Lucerne – Town Hall (Rathaus) and its tower

Built from 1602-06, the Town Hall is a must-see during your visit to Lucerne. It is surrounded by a set of unparalleled historical elements. Be sure to admire this building from every angle.

Located on the Kornmarkt (grain market), the Town Hall hugs the tower which shows signs of medieval construction and a huge clock faces the square while another one is on the opposite side facing the river.

The contrasting colors of the clock attract attention. Notice that a single-arm indicates the time and has, at its end, a sun and a moon. The city clocks are an attraction in themselves. You can find out more at Zytturm where an exhibition presents the various historical clocks of the city. This version dates from 1788. The tower was used as an observatory, as a prison and as a dungeon. I invite you to see the arched double doors with latticed windows on the part of the tower overlooking Furrengasse. Although different, it strangely reminds me of the “what’s the password” scene from a Disney movie, Tangled.

The main entrance to the town hall is on the Kornmarkt. Note the detail above the door having the Corinthian style columns, the carvings signifying justice and moderation and the two lions facing each other as a tour de force to protect the central part which shows the coat of arms of the city. It has spectacular details but it is somewhat camouflaged when looking at the entire work.

The town hall also has its back to the Reuss River, on the Rathausquai, in a completely different and almost unrecognizable style. There are four levels to the building. The ground level has an arcade style providing shade to pedestrian. On the second level the details of the stone work around the frame of the arched windows is well defined on a smooth wall. The windows on the third level are rectangular, and finally, there are skylights found on the fourth level.

A pedestrian bridge is near the town hall that bears his name.

The Town Hall offers to celebrate civil marriages in the Tagsatzung room, an ideal beauty for this type of celebration. It is possible to reserve rooms on the lower floors for different occasions including receptions and exhibitions.

The first formal council meeting was held in 1606 on the upper floors while the ground floor was used as a trading and grain storage room.

The attic of the town hall has been converted to accommodate the town’s pigeons. You read correctly. The dovecote is not a place of breeding in itself and the animals are not fed there but they find a place arranged for them which encourages nesting and where they are welcome to stay.

It is possible to visit this unique place in a small group with a reservation.

For an overview of Lucerne click here.

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