On a clear day, there is very little better to do in a town like Lucerne than to put on your walking shoes and stroll pleasantly along its walkways. The absolutely crystal blue water of the River Reuss in the centre of town runs calmly under the Tower Bridge and you can stop and feed or photograph the suitably graceful swans that swim in it. And just over the top of the covered bridge, it's almost impossible to miss the great architectural beauty of Lucerne's Jesuitenkirche, or Jesuit Church. The great green onion tops of the towers shine out brilliantly against it's white exterior and against a blue sky on a Swiss day, and though at this point in my European tour I'd seen more churches than many very devout people, the brilliance of its outside lured me in for a look that stands out amongst all of the churches and religious buildings I have ever seen, including Notre Dame.
There's something a bit crisp and different in the look of this place, something distinctly Swiss, even though it was a bit of a Catholic strong hold emphasizing Catholic presence against Protestant criticism. It is the 1st large Baroque church built north of the Alps, and even with no interest in the history of this place or the religion it is affiliated with, as a traveller this is a place certainly worth looking at. These days it serves generally as a concert hall for organ recitals. (I can only imagine what the acoustics must be like in a venue like this! By all means, if you can attend one while there, do so.) It wasn't the oldest church I'd been in in Europe, I believe the first corner stone was laid in 1666, but due to a number of political and financial problems it wasn't completed until the late 1800's but it was no less impressive because of that.
The inside, (though I distinctly remember it being rather cold) is absolutely breath taking. It doesn't look that huge on the outside, but the height and intricacy of the place once indoors is truly magnificent. It is very reminiscent of Italian churches, but with a very distinct Swiss flair. Inside there is a chapel dedicated to the Patron Saint of Switzerland, Brother Klaus and the artwork inside ranges from amazing Michelangelo-like paintings on the vastly high ceiling, to marble and stucco carvings and sculptures. This is a visually Stunning church. One of my favourite in all of the world. If you are out puttering about town in Lucerne, then I highly recommend that you check it out.
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
September 12, 2006
From journal Crystal lakes and snowy mountain country....