noticeable today.  In 1993 a fire destroyed 2/3 of the paintings and the bridge. Fortunately, it was rebuilt the following year but now only has 62 paintings and has lost the title of the oldest covered bridge to Spreuerbrücke.

The tower of the Kapellbrücke was built about 30 years before the original bridge that was built around 1360. The water tower (Wasserturm) bears his name, not because it served as a reservoir, because it was not, but for the location. In fact, the tower served as a prison and a torture room before being converted into a secret place and archived room.

Several streets of the city take the name of a landmark or a main characteristic. The choice of the name of this bridge is in line with this standard. Indeed, the St.Peter’s Chapel is at one end of the bridge.

The original covered pedestrian path was longer than today’s and it was adapted to new contexts over the centuries. It is now 205 meters (672 ft) long. It is free to access, is open at all times and is accessible to wheelchairs.

Enjoy your walk across this picturesque icon of Lucerne. It is worth every step.

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